“Yesterday I was clever, so I wanted to change the world. Today I am wise, so I am changing myself.” – Rumi
Maybe I simply think too much, or maybe there’s something wrong with my head. It’s even possible that I lose touch with reality on occasion. My dreams have often been grand, world-changing accomplishments, while at the same time, the world within me was constantly at war. My eyes see the external human conflict in a broken humanity, but my heart becomes numb to the fight within…
When I was in college, there was a hill at the top of the campus that had a small garden and an incredible view. I would often find myself there at night, alone, just me and my thoughts. Oftentimes, it was me wrestling with my doubts, my fears, my dreams, and a nagging desire to change the world. Those nights still haunt me as beautiful, yet very painful as I look back, knowing my life hasn’t turned out as planned. To my friends in college, I appeared confident and strong; to my heart, I was a wreck of a guy trying to figure out what was broken.
It’s easy to watch celebrities, leaders, and activists influencing our world, leading us to believe that we can have that same degree of influence. Rather than becoming the people the world ultimately needs, we become the people we think the world wants.
This is hard for me to accept, but it’s the truth: I can’t change the world.
Maybe your dreams revolved around something else, but as for me, I always wanted to impact the arts with the grace of Jesus. Hollywood needed a good Jesus-loving leading man, so why not me? I could change the world after winning my Oscar and giving millions to my personal charity. Of course, guest appearances and public speaking engagements would follow, leading me to an even larger platform to share a message of hope and life.
“I can’t change the world
But I can change the world in me”
– U2, “Rejoice”
Considering those words came from Bono – one of the most influential artists of the past 4 decades – I doubt you and I can change the world if he’s come up short.
I’m beginning to wonder if changing the world has more to do with the transformation within our own hearts, which leads to an overflow of life, not just in our accomplishments…
My heart still longs to make an impact that lasts well beyond my existence, but my heart also knows that I’m not God. I can’t save everyone.
Maybe it begins with my heart being changed in the grace of Christ…
Maybe what follows is my life making a positive different in the lives that I CAN touch, not fretting over all of the impact I won’t be able to make…
This isn’t me saying, “Hey, just look after your own heart and forget everyone else.” Rather, I’m saying, “If the world within ourselves is transformed by grace, our lives will make an even greater difference in the world around us, even when that world may be smaller than you imagined.”
The world is a complicated and dark place, but the world within us is often the same…When the grace and light of Christ invades the empty space of our souls, the light pours out of our lives through acts of love, grace, and mercy.
Overflow of Christ’s life within our hearts brings life to the world around us.
Trying to be God will wear us out until there’s nothing left to give. Stop trying to be God.
What if we started asking God to daily transform our hearts to reflect His heart? What if we then asked for the strength to love the world around us? What would that look like in your world? What would that look like in mine?
If I’m honest, I’m pretty miserable at carrying this out on my own. Yet, I want to be this version of who I can become. No, I won’t change the entire world, but I am responsible for the world within myself. As that world begins to transform and change into a mirror of grace, so will the world around me.
Who will you choose to become?