Unrecognized Impact

You may never know the impact you have on the lives of those around you.

How many times do we do things out of habit, out of routine, out of necessity, without really thinking about it?  Perhaps we do things because it is just in our nature, a natural mode of operation.  Maybe we do things out of personal preference or for some sort of benefit we individually receive.

I think each day of our lives holds a big factor, that we are often tempted to overlook – the unrecognized impact we have on others.   By definition this would be the impact we have upon the people around us that we do not give notice and attention to.

There is an upside and a downside to this unrecognized impact.

On the up side, how many people to we unintentionally bless as we make our way through our list of responsibilities and daily tasks?

When my daughter was younger, probably about 5 years old, I took her dress shopping with me.  I needed a new outfit for a special event I was attending.  I had her in the dressing room with me.  I tried on a dress that I really liked and just for fun I asked her what she thought of it.

My daughter’s response was, “does it twirl?”  So to humor my precious girl I spun around in the dressing room.  It was a twirling kind of dress, which made my daughter respond “It twirls so good!  Daddy will just have to dance with you now.”

If you knew my husband, you would know that dancing is not at all his thing.  Which, I think makes my daughter’s response even more enchanting.  Such precious sentiments from the mouths of babes.

My daughter and I shared a good laugh, and convinced me I had found the perfect dress.  But the unrecognized impact came when we stepped out of the dressing room.  A lady probably about the age of my mother was waiting for us with a teary eyed smile.

She immediately apologized, saying she didn’t mean to pry but had overheard the conversation my daughter & I had in the dressing room.  The lady commented on how precious it was and how it just made her day.  She encouraged me to hold on to these little moments as a mom because they would soon pass.  She told us a bit about her daughter who used to twirl when she was a young girl.  She quickly thanked us for our time and we parted ways.

We never intended for anyone to take note of our conversation.  We were just being us, on a mission to find the right dress.  This kind lady could have just smiled at overhearing us and went upon her day, but something impacted her so much that she took the time to stay around and meet this crazy mother/daughter pair.

On the downside, how many people do we unintentionally irritate, annoy, hurt, or offend as we make our way through our day’s work?

I wish I had to think hard for one good example of this…but the truth is, there were too many examples that came to my mind and it did not take me long to accumulate a list.

There have been many times that I have been short and rude to others.  Often times when I am stressed, I stew in my frustration internally, and overreact acting as if minor inconveniences are majors frustrations.  I know my tone can have a sharp string to it, my words a biting response, my attitude a sour aftertaste, and my presence can be cloudy & brooding.

There is a natural tendency to excuse this kind of behavior away blaming it on stress or fatigue or even pointing the finger at others.  It is one thing to recognize it and come forward to ask those I hurt for forgiveness, but what about the ones that I did not recognize?

While it is a joy to think of how many peoples’ days I have brightened just being me, it is humbly heartbreaking to think of how many peoples’ days I have darkened by being me too.

How many have I hurt, offended, and upset that I have not recognized my error and asked for forgiveness for?  That is a scary thought.

The truth is that we are all imperfect and live in an imperfect world.  There will be joys and there will be hurts.  Sometimes we do not learn and do not recognize the lesson until there is some pain.  Not that I am saying we should be undisciplined and uncaring towards the impact we have on others, I believe we should be aware of how we affect others.

There are certainly times when the loving action is going to cause another to be hurt, offended, or upset.  Any parent can testify to the uncountable number of times they have hurt, offended, or upset their children trying to raise them up in the way they should go.  Equally any of us as children are probably unable to count the pain and frustration our parents have accumulated from us.

There is one who recognizes in all fullness, and in the tiniest detail, the impact that our lives have on one another.  God does.  God the Father, Jesus Christ our Lord, and the Holy Spirit through their miraculous unity comprehend it ALL. 

What a miracle and what a divine mystery that is!

What a comfort and reassurance!  There is so much in my world I can not recognize, but if I go to the One who recognizes it all and I ask for wisdom, for discernment, for knowledge, for revelation, I know I can have a better hope to see than if I make a feeble attempt in my own strength.

I know that I can also trust the Lord in obedience to what He calls me to do, to the best of my limited ability.  I do not have to recognize the fullness of the impact of my life, in fact I am completely incapable of that.  But, I can ask Him what I need to do in this moment, this day, to be the person He designed me to be.

May He lovingly use my life to impact others.  My deepest dream and desire is that the unrecognized impact of my life would be that my Passionate Enouragement and Prayer Uplifted People and brought Joy (PEP UP for Joy) to this world for the glory of the Lord.

The older I get, the more I realize how unrecognized that impact will be.

This is the best picture I could find to illustrate the beauty of unrecognized impact.   This is a picture at the zoo of my daughter on the left.  On the right is my sister-in-law’s granddaughter.  These two just love each other.  They enjoy being together, doing pretty much anything.

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As they walked hand in hand down this path, both of these girls have absolutely NO idea that they were impacting my heart and my sister-in-law’s heart in such deep ways as we stood behind them and watched them together.

They are just being themselves, the way God designed them to be, adding such beauty and love and grace to this world.  It is a humble blessing to have the opportunity to slow down and get just a glimpse for a moment.  By God’s hand the miraculous moments we witness, when recognize the impact of the instant, can leave a legacy of lasting change upon our lives.

Beloved Lord,

Thank you for making each of us a unique and precious treasure.  Thank You for connecting us all in such a way to others that we may have unrecognized impact upon by being who we are.  

Lord, forgive us for the times that it is a hurtful, frustrating, or irritating impact we have upon others.  Please use Your love and the goodness of Your hand to gently bring change and healing where it is needed.  Thank You for the ways we bless others and do not even realize it. 

For those moments we get a glimpse, may we give You all the credit and glory.  Thank You for being able to see the whole picture in its entirety and every speck sized detail at the same time.  You are truly incredible, Lord.  

May we recognize that the impact of our lives is only made possible through the impact of the life of Jesus, amen.   

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