The woman is twirling, smiling, & laughing. Her flowy skirt is swirling across the golden floor as she does a fancy ballroom dance move. From her smile & voice flows life & full joy & I am reminded of the invisible, quiet impact we, as individuals, have on each other. This woman, previously sad & lonely, is now full of life & joy because of the impact of those around her.
This woman is just one out of an infinitesimal number of examples in this world. And each of us is constantly leaving an impact on someone’s life. Those impressions, influences, & impacts are like a stone hitting the surface of a pond, they each create a ripple that moves on from there. In every interaction you have- whether it is with the local Barista, homeless person, friend, or neighbor…every. single. interaction. leaves an impact on & creates a ripple in that person’s life. And we constantly see both positive & negative examples of this every day in the news & on social media- mass shooters or young people that commit suicide. We ask ourselves…how in the world did that person get to that point? What drove them there? Yes, quite a bit of it is choices they made…but how much of it was from the invisible ripples left on their lives every day? So the question becomes…what kind of invisible ripple are you going to leave in your wake in their life?
As a Christian, this means even more to me- every interaction I have with someone could be a positive ripple or a negative one leading them closer or further from the Lord. Honestly, this is convicting for me. I am an introvert & a realist…so I often prefer to be alone…& when I’m around others, sometimes I can come across as somewhat surly. With this, I have to be both intentional & careful in what I say & do. I have to be intentional to open my heart to truly listen & show that I do care. I have to be intentional that when I walk away, I have left behind a positive ripple rather than none or a bad ripple from that moment. And honestly, I’m not great at it. I remember a time in high school when some friends & I went to the beach over the summer to give out bottles of water & share the gospel with people. My friend was having a positive conversation with a gentleman on the beach. I approached & began listening to the conversation. I never joined in, but just my critical body language, alone, got the gentleman’s attention. He became very offended, abruptly ended the conversation, & walked away. I was horrified at myself. I was horrified that my critical headshake & quiet, yet disapproving grunt (something I didn’t even realize I did to people until that very moment) pushed someone further from the Lord than where they already were. I was horrified that my carelessness slammed a door shut for that man. Since then, I’ve tried to be careful, but I’m still not great at it.
I don’t know about you, but I don’t want my time on this planet to be defined by moments like that. I don’t want the time I have on this planet to be defined by careless behavior, selfishness & greed, or negativity. I don’t want my time on this great sphere to be measured by the money in my bank account or what I leave behind to my children & theirs. No…I want my life to be defined by passionate faith in the Lord, following His will faithfully wherever He leads. I want it to be defined by desperate love & compassion for the people around me. I desperately want my life to be a positive investment into the lives of those around me…I want to leave invisible ripples behind that bring more & more people to the Lord…not ripples that push them further away.
So…today, remember & consider…your actions (direct or indirect) make an impression on the people you cross paths with in life…even with the smallest of transactions. Your actions will create invisible ripples that go on even after you’ve exited the moment…so be careful & consider what kind of invisible ripples you’ll be leaving behind.
“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.” – John 13:34 & 35
Be blessed, friends.