About seven years ago, I stood about three feet from a grown man on the verge of tears, as he shared with a group of about seventy-five colleagues in academia. He was a philosophy professor, who had recently returned from Oxford University, where he had spent the summer engaged in post-doctoral studies. Tears welled up in the corners of his eyes. And, his lips quivered as he spoke forth these words, “my greatest fear is that I will live an inconsequential life.”
A desire to make a difference. Leave a mark on the world. To live and when one’s life is over, for that life to simply have made a difference in the world in which it breathed, moved and walked.
I haven’t thought about that talk, nor the phrase much in the past seven years, though I’ve talked about purpose and destiny on a number of occasions. Yet, recently, this phrase, or rather, the essence that lies at the core of this phrase has been echoing from deep within. Once and a while, it will creep in to my thoughts. Each times it makes entry into my mind in unique ways and within diverse situations.
At the center of my being, I know God has purposed my life to make a difference. I can reflect back through the past sixteen-years, even further and vividly see the hand of God, as the Psalmist said, directing my very footsteps.
God has been so intimate, specific and generous to me. There’s a longing to somehow capture that story so it can be known by more than just me and a small handful. There’s a desire to do something with my life, that when I’m gone, the influence will still continue. It’s less about being “somebody,” and more about simply wanting what God does and speaks into my life to bring life and direction to others. I want to make a difference. I don't want to live an inconsequential life.
Perhaps, this is part of my inner motivation to begin writing more -- to simply capture these elements of the journey. I’ve been pondering this for a while, but as I was reading this evening in the book Organic God, the thought emerged again. Margaret Feinberg, in the book, does a fantastic job of simply telling her story and journey with God. She’s writing about various attributes of God, but it’s more than that, I suppose God is always larger than an attribute of sorts. In the telling though, she authentically weaves her own story into the plot. Part of her writing is so powerful, because as I read her stories, I find myself.
I’ve had those same stories. God’s taught me similar lessons.
Yet, have I deeply reflected, captured and written about them?
If it did, would this aid in living a life that has consequences beyond myself...?