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Today I received a call from a precious nine-year old girl whom I have known all her life.  She asked me, “KK, do you think Jesus made a mistake when he made me?”

The question shook me so much I had to pull off 1-65, stop the car, and gather my thoughts before answering.  She continued, “Why would Jesus create me, if I wasn’t wanted?”

This sweet little girl was adopted shortly after birth by a friend of mine she now calls Daddy.  Her adoptive mom was also a dear friend who passed away from cancer, a disease that forced me to think a little harder about my own significance.  Maybe you can relate, as well.  This darling little girl was struggling with why she wasn’t special enough for her biological mom to keep her and she was given away at just a few days old.  Sigh….

Yes, just when we think we have life figured out, and think we are making some sort of difference in the world, we can get blindsided.  And like a bad day at the NASCAR track, each race car that represents a part of our life begins to crash into another and another, until there is a massive wreck and we’re left wondering where the steering wheel ended up.

I am realizing more and more that those crash moments, where I’ve questioned my own significance, have really been blessings. They have allowed me to be led down a different track to new places while meeting fascinating people who have blessed me immensely, changed my heart, and ultimately changed my life.  These folks in my new path have taught me about the depth of life and how to create significance in my own journey.

Living a life of significance can mean different things to different people.  But, while it can be different, it still serves the same purpose of impacting other people’s lives positively.  Just this past weekend, my Sunday School class honored our teachers, Mike and Kathie, for 25 years of service. In his gracious speech, Mike never talked about what he has done for us, but about what the class has done for him.  It was a two-minute lesson of humility and love.  Mike is very well-respected in the banking industry, but every Sunday it was crystal clear where his significance truly shined.

Recently I ran across a website where John Maxwell was interviewed about his latest book on living life with significance.  His goal was to help people experience a life of significance through intentional living, consciously making a difference in the lives of others.

Maxwell said living this life starts with putting other people first, followed by regularly adding value to their lives. This line greatly impacted me.  Maxwell went on to explain this is best achieved by tapping into our greatest talents and gifts, along with our own “why” – our purpose here on earth.   He closed by saying “intentional living is the bridge to a life of significance because it puts intentions into action. The thing about intentionality is that it has the goals and vision on the front end, but it also has follow-through on the back end. Too many people wait to do anything because they want to do something that feels significant on the front end.”

In this incredibly jumbled world we live in, there are strong and wise members who think about intentional living and do it for no other reason than to make an impact on other people’s lives.  Maxwell stated intentional living is about taking whatever action you can today, and doing it day after day to right wrongs, find ways for improvement, and positively impact others who are struggling with the question of their own significance.

I chatted at length with the sweet little 9-year old.  I explained how her daddy “intentionally chose” her from all the other little girls in the world because he knew she was special.  He was sure she would grow up to be a remarkable young lady and to love others as much as her daddy and brothers loved her.

As I told her she was a special gift to her family, streams of tears poured down my face.  In her innocence, she was looking for significance in life, just like we do.  Just like I struggle with.  And as others have helped me to find my own significance, I sat at Walgreens on Old Hickory Blvd trying my flawed but favored best to help this little girl find hers.

Before we said goodbye, I asked her to do something.  I asked her to write her Daddy a letter thanking him for choosing her. As Maxwell says, we should be intentional in our doing. I told her I thought she should write a letter to tell him why his daily love makes her feel special and how she wants to give back one day to another little girl who might be asking the same questions she’s asking me.

She said, “Do you think my Daddy will like that?”  Trying not to drown in my own sobs, I said, “No, sweetie, he will LOVE it.”  She paused for a few seconds and said, “You know what? I bet he’ll write me a letter back.”

You know what, Bella Grace?  I bet he will too.

As we all struggle through life to find its true meaning, may we all realize our blessings, even when they are masked as painful thoughts, hardship and heartbreak.  They will help each of us to be ready for intentionality, especially when that question arrives from an unexpected source.  Our life lessons will help us to serve our fellow human beings, and pass on the valuable gift of intentionality to all we come in contact with in our journey to significance.

Thank you for my blessings of hardships, heartaches, Sunday School lessons, inspirational authors, beautiful friends, and a special question from a special little girl. The route of intentionality is a rewarding trip for us all.

And maybe, just maybe we can all find that missing steering wheel.

 

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Karen Shayne is the Founder of the Women Survivors Alliance and Principal Partner of New Focus Network, a media company producing lifestyle and positive content across multiple platforms for broadcast, cable, digital and its own SVOD. Karen is a regular contributor to the magazine through her blog and her show "Living Inspired" on NFN.