It’s not about who you impress. It’s about who you impact!

I read this statement a few weeks ago and it has resonated with me repeatedly since that time. I’ve been reflecting on my impact. What is the impact of my words, my actions, my thoughts, my facial expressions, my whole life?

I’ve worked in education for over 20 years - spending my time with children and teenagers as well as many staff and school community members. I’ve spent many hours with students working on academic and social skills, developing leadership skills, planning events and activities. Why do I keep doing this? I hope that in some small way I will impact how those kids think about themselves or how they interact with others. I like to think I’ve impacted lives and modelled my faith while doing it.

We have billeted hockey players for a number of years. I’ve cooked more chicken breasts, rice and pasta, bought more bus snacks, Oreos and electrolyte drinks than I can count. I’ve attended a lot of hockey games, rung a lot of cowbells, celebrated goals and wins, mourned injuries and losses and consumed countless questionable rink coffees. Why do we do keep doing it? I like to think that we have impacted lives. That we’ve helped them grow and mature and make good decisions. We’ve taught them to do laundry, to try new food, to take responsibility for many decisions. We’ve attempted to live out our faith in our daily lives and let them see how that impacts our daily decisions.

Twelve years ago, when I was going through some pretty major health issues, I realized I could live each day in anger and self pity or I could be thankful for a medical system that was helping me fight through my issues. I could expect people to look after me or I could appreciate what others did for me and treat them with respect. After I got to the end of the immediate concerns, I was able to volunteer with an organization and talk to others going through similar circumstances and help them navigate their emotions and fears. I like to think I was able to impact many people and demonstrate peace, love, joy and faith through the journey.

Matthew 5:16 says “In the same way let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.”

Colossians 3:23 says “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters.”

My why is to honour God and impact those around me by showing them God’s impact on my life.

I think of the often-repeated story of the little boy throwing the starfish into the water from the shore. When someone questions his actions and comments on the futility of his task because so many starfish have washed up on shore. The boy keeps on working and responds “Made a difference to that one! Made a difference to that one!”

We have just come through the Easter season where we celebrate Jesus’ death and resurrection. Jesus willingly gave his life on the cross to make a difference in the life of anyone who is willing to accept the gift of salvation. His actions, his love, his sacrifice made a difference in my life and he will make a difference in yours if you will let him. Jesus didn’t do that to impress anyone, he did it to impact the world.

-Nancy Jefferson