Over the last several years I’ve noticed an epidemic, my generation (the Millennials), seem to have come under. This epidemic is a kind of pressure we feel to create some “big impact” on the world, and a fear that if we’re not making said “big impact” than we’ll somehow become obsolete, forgotten or left behind. After reading this article “Stop Worrying so Much About Making a Big Impact” and this one too, “6 Myths Millennials Believe About Purpose” I wanted to add my thoughts to the discussion.
I believe the reason this pressure exists is because it is now easier than ever to create great impact and leave our stamp on the world–if you’re willing to work hard enough. We have several people in our generation to thank for this including Jeff Bazos of Amazon, Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook, Andrew Mason of Groupon, Michelle Phan of Ispy, and Ben Silbermann of Pinterest, just to name a few of the popular Millennials who not only happen to be extremely successful millionaires, but also people in our own generation. The age of technology has made it possible to turn hobbies into profits, followers into audiences and everyday people into superstars, seemingly overnight. Everyone wants to have a piece of that success. When we hear about how so many of the great businesses and services we enjoy today started in someone’s garage, it can leave us thinking “why didn’t I think of that?” or “that could’ve been me.”
The unfortunate thing about this rush for great impact is that we are facing a generation that is bereft of satisfaction. There is too much emphasis on the big successes and not enough on finding satisfaction in doing the small things well. If we are always looking at what could be, we risk missing out on what already is…
The futuristic mindset, mixed with the attitude of entitlement, and the ability to have whatever we want at the click of a button, has left many Millennials void of gratitude and therefore lacking peace, direction, and purpose.
Here are a few ways I, personally, as a Millennial, attempt to avoid this trap, while fully engaging in all the benefits this age is bringing us.
The quickest way to find peace is through a grateful heart. You might not have or be all the things you want right now, but if you took a step back and really looked at the blessings around you, you would find many reasons to be thankful. Anytime peace feels lacking in my life, I make a mental list of everything I can thank God for, including the things we often take for granted, like a roof over our head, healthy bodies, food to eat, an income to provide… you’ll be surprised how quickly thanksgiving ushers in peace.
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the PEACE of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Phil. 4:6,7
Do the small things well
If, after you have made your list and feel more peace, you still feel God is calling you to do more and be more, make sure you are not neglecting your first priorities and the responsibilities God has already given you. For me, this is a delicate balance. I feel called to write, but if my home is in disarray, my children need me, I am exhausted, I haven’t spent time in His Word, or my husband wants to spend time with me, I have to make sure I am not tilting my attention too far in one area and neglecting the other. I have not mastered this. Oftentimes, I can be typing away while there is a disaster happening in the next room, or, more often, I can go long stints without writing because I don’t make time for it. But I am constantly trying to make sure I give attention to my calling as wife-mom-writer. I have learned the three are inextricably connected.
“His master replied, “Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share in your master’s happiness!'”
God has uniquely designed you for a special assignment while on this earth. Mine will not look like yours, and yours will not look like hers… It may not be something that is easily seen by others. Making the greatest impact doesn’t mean making the biggest splash. It can be easy to see someone else’s assignment and resent the work he wants done in your life. I have found there are three reasons for this resentment.
- You do not know His will for your life.
- You know what He has called you to do, but you’re not working diligently in it.
- The enemy is occupying your mind, keeping you from pursuing the call of God on your life.
Despite these things, His will remains and He is patient. If you do not know what He wants you to do, ask. If you know, and you’re not doing it, get to work. If the enemy is taking up residence in your mind, renew your mind by spending time in God’s Word and presence. When you do, you will make the greatest impact.
“Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test God’s will–His good, pleasing and perfect will.” Ro 12:2