At my best, I long to inspire people. To lift their spirits. To help them be more of who they are called to be. At some level for all of us, I think one of our deepest motivators is to inspire. Inspiring someone is great gift to give them. As I’ve thought about it though, it is also one of the most difficult things to do.
I know that there are the “superficial” ways to inspire people. You know, bring a lot of energy, and enthusiastically tell them that their altitude is determined by their attitude. Simply trying to inspire someone by bringing a manic energy to the encounter usually only leads to disappointment and cynicism on the part of the recipient. So that actually isn’t much of a gift at all.
World-class athletes can inspire us with their performance. Anyone that has become a world-class athlete has done a lot of perspiring for the sake of gaining mastery in their sport. But I’m talking about the kind of inspiration that makes us want to become more of who God is calling us to be, not to become a better athlete.
What really inspires people for the long term, it appears to me, are two things. First would be modeling, (being an exemplar). Second would be willing to enter people’s worlds in powerful ways, to meet them where they are, and from there call them to be more of who they are called to be.
What I mean by becoming an exemplar? Essentially this is about becoming mature. This is about being willing to deal with your character flaws, to enter into your own suffering, to grow in poverty of spirit, to mourn well, to become meek in the best sense of the word, so that you become whole, so that you become truly rooted and established in love. Then, by simply being who you are and responding to the Holy Spirit”s promptings, you will be someone who is unique enough that you will be inspiring by who you are. You will be inspiring by who you are. I encourage you to reflect on that and see what you think.
The next way to truly inspire someone in my opinion is by entering their world. When, as a mature person, you empathize with someone, connect with them, enter their world, (including their disappointments and fears), they feel heard, they feel valued, they feel less alone. When a person with a good heart (overall, you know), feels valued, heard, and seen, that in itself brings inspiration. They are thirsty then to become more of who they are called to be. They are then much more likely to want to listen to your challenge, to your inspiring word, after they feel heard. And for most of us, not before that.
But becoming an exemplar, and entering someone’s suffering, that is a lot of work. That requires perseverance, discipline, and perspiration.
I encourage you to reflect on what challenging or difficult thing is the Lord asking you to enter into, for your sake and for the sake of others. As you do, as you perspire for the sake of the greater good, it will bring a smile to the Father’s heart, it will bless probably more people than you realize, and it will bring life to your soul.