Perspective: Serve secretly, make it matter — A challenge for the new year
Ahead are 52 new weeks. What can you do in this time to improve the lives of others and not just your own?
Each year, the new year stands with her arms wide open, inviting us to embrace hope, possibilities and happiness for the next 365 days. This time, as we stand at the threshold of 2022, her pose and posture are a little different. She stands with her hands on her hips, with one eyebrow raised and a smirk on her face, asking the obvious question: “What are you going to do?”
The economy and COVID-19 have proven themselves to be unpredictably predictable. Instead of reacting to whatever 2022 delivers, maybe we should develop a personal life plan which focuses on humanitarian elevation.
Lamentations 3:22-23 says: “The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.”
As we are given new mercies each day, we can give new mercies. The new year is a time when the Lord affords us another opportunity to get it right, be better and fulfill our purpose. Ahead are 52 new weeks. What can you do with your 365 days? An act of goodness or a decision to do good for 12 months can trigger a chain reaction of generational goodness, which means you can change someone’s life for the better.
Right now, 2022 is an unwritten chapter of our life. As authors of this chapter, we can write the table of contents and every word on each page. This is a time to reflect, imagine and dream. This is also a time for amends, do-overs, repairs, pivots, improvements and changes.
For 2022, I challenge you to pick three items from the following list. Apply them to your life, every day, every week and every month.
Model service. Demonstrate the impact of serving others. Unselfishly, generously, continuously, differently and compassionately.
Serve secretly. Help someone. Not for praise, fanfare or recognition. Help someone because there is a need for your contributions and support. No pictures. No video. No posts.
Give anonymously. Identify a person, cause or organization that is aligned with your passion or values, and anonymously give your time, donations and talent.
Share blessings. There are blessings all around us. Even in mistakes, there are lessons that fortify and empower us. When someone blesses you, bless someone else.
Post a daily gratitude journal. Inspire others with daily social media posts or text messages of why you are thankful.
Purge, pass or parlay. Assess your life. What habits, behavior or resources should you purge, pass to others or parlay for good?
Culturally stretch. Step out of comfort and into discomfort and learn a new religion, culture or tradition. Invite differences. Immerse yourself. Awaken your senses. Learn. Grow.
Build something. The past few years have left gaps, voids, cracks and gaping holes in various areas. These are opportunities to build something. Seek opportunities to build someone’s confidence, potential or faith. Build bridges, capacity and awareness.
Make it matter. Whatever you do in 2022, make it matter. Make an investment in someone else or a cause that is worthwhile, meaningful and sustainable. No hollow gestures or going through the motions.
Hold your breath and jump. Take a chance on one another. Abandon policies for just once. Give someone a break. Extend mercy. Try something new.
Have someone’s back. Protect others from bullies, trolls, critics and haters.
Trust God. If we trust our own experiences, our impact might be moderate, but if we trust God our impact will be maximal.
I’m going to try to apply most of these challenges to my life. I invite you to accept the challenge and join me on this journey. I trust that we will not only bear witness to changed lives, but our own lives will change as well. Let’s ignite a movement of goodness and gratefulness and illuminate God’s grace and mercy through humankind.
The Rev. Theresa A. Dear is a national board member of the NAACP and a Deseret News contributor.