Bishop Dr. Mark Kariuki
1. Multiply Your Talents. I used to think the parable of the talents was about success, or how to make the most of what you’ve been given. And in some ways I suppose you can still look at it that way. This story has become a living lesson about fear. Don’t talk about all the great things you are doing when there is a deeper question. What are you not doing in your life that God is calling you to do? Do you stay busy so you don’t have to do what God might be asking you to? Each of us has a mandate on our life to make a difference in this world. Not because we’re citizens, but because we’re God’s creation, God’s children. That difference at its core is not about what we do, but rather about who we are. I believe we are called to use the gift of life to leave this world better than we found it: with more love, more forgiveness, more grace, and more hope.
2. Get Control of Your Schedule. Generally speaking time is your friend. But time is your enemy as long as you keep making excuses why you don’t have enough of it to get involved in changing your world. Little things that you never have “time” to do yield the biggest results: a conversation with your neighbor, a Yatzee game with your teenager, taking food to a sick friend’s family, reading with your child. When we let our “schedules” consistently get the best of us, we do not have impact. We will never get it all done. There will always be plenty to do. There is always more ironing, more cleaning, more phone calls, more business travel, but special moments with your children or opportunities to help someone in need might not come around again.
3. Finding the Passion That You Live and Die For. There is something that God is calling you to do. You know it. You’ve always known it. You may not know exactly what it is, or what shape it will ultimately take, but it is unique to you and it is why you were put here on this earth. I don’t think this passion is just handed to us like a gift. Finding your passion is the single most important ingredient for changing your world. It’s like yeast in bread – without it you will have flat, hard dough. Uncovering God’s purpose in your life and following it will lead you to the greatest satisfaction there is. When we work out of our God-given passion, we get tired, but not weary. We need rest, but not a change. Many women don’t think they need passion. They just work. They’ve defined God’s will as the hardest, worst thing they can think of to do. They complain the whole time. There is not joy in their lives; no “change-the-world spirit,” just an angry expectation of brownie points in heaven for taking the hard road and a life that’s as stale as two-day-old coffee.
4. Stop Waiting for Your Life to Begin. Find the meaning in today. Don’t miss the life that is in front of you. Your attitude determines how much you enjoy your work. If you don’t think enough meaning exists in your life, create it. You are on God’s agenda now. He has given you meaning and purpose; splash in it. Don’t just eat a quick bite; “dine instead”, even if it’s peanut butter and jelly by yourself. Take it outside savor the taste, enjoy the moment, and breathe in the beauty. Celebrate the significance and wonder of life. Don’t wait until it hits you over the head. It’s already there; embrace it. Look for the extraordinary in the ordinary. Allow yourself to enjoy even the most mundane tasks; even the work that has been given you for the day. If you can’t, you are giving your work, a task, or even another person too much control over your life. If you let your soul bubble ever while you are working or doing something that is unpleasant to you, you are living a fresh-brewed life, and you can’t help but change the world. It is changed by your presence and by your complete freedom to live at a place different from where most people live. It is our relationship with God that sets us free.
5. Learn to Receive Praise. Why are we so afraid of accepting kind words? We deflect them and do anything we can to let them bounce off us rather than take them in. We think it’s more spiritual to do that. However, when we receive words of criticism, we take them right to our core. Why do we do that? Do we really believe it is more holy to let critical words into our soul while praise stands outside in the cold? We need to learn to receive the praise we have been given. Spiritual anorexia is refusing the things, like praise that will nourish your soul. You cannot change your world if you won’t allow people to thank you. You will never believe you are making a difference. Say thank you, and take it. Don’t deflect it and act as though it were nothing. Just receive it. Accept it. Give God the praise that was given to you. Hand Him the glory that someone handed to you. Then save it. Put the card in a special place or write the words you were given in your journal. Next time you are feeling discouraged, go to that place an allow God to remind you that He is using you to change your world.