I grew up in rural North Dakota and would occasionally see movies about events that are a part of our history but were not a part of my reality: Movies about the civil rights movement or the Holocaust. Watching those movies would instantly trigger my adrenalin, raise my heart-rate and make every cell in my 5’2 body feel as courageous as David taking on Goliath. In those moments, I felt invincible and ready to kick some bully-butt!
…At least until a few months ago, when I stumbled across three questions in one of Max Lucado’s books that punched me in the gut so hard it was difficult to breathe. Three questions were so convicting that I had to stop reading. Three questions that over-time have caused me to think past my image of who I think I am and deeply challenged me to examine my courage and my commitment to others:
- Had you been in Germany in WWII, would you have taken a stand against Hitler?
- Had you lived in the South during the civil rights conflict, would you have taken a stand against racism?
- When your grandchildren discover you lived during a day when 1.75 billion people were poor and 1 billion were hungry, how will they judge your response?
In the months that have followed:
- I’ve remembered several situations where I have stood up for those that were being treated unfairly.
- I’ve remembered other situations and wondered if I should have stood firm sooner and held-ground longer.
- I’ve thought through times my message was right but my delivery could have been much better.
- And I’ve developed a new appreciation for people that had the courage and the character to stand up for others in circumstances that were far more extreme than anything I have ever experienced.
I’ve started to pay a lot more attention to people who are taking a stand and making a difference as they encounter needs in their daily lives:
- One dear friend has a son being bullied at school and is courageously using her blog to influence parents and teachers to intervene for others that are being victimized.
- Another friend shared a nephew’s article about the Holocaust and urged us to remember that event and learn from it.
- The church my husband and I are attending a recently formed group to help stop human trafficking.
Ultimately those three questions have caused me to see issues with fresh eyes and realize how purposeful we must be if we are going to make a difference for others.
- Repeatedly the need for character-based leaders in the workplace is emphasized in articles, seminars, networking events and in conversations.
- And after a recent shooting in our community re-opened some historical wounds, many of us were reminded that we need to openly discuss racism, to seek first to understand and to work together for healing.
With all of that said, it is interesting to me that on May 4th over 85,000 people in over 17 countries will be connected via simulcast for a global leadership event to discuss the importance of making CHOICES THAT MATTER. I am IN AWE that although that theme was chosen months ago, it is exactly what our families, our communities, our countries and our world desperately need us to be intentional about TODAY. Are we engaged and courageously challenging our own comfort zones for the good of those around us or are we sitting comfortably and watching the world go by?
- If you have the opportunity to participate in that event please do.
- If however, that is not an option, then take a moment and think about those three questions. Do they resonate with you? Then please comment on this post and share them.
- And lastly ask yourself: Am I making choices that matter? And if not, what are you willing to do to change that?
Thoughts in this post were inspired by: Mary Beth VonDissen, Erin Schreyer, Jesse Lyn Stoner, Max Lucado and the Members and Staff at The Kirk of The Hills Tulsa.