It is absolutely amazing to me how people- their attitude and lifestyles- can be so different while living only miles or even feet apart from one another, in the same culture. They could even have the same job and some of the same friends, but can be so extremely different. I always have fun analyzing the situation and trying to figure out exactly how that person came to be who she or he is.
When it comes to your own life, it is like Reba- I love her!- sings, “It’s your call, it’s up to you!” I used to think that song was about umpires making tough calls during softball games, but now I’m seeing it from a different perspective. I often compare the way of life of my family of origin with that of my grandparents, and sometimes my friends’ families way of life. Growing up, you think your normal is the whole worlds’ normal, and it is not until adulthood or somewhere slightly before that when you realize your family’s version of normalcy is definitely not the norm for everyone.
Two neighbors can live right next door to each other, having the same landscape view to look at and the same weather to feel every day. However, one neighbor may complain nonstop about the view and the climatic events, while the other gushes about the beauty they see and feel all around them. The dissatisfaction and the joy of the two may not always be verbally shared with others, but mentally, they are in completely different states.
While it’s easy to succumb to the “woe is me” lifestyle that you may find common around you, especially with the entitled mentality my generation seems to have, it’s worth the extra effort some of us have to put forth to achieve the lifestyle and attitude you wish to have in your life. Not happy with where you are right now? Seek a better life, and you shall find it, Jesus assures you. Look for and learn how to live righteously, and you’ll slowly start making sense of things and improve, leading to happiness.
It’s also easy to give in to the idea that our lives are such a measly existence, that nothing we do will ever really make a difference. After all, we are but one of over 7 billion humans here on Earth. The people back in Biblical times who were written about that made huge differences were one of many less people, about 300 million by some estimates, and civilization wasn’t as advanced as it is today. With all the progress spanning over all those years, and with all those people that have lived, isn’t everything good that’s going to exist already here, be it an invention, technology, new book, or any new idea we could ever come up with? Is there a point in trying to achieve any new business or idea? It seems like we already have everything we could ever need. There’s probably already someone somewhere who’s already had the same thoughts I’ve had, some books already written on the subjects I’d like to write about, that could already help the people I want to help. I’m nothing special, is what I sometimes used to think.
However, after reading some of the Old Testament, I am starting to see the importance of each person and each generation. I used to be so bored by the lists of descendants, even baffled as to why they were in the Bible for me to look at. I admit, I still skip over the reading of each individual name, skimming instead, although I know if I knew Hebrew and read the Bible in its original Hebrew version, there would be more obvious meaning, according to Rabbi Daniel Lapin. The point I can find meaning in, however, is that each individual person was important enough to be spelled out to us, each generation significant in its own right, so much so that God needed us to know each and every one. They each had a chance to make a difference in their lives and the lives of their offspring, leading to change in further descendants, and to each generation thereafter.
We’re not just one of many, a meaningless individual lost in the masses, nor a generation with no usefulness. God doesn’t see us that way. No, each of us has a uniqueness and a gift that God decided to put in us for a specific reason, and it’s up to us to figure it out as best as we can. God smiles just knowing we are trying, even if we don’t get it completely right 100% of the time. We must keep trying, though. If one of the heroes in the Bible would have succumbed to a more apathetic lifestyle, history would have been changed- and not for the better. And who knows? Perhaps there were many other people from the past who could have found it in themselves to do great things, but did surrender to being a mere existence of breathing, with a sour attitude plagued life, instead of ever taking charge of their gifts and their life. If they’d have listened to God’s voice, that was always inside them, perhaps history could have been changed for the better, perhaps your very life would have been much different!
God gives us the free will to choose what we do with our lives, from the attitudes we take, to the lifestyle we encompass, to what we do with the gifts he gives us. Each day, nay, each minute, is a new opportunity to make a new choice that affects each of those. Don’t ever be left worrying that you’re in the latter group of people who could have made a difference, but didn’t. Always make sure your decisions leave you confident you’re in the first group of heroes who’ve made a positive change, no matter how small, or to how few of people. You are effecting people who will live out that difference and have an effect on the people in their lives. It’s making a difference, and that difference will reach into each new generation to come.