Many things in life can serve as a wake up call.
For me, a 99% blockage in my widowmaker artery and near heart attack woke me up to the preciousness of life and sent me on a decade-long quest of studying thousands of NDEs and sharing their life-changing wisdom.
For Near-Death Experiencers, their death-defying NDE wakes them up to a new world, new priorities, new values, and a new way of living.
For some, the death of a child, spouse, parent, friend, or family member emotionally and spiritually cracks them open and is the catalyst to seriously explore the spiritual side of life.
For others, the craziness of COVID, the loss of a job, the breakup of a relationship, the arrival of a milestone birthday, or the kids leaving home and becoming an empty nester serves as a significant change in their life.
Whatever the case, so many of us find ourselves at a point in our lives where the “normal” we got used to and perhaps defined ourselves by is no more. The things and/or people we used to count on are no longer there. The routine our lives revolved around has been disrupted, dismantled, or destroyed.
We find ourselves at a crossroads where we can choose to cling to the past, continue to feel unmoored in the moment, and/or fear the future. It’s easy to feel distracted, depressed, and even defeated during these unsettling situations.
It is often during these confusing, chaotic, and crazy times that God is calling us to…
- re-examine our priorities
- realize what really matters
- focus on who really matters
- break out of our fears and excuses
- expand beyond our comfort zone
- live a life of purpose and passion
- discover and share our gifts to help the world
- be who we came here to be
- do what we came here to do
Of course it’s hard… as change often is.
But it is also hard to live with the nagging regrets knowing in our heart of hearts that we could have and should have done more if we didn’t let fear, doubt, or inertia stand in our own way.
Honoring Those Who Answered the Call
Fortunately, we have some courageous people to inspire us who have heard and heeded the call and followed their hearts and souls despite the fear, uncertainty, and doubts they felt.
Elizabeth Boisson, following the passing of her 20-year-old son Morgan, developed Helping Parents Heal to provide hope and healing to thousands of grieving parents around the world.
Jim Spierings, after surviving stage 4 cancer, created the Spierings Cancer Foundation, a non-profit organization that helps families affected by cancer. Each summer Jim and his wife Sue organize an event called Rock Cancer that has raised over $2 million.
Susan Burton, after cycling in and out of prison herself several times over 15 years, started A New Way of Life, which provides a safe home and structured support system for formerly incarcerated women. The program helps thousands of women across southern California put their lives back together again and earned Susan and A New Way of Life the CNN Hero Award.
Roseanne Chee, after the suicide of her teenage daughter Cassie, created Cassie’s Cause, a non-profit organization promoting the awareness of mental illness and suicide. Cassie’s Cause combats the stigma associated with mental illness and provides scholarships for those pursuing a career in mental health.
Each of these amazing people transformed their personal tragedy into a triumph and a valuable lifeline and resource for others in need.
Jim Spierings said, ”While I was sick I received a card from a lady that I didn’t even know. She told me to pray and ask the Lord what he wanted me to learn from this experience, and what he wanted me to do with what I learned. I believe Rock Cancer and the Spierings Cancer Foundation is the answer to that prayer. The lesson I learned was humility. It’s very humbling to go through cancer and receive the kind of support and love I received from so many people. It took a while for me to understand what I was supposed to do with that lesson. But the last 15 years has convinced me that helping people the way I was helped, is what I am supposed to do with that lesson of humility.”
Just as Elizabeth, Jim, Susan, and Roseanne were called to create something meaningful, powerful, and bigger than themselves out of the horrendous hardships they faced, each of us is also called to stretch our souls, break out of our limiting comfort zones, and transform our personal hardships into a way to help others. You don’t need to create a non-profit – just be on the lookout for ways you can help.
At first, answering the call will seem daunting and even impossible, like it did for them. But with love in their hearts and service in their souls, they took the first step, and then the next, and then the next…
It may have initially seemed scary and futile, but over time they made progress – guided by the inspiration of their kids and/or the gratitude they felt for all those who supported them in their time of need.
The tremendous difference Elizabeth, Jim, Susan, and Roseanne have made out of surviving life’s toughest challenges of having children pass away, being diagnosed with cancer, and going to prison has created a powerful and positive Ripple Effect in the world – one they won’t truly realize or appreciate until they have their own Life Review someday.
So many people have benefited from their gifts and contributions and rightly look to them as role models. While people admire their courage and compassion, they’ll all humbly say they just followed their hearts and desired to help.
Just as Elizabeth, Jim, Susan, and Roseanne heard the call to help and answered it, YOU CAN TOO.
As Rick Warren once said, “If you want to find your purpose in life, find your wound.”
What is God calling you to do?
Who is God calling you to help?
What wounds have you endured and learned from that could help others in a similar predicament?
You’ll often find that in supporting and mending others’ wounds, you not only help them heal – you help heal yourself – and the world.