We all want to make a difference, change the world, leave a mark. I believe it’s an innate desire. The problem isn’t so much in wanting this, but in defining what it looks like … or, rather, what it doesn’t look like.
Ask, “Who’s making a difference?”, and we usually reply with names of those who have certain positions, are well-known or have extensive reach. We somehow mistakenly believe that these are the only ones who have great impact, or, we at least believe they have more impact than simple, ordinary people.
But that’s not the case. God uses simple and ordinary people to touch hearts, reveal his goodness, and accomplish his purposes. Jesus used fisherman and a boy who remembered to pack a lunch. God uses mothers, Sunday School teachers, friends, fathers, teachers, grandmothers, and so many more.
My Granny’s Ordinary Life
I’ve been thinking about my Granny as I do every October, her birthday month! She was one of my favorite people. I only saw her a few times a year, but we had many great memories together. Because of her I love opals, walking, yellow roses, travel, and card games.
She was from a big family – 13 children! Her life was not easy. The older I get, the more I comprehend the heartaches she endured. She worked long and hard. She had many reasons to complain and be unhappy. But, instead, her life was full of joy.
My Granny lived in one little town all her adult life. She didn’t travel much (although she loved to!). She never left the United States. Not many people knew her. She would say that her life was simple and ordinary.
I, however, would say that her life made a deep impact on those who knew her. She lived her simple and ordinary life to the full, and God used her faithfulness in the midst of daily life to express his beauty and goodness and impact the lives of those around her.
4 Simple and Ordinary Ways to Impact Others
1. Love Jesus
My Granny became a believer after being married. Her heart filled with love for God and this love shaped how she lived her life. She prayed for me and impacted my life through prayer in ways I will never fully realize. Her love for Jesus filled her heart and naturally spilled over.
The truest and deepest way to impact others is to simply love Jesus more than anything. Desire closeness with him more than you desire impacting others. Seek him above seeking ways to reach others. Put him first and everything else will naturally fall into place.
2. Love others
My Granny used her words to encourage others. I still have many letters she wrote me that are filled with encouraging words and prayers. She encouraged countless students at the elementary school where she served meals. Her eyes were always open to minister to the people who were around her, those who God placed in her circle of influence.
Loving others well requires turning our focus from ourselves. When we shift our gaze from our internal hurts and needs and look for others to encourage, our lives are poised to make an impact. Who inside your home needs some extra loving? How can you show them love? Who will you see this week? How can you encourage them? Who in your circle of influence is God leading you to love?
3. Display your joy
Wherever my Granny was, you could be sure she was smiling and laughing. She loved to talk and enjoy life. She brought joy wherever she was. Her cheerfulness gave evidence to Proverbs 15:3a
A glad heart makes a cheerful face.
Her face wasn’t cheerful because of the circumstances of her life. Her joy came from a heart filled with the goodness and love of God.
Some of the most joyful people I’ve met are walking through some of the darkest trials imaginable. What brings them joy? God’s word. God’s promise. God’s hope. Ask God to work joy into your heart. Then watch how it exudes to others around you.
4. Share your favorite activities
Baking was one of my Granny’s favorite things to do. (Eating her goodies was everyone else’s favorite activity. 😉) Sourdough bread. Pound cake. Red velvet cake. Fudge. Coconut cake. She used her hands to bake gifts for others and share her love in this special way.
How can you share what you enjoy with others? Maybe you like to bake too. Or maybe you like painting, reading, being in nature, sewing, building, or helping. No matter what you enjoy, you can find ways to use it to bless others and share God’s love with them.
An Extraordinary Impact
My Granny might not have known many people, but her simple, ordinary life deeply impacted the people she did know. She was faithful to show God’s love every day.
Every day she loved Jesus. Every day she encouraged someone with her words. Every day she brought joy to others through the smile on her face. Every day she used her hands to do what she enjoyed and then shared that love with others.
As my Granny loved others, it made their lives better. And isn’t this, at the core, what God desires most? Jesus came to restore what sin destroyed. He came to put our lives back together. He came to heal and mend the wounds and hurts of our souls. And he often uses us to be his hands and feet to accomplish this in the lives of those around us.
Yes, we all want to make a difference, change the world, leave a mark. And the beauty is, we all can.