How My Prostate Helped Show Me Who We're Made to Be
My wife has a small basket that sits next to the toilet in the bathroom. It’s mostly for looks, but also has some magazines in it. I don’t really believe they’ve been placed there for reading purposes – certainly not for me. I've never heard of any of them - and neither my wife nor I are toilet readers - so I assume they serve some decorative function.
Since I stand more than I sit at this toilet, I’m usually looking at this basket at some point. A relatively new magazine graduated to the front of the stack and it has a cover story titled “The World Needs Who You Were Made To Be.” I discovered it’s the title of a children’s book by Joanna Gaines from HGTV fame. She said she wanted her message for kids to be “no matter who you are, or where you are from, or how old you are, or what you look like, or who you love, or what the color of your skin is, or what you believe in—the world needs you.” I like that. I have a slightly different take on her title, but thanks to Joanna for the inspiration.
So I really want to move this post away from my earlier toilet talk, but I have several trains of thought here and two stand out: 1. Is God, the universe, etc. trying to tell me something while I pee? That seems weird, but I do spend more time there as I age … never mind – I’ve got to get this back on the rails. And 2. I believe that title is spot on, but what if we don’t know who we are “made to be?” And if we’re “made” by a creator, it feels like it’s important to figure some of this out.
I’m going to leave #1 alone and focus on #2. (I literally just realized the toilet pun as I wrote this!) ANYWAY, I’ve come to the decision that most of us overthink their purpose in life or what they’re made for. Often we link it to our careers. We believe that somehow what we do for a living defines or reflects our purpose. This certainly can be the case for some. I know people whose job role perfectly matches who they are, if that makes sense.
There are plenty of others who define themselves more by the things they do outside their careers. I’m not sure it matters which camp you fall into – it’s about positively impacting others and the world around you. Life would be pointless if we’re all made to simply exist in the world. One of my favorite quotes is from Jackie Robinson and he said “A life is not important except in the impact it has on other lives.” That’s good stuff right there. Maybe it’s a responsibility or a challenge, but it’s pretty sobering if you let it sink in.
Some of you are thinking “What about those who impact the world and others in a negative way?” Well they suck. But, unfortunately there are lots of folks who fit that description. Their behavior and mindset are toxic and seem to get the bulk of our attention. All the more reason for the rest of us to pump love and respect into a broken world! It’s what we’re made for! Turns out that’s who we’re all made to be. As a Christian I would boil it down to the simplest terms of loving God and loving others.
We all have different talents and gifts, so love can be manifested through just about any job or everyday situation you can think of. Whether you’re doing it through your career or personal life, or both – remember the title: “the world needs…”
Need. It needs us. Like right now. It doesn’t need sedentary robots that aimlessly lumber through life. It certainly doesn’t need evil and hate. It needs the love and goodness we were made for. So many things have gotten us off track – from Adam and Eve’s apple debacle to the Kardashians getting a TV show – there are too many to list. I do know things will not improve without our action.
Before you start feeling overwhelmed, or say “how can I impact the world doing what I’m doing now?” - hold up. You don’t have to quit your job and join the Peace Corps … unless you want to. Too many times we wait for things to be just right before we act – particularly if it feels like a weighty decision. I’m not suggesting we shouldn’t put thought into things, but I can tell you the time is never “just right” for much of anything. It’s about looking at a situation and deciding how to influence it in a positive way.
I used to think I had to be doing something on a huge scale to make a difference. Like if I don’t publish a dozen books or have a TED talk, I might as well not try. I now believe it’s injecting life and love into any situation, no matter how small. Every one of us has a sphere of influence in this world, whether we realize it or not. Some have bigger spheres than others, but it doesn’t matter. One small act of goodness can actually make a difference in the world. Who knows what chain reaction that gesture might start?
It’s messy out there in the world. It can be noisy, cruel and exhausting.
The next time you feel life starting to smother the light inside you – instead of shutting down – think “How can I make this better?”
How can I lift people up?
How can I show love?
The world desperately needs us.
Let’s all be who we were made to be.