We discussed something interesting in youth group this morning. Based on The Listserve, our youth pastor asked, “If you had the chance to speak to one million people, what would you say?” It could be one word or a entire essay. It could be funny or serious. Students provided plenty of variety, including, “Live life to the fullest,” and, “Balance the important things in your life,” and “Take advantage of alternative energy sources.” As usual, I have my own answer. For those that don’t care, feel free to move on. For everyone else, here you go…
- You are handcrafted for an amazing purpose. That is both a great gift and a great responsibility. You should determine your purpose and fulfill it as awesomely as possible.
- You are continually filled with amazing love. That is both a great gift and a great responsibility. You should share that love with family, friends, and other people you meet.
- You may occasionally find yourself sitting around wondering what you should do. When that happens, review the previous two points.
Some of you may have noticed that I end many of my notes with two simple words: Stay Awesome. This is kind of my new personal motto, so I suppose it’s worth explaining.
The second word is the easiest and most obvious. Be AWESOME. Don’t be normal. Don’t just do what everyone else is doing. Rise above all that. Be extraordinary.
The first word is perhaps more subtle. STAY awesome. The fact is that you are already awesome. God handcrafted you as a glorious work of art and science to carry out some great purpose in this world. So, your challenge is to continue to be as awesome as you can according to His plan.
Of course, we all have room for improvement. You can’t stay the most awesome in everything, so you have to determine in which areas you should grow, and in which areas you can let go. How do we do this? Through prayer and congregation. Through prayer, you can listen to what God wants you to do. Through congregation, you can listen to your family and friends and find out where you can really make a difference. Spend some time thinking and feeling about all of that, and you can figure out how to stay as awesome as possible based on what God wants and what those around you need.
So, there it is. Stay awesome!
My college statistics professor taught us one of those unique lessons that apply in a broad way to real life beyond the basic mathematical concept…
“You never, never know the true state of Mu.”
For those not familiar with statistics, the Greek letter “Mu” represents the *real* average for a set of numbers. For a small set of known numbers, you can easily calculate the value of Mu. However, consider a meaningful question, like, “What is the average age of all people living in the United States?” You can approximate the average using statistical methods, by taking samples and whatnot, but you can never know the *real* average age. There is just too much data changing too quickly.
So, it is with all aspects of reality, beyond simple things like averages. While you can approximate reality based on the perceptions you have and the conclusions you make, you will never, never know the true state of reality.
One approach I find helpful in life is to focus on influence rather than control.
The first step in this approach is realizing that you have a lot less control and a lot more influence than you probably think you have. On one hand, you can hardly control anything or anyone. While we might like to line things up to go a certain way, things just don’t always turn how we planned, because we don’t have control. On the other hand, every time you comfort someone in need or just smile at someone at the street, you are influencing them and potentially having a huge impact on that person and everyone they see.
The second step to this approach is to align your actions accordingly. If you try to control things or other people, then you will often find yourself disappointed. If you are expecting too specific of a result, then you are just setting yourself up for failure. However, if you focus on trying to influence things or other people, then you should find yourself more successful. If you are just looking for a favorable outcome, then you can nudge things this way or that way until you get things going in the desired direction.