I want to make a world of difference. How many times have I said that here on my blog and elsewhere? I mean it, I do. I know God’s heart breaks for the suffering; I want to align my heart with His and then do something to relieve the suffering. I want to contribute toward the bettering our world, being a voice for the voiceless, playing a role in something bigger than myself.
Yet even as I say so, something within me snags. A check in my spirit. Why?
Part of it is scope, certainly. The world’s problems are so big, and so many, and I am but one person, and very ordinary. I am distracted by my own problems and in possession of limited resources. Who am I to think I can really make a difference?
But there’s more to it than that, something I’ve sensed to be far more personal. Perhaps because of that I’ve been unable to name it–until now. A book I’m reading has helped me to do it.
The book? Overrated by Eugene Cho. And the first thing you need to understand about his book is that I don’t like it very much. Because it gets a little too close for comfort, if you must know. It gets in my business. Under the skin of why I feel so compelled to make a world of difference. How? Well, let’s start with its subtitle: Are we more in love with the idea of changing the world than in actually changing the world?
Yeah, I needed to hear that.
What that says to me is this: shouldn’t I be fixing what’s broken inside my own skin before setting my sights elsewhere? If I’m so eager to change the world, am I also willing to start right here at home with all that needs changing…with me?
It gets down to motivation–and then some.
[Tweet “Changing both inside and out #OneSmallStep #GreaterTogether #Overrated @EuguneCho @WorldVisionUSA”]
Here’s a bit more about the book, from the publisher:
Many people today talk about justice but are they living justly? They want to change the world but are they being changed themselves?
Eugene Cho has a confession: “I like to talk about changing the world but I don’t really like to do what it takes.” If this is true of the man who founded the One Day’s Wages global antipoverty movement, then what must it take to act on one’s ideals? Cho does not doubt the sincerity of those who want to change the world. But he fears that today’s wealth of resources and opportunities could be creating “the most overrated generation in history. We have access to so much but end up doing so little.”
He came to see that he, too, was overrated. As Christians, Cho writes, “our calling is not simply to change the world but to be changed ourselves.” In Overrated, Cho shows that it is possible to move from talk to action.
So does that mean that we shouldn’t do anything until we get ourselves sorted first? Goodness, I hope not–because I’m one hot mess and that could take a while, and meanwhile the world keeps on spinning. And also because, in answer my earlier question about whether I’m willing to start with change here at home… yes, actually, I am. In fact, I want that. The trick is that getting there is far more of a journey than a destination.
Like world change, it’s arrived at gradually.
Bottom line? Making a world of difference becomes a both/and proposition–not an either/or, as we sometimes perceive it. Which means I commit to changing what I can from the inside out and also changing what I can around me.
And how do I do that? In both cases, one step at a time.
That’s the inspiration behind a new series here on this blog in which bit by bit, day by day, we consider taking one small step toward making a world of difference. You’ll see occasional posts, generally on Wednesdays, that encourage a worldwide focus and a doable action. Meanwhile, mainly on Mondays, you’ll continue to find posts that offer inspiration and soul nurture to help us change ourselves too, from the inside out.
That’s the idea, anyway, and we’ll see where it leads. Will you join me along the way? I hope so, because such things are always done better together.
After words: Care to join me in taking that first one small step by reading Overrated? And then circle back to me. I’d love to know what you think about what Eugune Cho has to say.