|Photo credit: Jeffbullas.com|
My girlfriend and I were talking the other day and she mentioned how in our time together I had taught her many things that are eternally significant to her life. She went on to say that I have no idea how the things I taught her have affected the people that she interacts with...how my influence lives on in her relationships with others and the knowledge she shares with them which originally came to her through me. I was awe struck. I have been pondering her comments for days.
I began to think about some of the people who have made that kind of an impression for me and how many people have benefited from the influence others have had on me.
In contrast to that situation, I had another experience today where there was a huge opportunity for impact, spiritual and eternal impact, but the participants did not view the circumstances as significant and thus the entire interaction kind of flopped. It didn't end bad, but an important, eternal piece was missing, and that particular opportunity for impact was lost.
I have been pondering about that situation too.
We do not always know when what we say or do in a particular circumstance or situation will have an eternal influence in someone's life. So how do we go about our every day interactions with an emphasis on bringing people to Christ? This does not mean that we have to be religious or stiff in our interactions with others. But in our common, every day lives, do we bring light to others who may be traveling in a darker world?
I will give you a 'for instance'.....
Several years ago I was watching one of our children play t-ball. I had an infant with me and was sitting in a double, lawn chair by myself. Another mother was close by and also had an infant. I asked if she would like to share my chair. She gratefully accepted. We began talking about normal stuff. How old is your baby? How are things going? Does she sleep through the night? And big here in California, When are you going back to work? Well, I didn't work at a job. I stayed at home. I said so. She then asked me if I didn't feel less valued because I wasn't working. Didn't I feel pressure to enter the work force?
I told her that plenty of people asked me about working, but that I found my greatest joy and fulfillment in being a mother to my children. I didn't want someone else (like the day-care lady) to have a significant influence on my child's development. If anyone was going to make an impact, I wanted it to be me. I told her that the pressure she felt by others to be a full-time employee in order to have fulfillment and self-esteem was a lie, and not valid. She began to cry. She expressed that the desire of her heart was to stay home with her newborn and be her mother but she felt so much pressure that she wasn't sure it was a valid desire. I encouraged her feelings and told her that her desires were given to her by God. It was natural for a mother to want to be primary care-taker for her newborn and her feelings were right and that she should listen to her heart. This information was new to her.
Needless to say, this one conversation cemented our friendship for life. We do not always have time to talk and visit, but our hearts recognize the pure and righteous intents of the other. She is a dear friend whom I love.
But I guess my point is this: we really do not know when our conversations, behaviors, or choices will bless the lives of another. My friend did not join the church because of our interactions. She has not had the missionaries over. She ( I don't think) hasn't even read the Book of Mormon (though I did give her one). But she has made other changes. She quit drinking coffee. She stayed home with her little one until she was in the 2nd grade. She decided to go to college and she graduated! Our simple conversation began a deep friendship and that influence has helped her to put in place choices that have blessed her life and the life of her family.
So here is my question: Are you living your life in such a way that others can see and feel a difference in you compared to the majority of people they interact with? Are you different, in good ways, ways that lead people to Christ? Are you happy? Would people recognize that you are unique or peculiar and still see that you are happy in the course you are pursuing? Do you answer their questions?
Just some things to think about I guess.......Happy pondering.....or share your thoughts in the comments section!!