Making people’s worlds better would be easier if it weren’t for people, right? If you picked up on the irony in that statement, you see the issue at hand: the very people you want to help are very often the same ones who knock you down. I know; I’ve been there. Often times, I handled it well, but other times I messed up royally. The truth is, if you aspire to make the world a better place, and you actually put a good amount of effort into it, I can almost promise you that someone (probably more than once) will try to knock you down. So, this blog post is for you, whether you have been knocked down, are knocked down, or know you will be one day.
Here are some lessons I learned through my experiences, and I hope they can help you keep on making the world better, even though others have made you want to give up.
1. When all else fails, find another way to do it. When I entered my first career as a minister, I did so because it seemed to be the most obvious way to share the love I experienced myself through my faith in Jesus. After getting knocked down by some people who were very legalistic about “love,” I decided to love on people in the insurance business and start a blog instead! Boo yah!
2. When emotions get the best of you, try taking a DOSE. Emotions are so annoyingly powerful! When I was knocked down, I fell into severe depression and really struggled to crawl out. You can read more about this in my previous post called A D.O.S.E. of Happiness For You.
3. You are not a victim. Playing victim gets you nowhere. I played that card, and all it did was worsen my depression and make others around me miserable. Not a great way to make the world a better place. Giving up a victim mentality allows you to push forward and fulfill your ultimate purpose in life. I recently watched this video of financial guru Dave Ramsey about this very topic, and he articulates it better than I ever could: Politicians Aren’t Jesus
4. Love and forgive your enemies. I don’t mean let people walk all over you or to excuse their wrongdoing. (Just continue reading through my next point.) Loving and forgiving those people is not a one-time event, but a process that’s usually difficult. Not many people have the kind of character to make this point a priority, but imagine the emotional burdens you could lift off of yourself if you aimed for this! Then imagine the respect you would have from others because they see you as someone who is not controlled by the wrongdoing of others.
5. It’s okay (and dare I say good) to have righteous anger. I believe we have a moral obligation to call people out who unfairly knock us or someone else down. Jesus had righteous anger when he turned over tables in the temple because it was being used as a money-making scheme. 2,000 years later, we still know that story. He also got angry at Pharisees who accused him of sin for picking grain on the Sabbath. He used his anger to do something that required even more “work” on the Sabbath: healing a man with a bad hand. Righteous anger fuels positive change.
6. It’s part of your story. The Beatles were rejected by a record label who said bands with guitars were on their way out. Walt Disney was fired for not being imaginative enough. Vincent van Gogh only sold one painting during his life and wasn’t famous until after he died. Michael Jordan was cut from his high school basketball team. He said, “I have missed over 9,000 shots in my career. I have lost almost 300 games. On 26 occasions I have been entrusted to take the gam winning shot, and I have missed. I have failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.” These stories of success are more powerful because of being knocked down. It’s part of your story too.
“We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.” -2 Corinthians 4:8-9