“I’ve always had that deep longing and yearning you’ve been writing about. I love reading it, and I wish I could be that. But it’s too late for me! Too much sewage under my proverbial bridge!”
That is just one of the hundreds of cries for help that have landed in my email box over the past number of weeks. (And whether yours are cries for help or celebrations, I welcome both!)
In reading all of these cries for help, I’ve come to realize that there are a lot of myths out there about World Changers. I thought I would share five of them. If you find yourself in one of these categories, I hope you will realize that it’s nothing more than a myth.
That deep longing and yearning in you to make a difference would not be there if it were not possible for you to be a World Changer!
Myth 1: World Changers have their “stuff” together.
I was amazed at how many emails I received that spoke of this myth. It was my biggest mountain to move when I was trying to believe that I could become a World Changer.
Regardless of your religious background, the thing that most helped me conquer this myth was considering Jesus’s disciples.
Peter was impetuous, impulsive, and he denied that he even knew Jesus.
James had a hot temper and was very judgmental.
John, James’ younger brother, also had a temper problem
Thomas was gloomy and pessimistic. He was easily discouraged. He also refused to believe Jesus and was called a doubter.
Matthew was self-absorbed, self-centered, and dishonest as a tax collector.
Judas was a betrayer. Although Jesus called him a “friend,” Judas sold knowledge of Jesus’ whereabouts for financial gain.
We know for certain that at least six of them did not have their “stuff“ together! Yet all 12 of them together were early examples of World Changers.
Did they have their “stuff” together before they became World Changers? Not really. And just in case you’re wondering, neither did I have all of my “stuff“ together before I began my journey of World Changing.
I believe most of us step up our personal growth (to begin getting our “stuff“ together) when we begin our journey in World Changing. But it’s not a prerequisite.
You may be thinking that I have no idea how “messed up“ you are. You might be going through a divorce, you might have a child WAY off track, you might be totally broke financially, and totally broken internally. You might even be dealing with legal situations.
I understand totally how discouraging troubles and challenges can be. But please hear me! They do not disqualify you! If you will own them and set on a path of healing, you are actually super qualified!
I know that seems contrary to what we might normally think. But the very fact that you have had to go through some “stuff“ and deal with some “stuff,” actually equips you to have understanding and compassion for others whose lives are in a mess.
Let me ask you this: in the midst of your worst challenge, if someone had stepped up to you and made the following statement, what would it have meant to you? “I know you are going through some ‘stuff’ and you’re in the middle of some pretty big challenges. Maybe they were your fault, maybe they were not. But regardless, handling this is equipping you to be a World Changer. Dust yourself off, own where you’ve made mistakes, commit to doing better, and join the ranks of World Changers!”
If that had happened to me, I would have become a World Changer much sooner! If you’re in the middle of a great challenge and are aware that you don’t have your “stuff“ together, I want you to read that out loud to yourself.
You may not have the courage to read it to yourself right now, but read it out loud and preface it with this: “Dr. Neecie believes that…” And then read the whole thing out loud. Do it every day until you believe it.
Start taking action, and then look for someone else that you can say that to!
It is a myth, indeed!
Myth 2: World Changers do not have wounds.
Holy moly! If that myth were true, I would certainly not be a World Changer!
We all have wounds. I say to clients in my office regularly, “All of us have wounds in our lives. They are a lot like onions, we peel them off one layer at a time, and sometimes we cry!”
Of course you have wounds! We all do.
However, sometimes we’ve been taught to wear our wounds as “medals of honor.” Certainly I don’t want you to do that. But if you are courageous enough to address them and heal them, they become qualifiers for World Changing instead of “medals of honor.“
I know from what you’ve written to me that some of you have some very deep, deep wounds. I am certainly not in any way making light of your wounds.
They hurt! It’s OK to cry! It’s OK to take time to heal. Just let me encourage you with this: time alone does not heal wounds. That’s an old myth as well. The truth is that leaving wounds unattended actually fosters deep infections in our souls.
It’s OK to take time, but get active about healing your wounds. Read books, watch YouTube videos, get counseling or coaching, pray, laugh, journal about it. Those are all things that promote healing.
Please don’t buy into the myth of waiting for all of your wounds to be healed first. Start the healing process, and then turn to World Changing.
Actually, World Changing heals many wounds.
Myth 3: World Changers are in excellent financial condition and are likely financially free.
I know that this has likely been encoded into your hard drive just as it was in mine.
I think we have this idea that World Changers are those who donate millions of dollars to build orphanages or hospitals, or synagogues, or churches, etc.
Certainly their generous donations are World-Changing acts. However, financial abundance is not a qualifier for World Changing. As a matter of fact, one author wrote, “Perhaps the greatest obstacle to world influencing is riches. Those with financial resources often donate generously, but fail to make heart connections that are the greatest source of influence.”
I am a big believer in giving generously; however, not in the absence of touching lives directly.
A few years ago I was in the home of a very wealthy family in Highland Park, a wealthy area in Dallas, Texas. They had just shown me the wallpaper in their guest bath that was hand-painted in China, and cost hundreds of thousands of dollars. It was indeed, impressive.
Then, when giving me a tour of their home office, they pointed to a little photograph on a bookshelf and said that they had given hundreds of thousands of dollars to the orphanage depicted. And then with a sling of the hand as if the children in the photograph didn’t matter, there was a quick subdued comment, with a surly tone, “Bless their little hearts.”
I said a prayer in my head at that moment: “God I hope I can donate hundreds of thousands of dollars to great causes in the future, but don’t let me ever lose the heart connection of a World Changer!”
I know that you know this, my friend, but money cannot buy the heart of a World Changer. You must have that heart. Your financial status does not make the heart connection greater or lesser.
The fact that you want to be a World Changer tells me your heart connection is strong! I know it is!
Do what you can to improve your financial situation on your journey to being a World Changer. However, it is not a prerequisite!
Myth 4: World Changers Come from healthy, functional families.
Oh my goodness. Thank God this is a myth.
Although I believe most parents in most families do the best they can, most families are not healthy, nor are they functional!
I have a delightful client who came from one of the most dysfunctional family situations I have experienced. Probably a lot like yours, in that it looked pretty normal from the outside.
In her situation, she was devastated by the demeaning words spoken over her as she grew. Those words created an identity for her that did not remotely reflect her true self.
The first time I met her, I knew she had the heart of a World Changer. I could see it in her eyes, I could hear it in her voice.
Yet she emerged into the world as a young adult with not one single belief that there was anything good enough in her to do World Changing.
Yet sitting in my office and telling me about the things she does convinced me that she is already a World Changer and doesn’t even know it.
I bet you can relate. Particularly if you too emerged into the world not believing there was anything good enough in you to be a World Changer.
If I were sitting with you at this moment, I would lean toward you and take your hand. I would look you right in the eye and say, “I am so sorry that no one saw what was inside of you; that spoke those false words over you. You are enough! You are so much more than good enough! Believe in the goodness that’s in you. Believe in the World Changer that is in you. And let’s go change the world together!”
No matter what your family has done wrong, or even what your family has done right. It is your heart that qualifies you for World Changing. Not your genetics or whether you have an excellent pedigree.
That deep longing in you to make a difference, that deep yearning in you to make the world a better place; that’s what qualifies you!
Myth 5: World Changers do not have a history of failure.
Thank God this is a myth! I have such a long history of failures that this blog would need to be hundreds of pages if I were to list them all.
When I was young, that the fact that I could say, “I have never been intoxicated, I have never taken an illegal drug, I have never smoked anything, and I’ve never been to jail” Would make me look like I have never failed. Although all of those things are true, I had to come to terms at some point with my many failures.
I didn’t want to acknowledge my failures because I thought doing so would disqualify me from most everything important to me. From being a good Christian, from being a good therapist, from being a good coach certification leader, from being a great friend, from being a great partner, from being a World Changer!
Since that time, I have learned that a failure is only a failure if you do not learn from it. I have failed thousands of times. And I have learned thousands of lessons. (For twelve hours, I failed to figure out a big component of a major project I am working on this weekend. I did figure it out,, and I have not yet discovered the lesson! LOL! But I will figure it out before the sun goes down!)
It does not matter to me what your failures are. Some may be quite minor, and some may have had major impacts on your life. Regardless of the size of it, own it. Begin to look for the lesson. Commit to not repeat the same mistakes. Get up! We’ve got a world to change!
One of the emails I received this week said, “I have failed at being the father I wanted to be. Money, alcohol, and sports became my God. Time slipped away, and they’re all gone now. They rarely reach out to me, and when they do, it’s normally because they want money. Everyone in my community knows I feel I failed as a father, so I guess I’ve missed out on being a World Changer. But thank you for writing about it.“
My response: “Thank you so much for your courage. To acknowledge you’re a failure as a father is tough. However, that failure in no way disqualifies you from being a World Changer. May I make a suggestion to you? Would you be willing to send a letter, handwritten, to each of your adult children, and tell them what you have shared with me? Tell them you made money, alcohol, and sports your God. Tell them how sad you are now that you have realized your failure, and ask for their forgiveness. Tell them that although you cannot go back and redo things, you are going to reach out to other fathers and help them have different priorities. What you have called your greatest failure can become your greatest gift of World Changing. Trust me there are other dads just like you, and they would respond so beautifully to the message of a father who has been in their shoes! Welcome to World Changing!“
Your failures, my friend, do not disqualify you! Make some steps to turn your failures around by learning rich lessons and speaking those lessons to others in the same situation. Turn your “mess“ into a “message“!
Perhaps you have other beliefs that are holding you back from World Changing. I believe that anything that is holding you back is a myth.
Don’t allow any “mess” to keep you from satisfying that deep longing inside you. That deep yearning to do something is in you because you are already qualified!
Don’t wait until you’re perfect; don’t even wait until you’re halfway perfect. You are enough! This very day! You can change someone’s world TODAY!
Because YOU, my friend, are a World Changer!