It is easy to notice when a child goes all in or not. Especially toddlers and preschoolers. They either toe the line, watching the other kids finger paint, splash in the muddy puddles, or relish their ice cream–or they enjoy dripping ice cream, dripping mud, or red, yellow, and blue paint smeared over every surface. Kids just go all in. They usually aren’t aware that there is a middle ground, and they might be better off for it.
Us boring adults, though, we are another story. We perfect the art of the lukewarm, safe middle ground. But the truth is, as we do this, we lose a part of who we were meant to be and what we were born to do. People who change the world aren’t those who stand back, watching all the finger painting going down. World changers are the ones creating finger-painted masterpieces (and often, with all the angst of the Masters). They go all in. They decide. And then they do it.
Going All In
This January, my pastor, Rob, has been challenging us to “go all in.” And although his message is ultimately about following Jesus all the way, I feel like many of us need to be challenged by this as world changers too, as we serve, love others, and be who we were meant to be in response to the oppression in the world.
We might say we want justice, compassion, and the world to be different. But we walk the middle ground. We want to watch the finger painting, not be the painters.
However, there is a problem. There aren’t any finger painters! Or at least, not enough. There are so few who are brave enough to smear the colors all over the walls, over the world.
So, taking Rob’s challenge, I pass it on to you. You can either be all in, making the art, splashing in the mud, eating the ice cream with fervor, of you can toe the line and try to watch (and if you try to watch, just like a toddler, you will soon get bored and move on to other self-serving activities).
I am asking you to step over the line and smear your hand in the paint a little.
You don’t have to change the world in every area. Don’t get overwhelmed by all there is to be done. Start by choosing one thing. And if you are doing one thing well, choose another one thing to begin exploring.
You can join me standing up for oppressed women around the globe. You can join me ending modern slavery and bringing freedom through the LBD.Project. You can join me in loving refugees, children, or training your own kids to respond to social issues and protect them from exploitation. You can even just learn about something. But this year, don’t just watch. Join.
Cautions When Going All In
1.) The right things
In the book, Essentialism, we are guided to be incredibly intentional about what we invest it. This is a very rare characteristic–not going every which way and direction, but being very selective and intentional about what we make time, and set aside money and energy for. Most of us dabble around in various things that we like or make us happy. But rarely do we decide for ourselves what we will go all in on and take that leap in a direction.
This might be because we aren’t sure what the right things to “finger paint” are. So the first question is, are you going all in, in the right thing? Are there areas you shouldn’t be investing in that you are? Where are you dabbling in that is wasting your time, money, energy that keeps you from going all in within the areas you should go all into?
These questions might all seem subjective to you. However, if you made a list of where you were investing your time, you might be surprised to find it isn’t where you want it to be. And I can assure you, if you want to be the person you were meant to be and make the difference you were born to make, being this intentional is vital, not only because it is healthy and good for you, keeping you from burnout, but it is also positions you to be and do what you were designed for.
2.) The quit option
Rob pointed out that when we leave the option to quit open, we too easily take it.
When I got married, we had a certificate of divorce printed on magicians’ flash-paper. Together, my husband and I burned it over the unity candle and threw it over the wedding guests, to their gasps of fear, surprise, horror and wonder. It was followed by a rousing applause, no one expecting we’d pull off a magic trick! But for us it wasn’t a magic trick. Symbolically, we took the quit option of the table. Honestly, we’ve had some hard years where I wished I had that quit option. But since my figurative quit option was burned-up, I had to find other ways.
Remove the quit option from being a world changer. Purposefully decide not to quit in advance, even when it is hard. Find friends and loving accountability. Resolve in your heart to never give up. Use magic flash-paper if you must.
3.) Embracing change
This might be obvious, but in case it isn’t, we can’t just stay on the middle ground while we paint the world in beautiful colors. Recognize now that not only will you change, but you will have to embrace and welcome change.
Usually am thrilled by the idea change (at least until it hits full force, as you can see here Storm Chaser; Change Chaser: On Saying Goodbye). But sometimes I still struggle embracing change, especially when I don’t have a clear vision of the purpose of it.
For example, last fall one of the focuses of my Life Map was to become healthy. It was no surprise that I had to schedule time to go to doctors, to exercise, to meal plan, and even to talk with a health coach. Although the method required perseverance and intentionality, which was hard, I still found the most difficult part fighting the part of me that doesn’t want to change. Daily I would question my decision to be healthy (usually while holding some of my favorite food or growling at my tennis shoes in the corner) and seriously ponder if I actually want to change in light of what I had to give up.
The truth is that although I have decided to change, I don’t actually embrace the change, which severely sets me back.
4.) Compelling vision
As we’ve already wandered deep into life coaching territory, I am just going to add one more point we must be aware of it we want decide to go all in: vision.
Using the example of being healthy again, most of the time my vision for “healthy” isn’t compelling enough to keep me going all in. Like with everything in my Life Map, I have a section where I write out my envisioned future. This is my “why.” It is the motivation and the drive to produce the actions and follow the methods and goals to get me to where I want to be. This is the vision.
But even if you have a clear vision, once you lose sight of it you act the same is if you don’t have it. And losing sight of it can happen in less than twenty-minutes after look at it! Scheduling a review of it, reimagining it and putting reminders all over the place is how we overcome this hurdle. We have to continually focus on the “why” we are going all in, or else the cost won’t be worth it.
So, in the case of making a difference in the world, what is your why? What vision do you have that is worth going all in for? As examples, currently I am turning this into a blog post, going into my dream about ending human trafficking, and here is another post about using our “why” to lead other people to care about it: How to Create Human Trafficking Awareness That Actually Compels.
How to Move Forward, Going All In
Let’s say this year you’ve decided to go all in to make a difference in the world in an area–the right area for you. You are also aware that you need a compelling vision, that you will have to embrace change, and that you don’t have the option to quit. Now you might be asking how you can do this.
Honestly, you can work out the how later. The point of this post isn’t to tell you how. It is to choose to go all in.
To make that choice, tell us in the comments below what you are going to go all in on to be who you were meant to be and make the difference you were born to make. (I’ll go first! Mine is there!)
If you want help . . .
Many of us need to really clarify our direction if we are going to end up going all in, in the right areas. I know I talk about it often (here is my story), but Life Mapping is my method to do this.
If you want to discover where you are going, your vision, and learn how to live intentionally to get there, I encourage you to opt-in to the Life Mapping Workbook (free) I made, instructions and all! I’ll send you videos to direct you through this process, too, because I know how hard it is to move forward without a method. Even with a method, most people still need help working through this process. That is why I also do life coaching, to serve people like you, who want to be who they were meant to be and do what they are born to do.
You Are Needed
This year, go all in. I can list a bunch of great reasons why you will be more fulfilled being who you were meant to be and making the difference you were born to make. But, you don’t need that.
You simply need to decide whether you want to be a world changer or not.
You can choose not to, and the world will go on much the same. And because the global population continues to grow, unless people like you do decide to go all in, there will be no new people to love those people and be brave people standing up to injustice. The world won’t go on the same, it will get worse when less people care.
You don’t have to feel like a world changer, or even have the evidence of being one before you begin to be one. But until you decide that is who you are going to be–starting now–you probably will just keep toeing the line.
So get in the finger paint. Join me and we will change the world together!