By Nancy Virden (c)2020
2000 Americans were asked about their role models.* Statistically, the top ten most important influencers include parents (top two), teachers (three and five), and friends (nine and ten). I suspect these three groupings do not surprise you.
Also not shocking, but regrettable none the less, is the placement of celebrities at number four. In general, actors and athletes surpass historical figures, bosses, and pastors for their perceived intelligence, leadership skills, and confidence in their abilities.
Some of our most admired historical figures set out purposely to influence people with their ideals, choices, and behaviors. Bosses are in-charge likely because they too want to improve a company, grow the skills of employees, reach customers, and even leave their mark on cultural ideas. Most pastors want to do well by their flocks, encouraging, teaching, challenging, and affecting culture.
What celebrities can rarely offer is the answer to the true meaning of life. It is not found in loads of cash, giant homes, fame, or million-dollar shoes. During this pandemic, it has become clear the answers are not in temporary things. Much of what we thought we had has gone away and we are learning to appreciate what matters.
To followers of Jesus Christ in ancient Colossae, Paul the apostle wrote, “Think about the things of heaven, not the things of earth. For you died to this life, and your real life is hidden with Christ in God. And when Christ, who is your life, is revealed to the whole world, you will share in all his glory…
“Let the message about Christ, in all its richness, fill your lives. Teach and counsel each other with all the wisdom he gives… (Colossians 3:2-4, 16,underlining mine)
And God’s wisdom is? “Since God in his wisdom saw to it that the world would never know him through human wisdom, he has used our foolish preaching to save those who believe… But to those called by God to salvation… Christ is the power of God and the wisdom of God.” (1 Corinthians 1:21,24)
I want our role models to be servants, people who fill their lives with Christ. As they become more like him (we become like our role models), they will use their blessings to help the poor.
We can choose who to emulate. Would we rather be like the one watching contractors add wings to his house, or the one who spends his life building homes for the disadvantaged? Do we admire the owner of a Lamborghini who can drive by the problems of the world, or the woman who gives rides to seniors and people with disabilities? Extravagant spending on pets and entertainment is obscene in the face of hungry and homeless families. Will we choose to emulate the person who pampers a dog and complains when children step on the grass?
We have a choice. The most admirable people are those who give of themselves. I am not talking about losing one’s identity and believing your worth is in good deeds. No. Nonetheless, giving from the heart is a powerful tool for gaining and maintaining mental health. The Lord Jesus himself said: ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’ (Acts 20:35 niv)
Today’s Helpful Word
Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.”
Always the Fight Ministries (ATFM) has been displaying compassion for those fighting mental illness, addiction, or abuse since 2012. Nancy is the founder and voice of ATFM and openly shares her emotional resurrection from despair.
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NOTE: I am not a doctor or a mental health professional, and speak only from personal experiences and observations. In no way is this website intended to substitute for professional mental or behavioral health care.
If you are feeling suicidal, or concerned about someone who is, in the U.S. call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-TALK (8255), or for a list of international suicide hotlines, go here.
If you are suicidal with a plan, immediately call 911 in the U.S. or go to your nearest emergency room. In the EU call 112. (For other international emergency numbers, go here ). Hope and help are yours!
Unless otherwise indicated, Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright (c) 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used
*These are the top 10 people Americans choose to be a role model by Marie Haaland, SWNS. From November 6, 2019, retrieved August 15, 2020 from https://nypost.com/2019/11/06/these-are-the-top-10-people-americans-choose-to-be-a-role-model/