A convicting dream and living a life that makes a difference

A convicting dream and living a life that makes a difference

Living a life that truly makes a difference

Rarely do I have dreams that seem to mean anything at all. More often than not, they simply involve the people I’ve talked to or thought about recently put into every day situations with some bizarre twist.

When I woke up from this dream last week, though, I knew it was different. Not only had it been a little scary, but I just had the feeling that it carried more weight than a bunch of nonsensical thoughts.

***

My oldest daughter and I were running through the streets of a modern American town (Crofton, Maryland to be specific), trying to escape some type of massacre, with bodies falling all around us.

Suddenly we made it to a series of steps and underground tunnels, and as we’re running through them—down the stairs, around a corner, through a hall, down the stairs, up another set of stairs—she was repeating, “Six million…six million. Mom, we have to do something.” (The six million is clearly a reference to the number of Jews murdered during the holocaust, which I’ve been reading about a ton lately.)

We made our way back to a tall hotel (a hotel that, strangely enough, has appeared in my dreams before, even though I don’t recognize it as a real place).

She walked through the lobby of the hotel with a blank stare, horrified not just at what she’d experienced but at the idea of all of the people who were still out there. “Six million…six million. Mom, we have to do something.”

I remember explaining her dazed look to the people we passed, all of whom were completely oblivious to what was happening outside the doors.

We hopped in an elevator to head back to our room, and the most amazing thing happened: as we ascended to the top, her burden lightened.

By the time we made it to the level with the outdoor-moonbounce-slash-swimming-pool, she was back to her giggly, fun-loving self, splashing in the water, bouncing high above the ground…the six million apparently forgotten.

***

  • Sex trafficking in the U.S. and around the world
  • Refugees hiding from ISIS in the mountains of Iraq
  • Racial inequality in the U.S.
  • The Nigerian people being terrorized by Boko Haram

Lately I can’t shake the feeling that I need to be doing more. Not just reading about world events, not just sharing articles to raise “awareness,” not just throwing money at causes to absolve my guilt and to feel like I’m doing something. Actually doing something to change the world for the better.

The problem is I don’t really know what that looks like.

The issues above are the ones that are on my heart, but what can I do? Other than giving money (which we have done but don’t have unlimited amounts of) or leaving everything to go serve these people, how can I make a difference? Is sharing information on Facebook so that other people can wonder what they can do to help enough? Is praying enough? And how can I involve my kids? Is drawing a red X on our hands once a year and telling them where we’re sending our money really making a difference in their hearts?

Unfortunately, as I’ve been wrestling with this for the past few weeks, I still haven’t found the answer. I don’t know how to make a difference from my (safe, warm, comfortable) home. I don’t know how to find time to make a difference while schooling my kids and working to put food on the table.

The truth is I don’t know that my life is making much a difference at all. After following the story of Vidal, Principal Lopez and Mott Hall Bridges Academy through Humans of New York, I know I want to live a life that makes a difference….whether that’s as a Mrs. Lopez or as a Brandon Stanton. And more than that, I want to raise kids who are making a difference too.

I don’t have the answers, but it’s something I want to keep wrestling with until I find them.

I’d love to hear your thoughts. How are you making a difference? What causes are on your heart? How do you inspire your kids to change the world?

This Post Has 4 Comments

  1. I’ve been wrestling with similar questions lately. I feel like I am not using my life to make a difference to others. Maybe I am – I’m certainly making a difference to my daughter – but I am feeling a strong itch to make a big change in my life. I want to do something that helps people, that changes even a small part of the world, but I don’t know what it is yet. I’m still waiting for it to take shape. I have never felt called to full time missions or ministry, but I still think there are ways that I can spend my time, skills, resources to make more of an impact on the world than just helping a company make money.

  2. I think it’s a matter of understanding your giftedness and your sphere of influence. There are situations and people all around us that could use a helping hand. It might not be as serious as what’s happening in Nigeria, but you can actually do something about it.

    In doing so you encourage others to do likewise (and they have different gifts and influence). What each of us does may seem small, but it does have ripple effect and we can impact the overall attitudes of our family, friends, and culture.

    “If you can’t feed a hundred people, then feed just one.” Mother Teresa

  3. I have been thinking about this lately too. With so many bad and sad things happening everywhere, I wish there was more I could do. I think we do what we can, when we can, just like that Mother Teresa quote that Lori shared. And I was just thinking yesterday that I wanted to somehow highlight kids in our own community that is making a difference. In middle and high school, I was in all the service project clubs and I remember doing so much on both a local and global scale. I think we forget that young people can be powerful people if we give the tools to make a positive difference in the world. I really don’t like it when people say negative things about teens, or parents bemoan the teen years whether they’ve already been through those years with their kids already or if they are just not looking forward to them. Anyhow, that’s another topic for another day. :p

  4. Do you think this might just be a symptom of technology? 100 years ago we didn’t know what was happening across the globe. Are we perhaps not meant to see the quantity of depravity that exists in our world? Or is it meant to draw us to our knees in prayer and in so doing, draw closer to The One that CAN do something about it?

    I get similar feelings too, but remind myself that raising a family IS a big deal, with eternal rewards or consequences. I’m not trying to down play the magnitude of the atrocities that you mentioned, but maybe trying to bring perspective (for myself too). There isn’t one single person that can put an end to human trafficking, but each of us can do something that will greatly impact one person. To that one person, what we do is huge. From there, maybe our action has a ripple effect that spreads to hundreds and maybe even thousands of people. We just won’t know this side of heaven.

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