Special Guest Post by Rebelutionary Christina Dickson
This last Saturday I went to shoot the Rebelution Conference. Toward the end of the conference, Brett challenged attendees with six tasks. They were all extremely practical and thoughtful steps. One that intrigued me the most was asking older people what they wish they would have known or done when they were younger. On my way back home from D.C. I decided to give this a go.
The flight from D.C. to Minneapolis I sat next to a financial adviser. He was very clean cut, but had calluses on his hands from when he worked in carpentry and construction. I asked him this question, and he looked down at me with a raised eyebrow. “You know, I’m not sure exactly how to answer that. I wish I wouldn’t have done as many stupid things when I was in college.”
It was promising to be an interesting conversation, but he got up and took a different aisle seat. My flight from MN to PDX was really different. I sat in the exit row. On my left was a teenage basketball player.
Obviously, I couldn’t ask the teenager what he would have done differently — he didn’t have all that much life experience. So, I decided to change it up. I found out that he had just graduated, and was extremely glad to do so because he thought school was incredibly boring.
He wasn’t sure where he was going next. He wanted to play for a school but the recruiting season was mostly over. If he didn’t play for school, he thought he might go into fashion design, because he liked clothes.
After this chit chat, I asked, “What would you do to change the world if you could?”
A blank stare was my response for a full five seconds, and then his face became a mask of incredulity. “Why you askin’ me that?” He demanded. “No one ever asked me that before.”
I came from a different angle. “Well, what moves you?”
He sat back and crossed his arms. “Nothing.”
“Nothing moves you?”
He shook his head.
His next argument was that he couldn’t do anything about anything, because people are people and they decide what they want to decide and believe what they want to believe, and he can’t change anything about that.
His statements made me so sad. But the worse part came when I asked why he believed that he couldn’t affect change.
“Because I’m black.”
I felt like the wind had been knocked from my lungs. “That’s lame.” I said aloud before I could help it.
He glared at me. “That’s easy for you to say,” he challenged.
“Dude, my dad is black. He works for a technology company and is very successful.”
He got quiet at this, and after a few moments, I tried to be kinder. “Well, I guess the moral of this story is…” I waited until he looked into my eyes. “Don’t use who you are as an excuse for not becoming who you could be.”
He didn’t say anything. But he nodded after a moment.
And then, he turned on his iPod.
I didn’t realize this was the extent of my generation. In a culture where individuality is prized, we still don’t believe that one person can make a difference. We don’t believe that every choice matters and affects those around us.
We still don’t believe that our lives can change the world.
I, for one, am not going to accept that.
Yesterday, I asked my mom what she wished she would have known when she was my age. After a small smile, she said, “I wish I would have known how much power I had as a young person to affect change. I wouldn’t have wasted so much time.” She then proceeded to tell me about a quote she read recently from Helen Keller — a woman who, despite many disabilities, affected enormous change in the world.
“I am only one, but still I am one. I cannot do everything, but still I can do something. I will not refuse to do the something I can do.”
It doesn’t matter if you work 9 to 5. It doesn’t matter if you stay at home and live a quiet life. It doesn’t matter if you are a full time musician or student. It doesn’t matter if you’re not incredibly gifted.
If you are here on this earth, God has a purpose for your life. He has a calling on you to affect change in this world as He lives through you. To seek anything less than this call is wrong. Already, too many people don’t think their lives matter. Too many people don’t care about affecting the world for good.
God’s people shouldn’t “do nothing”.
If I could do one thing to change the world, it would be to give people glasses to see the world through the lens of Jesus. Then, people would reach out. Then, people would see hurts and not be apathetic, or think their lives insignificant.
That’s why I’m going to Ecuador. That’s why I spent months on the streets of Portland. That’s why I teach and mentor.
Because Jesus will change the world through me.
What about you?
What one thing would you do to change the world if you could?
What will you do to change the world today?
What are you waiting for?
Make sure you visit Christina’s organization, Revelutionary Media, which brings together outstanding Christian artists to produce beautiful and true media for the greatest good and highest glory of Jesus Christ. This is exciting stuff.