We have all most likely heard or read the words:
“Be the change you wish to see in the world.”
There are many who believe these were spoken by Mahatma Gandhi. They are lovely words by any means and our purpose here is to simply explore this transforming idea, not necessarily to discover who said them.
Change is defined by Noah Webster in the 1828 dictionary in part as “To alter or make different. To change the heart or life.”
There is real value in exploring this idea of change. Can you recall a day that has gone by when someone hasn’t mentioned it? Either as a personal statement such as “I really need to change to a more healthier way of eating.” or even in a political campaign “We need real change.” “Something has to change.” Sustained effort and energy are required to create any type of lasting change. Haven’t you had personal experience with this? We’ve all made some changes that just didn’t “take”.
Small or large – change isn’t always welcomed.
Here’s a funny scenario that I talked about on Instagram.
Have you or anyone else in your family ever tried changing a long standing family tradition? Not the entire tradition – possibly just introducing a new vegetable instead of the same green bean casserole at Thanksgiving? What was the outcome?
There might have been an outcry of protest, some pouting, even anger.
I would be willing to bet that the casserole returned the next year. Now, I understand that this is not a world changing decision, but in all the years I have been working with women I have had countless conversations with you lovelies about trying to change the food in our traditional family celebrations. It’s just not the same without the stuffing, sweet potatoes, or the ________. (you fill in the blank)
Because traditions are filled with emotion. It’s not about the turkey, casserole or your aunt’s stuffing that’s too dry. It’s about our loved ones. The memories that are held and created in the sharing of the meal. It’s about relationships.
Almost every action we take is ultimately driven by relationship; with our family, friends, co-workers, community and ultimately with God.
When we talk about change that affects other people, we are actually trying to change something relational. As Noah Webster defined, “A change in a heart or life.” A belief. My personal opinion is that this is what makes change so difficult to sustain. Change that is more concerned with the behavior and outcome than the belief will not last. If we only focus on changing the behavior that we don’t like within ourselves or someone else (like the casserole), we miss the bigger picture.
We can’t simply remove a thing from our life or someone else’s life. We must give and add something of value in order to create a positive change. – Gina Tiber
Just saying the word implies that we are somehow “wrong”.
I mean, why fix it if it isn’t broken? Our pride might be offended. The idea of change seems so final.
- “What if it doesn’t work?”
- “What if I can’t do it?”
- “What if they don’t like me anymore?”
- “How can I possibly make an impact?”
- “What if _______ “
Our thoughts may instill fear, where there was once excitement. We procrastinate and make “fuzzy agreements” with ourselves. We don’t clearly define the change we want to see because at the moment we do, we become fully responsible. So, we give ourselves a back door. A way out. Procrastination sets in and we get stuck in the “I’m just trying to figure out how to “fix” what’s wrong.” thought process. In reality, what we need is a plan for growth that will allow us to grow into the change we want to see because nothing changes if nothing changes.
If we know we want to “Be the change you wish to see in this world.”, the next logical question is to ask ourselves what kind of change do we wish to see?” Do we want to see peace? Maybe we need to begin by mending relationships and hurt that has been hanging around for years or even decades in our own families and lives. Do we want to see more love in the world? Let’s begin by loving those who are unlovable as Jesus did.
We don’t get to choose.
We’re simply called to love people.
We have to identify what change we really want to see; then understand and weigh the cost.
There is always a cost, lovelies. Change takes time, sustained energy and effort. It requires letting go of pride and possibly surrendering the need to control. What if the cost is letting go of being right for the sake of forgiving another? What if we have to allow God to look into the deepest places of your heart so that He can heal the brokenness that has been there since childhood?
Change hearts and lives. Add value. Count the cost. Now what? How? Can we really make a difference? You? Me? If every action has a reaction, we all have an incredible amount of influence – and responsibility.
BE and CHANGE can both be action words.
You could almost say it this way “Stand without giving up – for all time. Personally represent the difference you want to see so that others may see it in you.”
This is kind of a big deal.
When we see the words “Be the change you wish to see” do we automatically look at others and wish they would change? Do we look out at the world and see all the darkness, hate and despair? Or do we look within ourselves? There is power in truth. Change begins with personal sacrifice and reflection.
Throughout all of history there has been a cost to create change. – Gina Tiber
Now what? For myself, I know that I cannot hope to change or impact another person or even a small part of our world unless I am willing to deal with my own stuff. The stuff that hides in dark, hidden corners while burdening my heart. It’s what makes me snap at someone when I really want to love them; the reason God says to cast my burdens onto Him. Surrender is the cost of change – and the reward.
There is freedom is surrender and victory in facing our own fears and dark places.
The change I want to see is the change I need to first create within my own heart.
There is inspiration in watching someone battle to live their dream, raise a loving family, mend a broken relationship, learn something new, meet a personal challenge, love unconditionally, give without reciprocation, etc. Every action we take causes a reaction. What we put out there every day multiplies into the lives of those we touch and so on. When we surrender our own heart for change first, we become stronger, able to love more fully and freely – FREE from the burdens that keep us from courageously moving forward. Lay it ALL down. Don’t leave a back door. Pray, listen, surrender. Cast a vision and begin. Whatever we have to give up or let go, will be restored. And if we fail, let’s lift each other up and begin again. Because what’s at stake is far too precious to give up.
with love and in gratitude…
Galatians 5:22 “But the fruit of the Spirit is LOVE, joy, peace…”
* This blog post was shared with us by my friend Gina Tiber at Live INSPIRED Organics.