One thing I have appreciated over the years about LIFE Leadership is the culture of acceptance and encouragement while pushing individuals to reach their created potential. Michelle and I had a unique experience the other night I wanted to share with you.
Do not let your adorning be external – the braiding of hair and the putting on of gold jewelry, or the clothing you wear – but let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God’s sight is very precious. 1 Peter 3:3-4
Her name is Lily and I met her for the first time while sitting in the bleachers at a high school talent contest. As the emcee introduced her to the stage, I couldn’t help but recognize the unusual explosion of applause from the student body. What was so special about Lily? She didn’t look any different from the other girls. She sang “The Call” by Regina Spektor and mesmerized us with her beautiful voice. I could tell the song had meaning to her as she sang from her heart. Interestingly, when she finished, almost her entire class erupted with a standing ovation! When the contest was over, Lily won the talent show competition by a landslide against other amazing performances.
I learned later that Lily transferred from another high school for “social” reasons. Probably bullying or insensitive comments or…you know, the typical immature behaviors that come from boys and girls going through pubescent hormone changes and awful social programming from current influences like gaming, Internet, TV, etc..
What brought a tear to my eye was the massive encouragement that came from the student body. It reminded me of the power of being around a group of encouraging and uplifting people. Lily is wonderfully and beautifully made as a creation from God. On that stage, Lily and her vocal talent was lifted to the heavens by her peers and friends. It was a memory I’m sure she’ll cherish forever and one that I hope not to soon forget.
Ninety percent of the world’s woe comes from people not knowing themselves, their abilities, their frailties, and even their real virtues. Most of us go almost all the way through life as complete strangers to ourselves – so how can we know anyone else?– Sidney J. Harris – from Confidence of a Champion by Tim Marks
It made me ponder why there is so much depression and social isolation today, not just among adolescents but adults as well. Could it be partly because of the lack of this type of empowering environment? Could it be partly because of the current technology that can create altered senses of reality? Gaming has created worlds of make-believe where players can re-create their body and personality. We can “Photoshop” pictures and watch “reality” programs that aren’t even close to being real. Our real beauty lies somewhere beneath all of this superficial stuff.
Watch this video!
How can anyone compete with that?!
What I love about LIFE leadership is we are forming adult communities all over the world that continue to provide the kind of encouragement that I witnessed last night with Lily. Just like those highschoolers, we are learning how to accept and love people unconditionally, ignore social labels, and empower and celebrate people as they develop the gifts that the Creator has given them. It is a new “third space” concept, a community where the “successful” and “unsuccessful” come together on equal terms. It is a place where nobodies can become some bodies, not because of how they look, act, or sing, but because a group of people reminds them of how God uniquely created them to love, live, learn and lead.
It’s time for a true transformation in your life. Join LIFE Leadership! Think of it as the best dermabrasion to discover and reveal the real you!
God speed on your journey!