For much of my life, I felt ineffective and like a caged tiger. Perhaps you can relate. My life was respectable – there really wasn’t anything wrong with it – but I felt dissatisfied. I wanted to be doing something bigger than sitting behind a desk, selling travel packages to Cancun. I paid the rent and the bills, went to the store, and did all the things everyone did. I couldn’t really complain about my life, but as time went on, I still felt… dissatisfied. Was this it? Was this all there was to life? What could I do with all of my big dreams and even bigger idealism?
I looked over at people who worked for aid organizations like Doctors Without Borders, and I envied them. I envied their clarity of purpose. They were “doing something,” and I was not. Their lives mattered in a way that mine seemed not to. They were working on the front lines of urgent issues while my life in Fort Worth continued to plug away, quietly and without any discernible impact.
I suspect some self-pity entered here as I compared myself to the heroic doctors working in the midst of war and famine, and I wondered why they were able to live their big dreams while I felt trapped. I was trapped – by my own inaction and my own lack of understanding of what it takes to “do something” in a world that often races by those who need us most.
What I did not understand for so many years is that all it takes to do something, to elevate your life to a level that will get your heart pumping and make you see the world and your place in it so differently, is to choose to do what you can to help the person in front of you. It is that simple.
Choose to act.
Sometimes that means that you will be the first to tackle a problem. I know from founding The Flashlight Project that if you are, indeed, the first to try to solve an issue, the way will be especially hard. Other people and even your own doubts will tell you that you’re crazy. “No change can happen. It’s just the way it is. It’s too hard. Someone like you could never do it.”
Believe me, I’ve heard it all before. My own prior lack of self-confidence has caused thoughts like these to whirl around my ankles, but I have been able to push through them with sheer determination. Other times, though, storms and difficulties have transformed the doubts into powerful waves that have crashed over my head, and all I can do in moments like that is wait them out and pray for strength.
The strength comes. The storm stops, and the doubts recede. What I have been left with afterwards has been an increasing conviction that our mission to increase the self-esteem of all women in the parlors is the right one.
Is it hard? Yes, but all great change is difficult in the beginning.
Has anyone ever tried it before? I truly don’t think so, but that shouldn’t stop us.
Can it be done? Absolutely. We have already started.
To accomplish it, we need volunteers who are looking for more in their lives, those people who will set aside their doubts and choose to do something. We need volunteers who will go to the parlors with us and do what others think can’t be done but we know differently: talk to the women, show them the love of Christ, and increase their self-esteem.
If you are like I have been, wanting something more out of life, then be part of the first – and only – nonprofit to go directly to the parlors and love the women inside of them. It will change so many people’s lives, lives previously thought unchangeable, and it will change your own.
I'm busy working on my blog posts. Watch this space!