I’ve been thinking and praying a lot recently about what it really takes to follow your purpose, your convictions, to really make a difference in the lives of other people, to really leave this earth having made a positive contribution. As I’m catching up with friends, many share they are in a 1/4 life crisis, feeling that they want to contribute more, to do those amazing things like work overseas, or adopt, or just turn their backs on the rat race and instead choose to work somewhere they believe in, work for a charity or an NGO rather than corporate industry. A common theme emerges when I ask they why they can’t, they say they feel trapped by debt, bills, the “need” to own a house and cars, approval from parents and grandparents, and perhaps even the need to be someone (and by someone they meant someone who is seen to have “made it”). One friend shared with me that at 28 she has already accomplished buying a house and car, climbing the ladder professionally, but now she needs the next thing, to save for a second home…I keep thinking about this, about how we define success, how we measure those who’ve made their mark and I have to say, when I think about it, for me it boils down to this:
The highest courage is to dare to be yourself in the face of adversity, choosing right over wrong, ethics over convenience, and truth over popularity. These are the choices that measure your life. Travel the path of integrity without looking back, for there is never a wrong time to do the right thing.
To have the highest courage is not easy, to allow God or whatever you believe in, to put something in your heart, to choose the path of following His (or your conscience, or whoever you believe in) teachings whether that be caring for the poor, volunteering with the elderly, offering your skills to those in need, adoption or fostering, helping the homeless – well it requires living sacrifice, it requires questioning what society defines as “normal” and making your own normal. When I think of people I know who have given up the luxuries we all take for granted, and instead care for the sick in countries with no infrastructure to support their people, when I think of people who’ve said we will do without so we can give, I see an integrity, a grace, a reverence which gives them power, the power to one by one change the world.
Which makes me ask myself…
Do I have power? Do I have integrity? Do I have the courage needed to make real sacrifices for those most in need? Do I have the backbone needed to get off the carousel? Or am I always looking to buy the ticket for the next ride (the second home, the electronic equippment, the early retirement)?