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Honesty Hour Vol. 1: how do I make my world better?


photo cred.

 

First off, oh. my. goodness…

All I have wanted to do in the last two months is get back to blogging. I’ve missed this space!

I tried several times to write something while on my book deadline but my brain just wasn’t having it. I’m learning to give myself grace in the book writing process.

But I’ve officially finished draft 1 of the book and I am so stinking excited to be back here with you. I’ve been brainstorming and coming up with new content and I really cannot wait to grow this blog and strengthen what is already here.

So, in the spirit of that, we are starting a new series! This series is meant to be interactive and a chance for readers like you to connect with one another in the comment section. I find there are a lot of big, scary issues out there (and some light and funny ones, as well) that you guys email me about and ask me to tackle. Truth is, I cannot tackle them alone. I need your help, your experiences, your insight and your advice!

We are officially naming this new series: Honesty Hour.

For those of you who have been around here for a while or a regular reader of the Monday Morning Email, then you know the origins of Honesty Hour. It’s a term I came up with on my first date with Lane. I was sick of playing games. I was sick of all the “light get-to-know-you banter” that happens on a first date. I wanted to get right to the point and figure it out: are we in this or not?

I found myself saying out loud to him throughout the date, “This is an honesty hour.”

“Honesty hour?” he asked me.

“Yes, honesty hour. In honesty hour you get to say whatever you want.”

“Okay,” he answered with a nod. “Honesty hour. Let’s go.”

And so, for the rest of that date, we stayed within honesty hour and it was refreshing and like breath to the parts of me that always feel the need to be polished and insightful. When we said risky things, we could preface with, “After all, this is honesty hour.” And there was no judgment or worry sitting between us. It felt really good. It felt really safe. It felt like we were handing one another permission slips: permission to be in process.

So how does an Honesty Hour like this happen on the blog?

Every other week, we will post a new question/topic. Then it’s your chance to weigh in and give your feedback. Our hope is that we will learn from one another, inspire each other, and push one another to be stronger. I want to talk about all sorts of stuff: life, relationships, food, TV shows, culture, all of it. Sound good? 

So, without further, ado…. let’s have our first Honesty Hour.

Honesty Hour Vol. 1 


How do you make your world a better place?


I had a different topic in mind entirely this afternoon but I’ve been particularly impacted by the Manchester Bombing news. There are no real answers when it comes to a tragedy like this one and it is hard to stay hopeful as you watch the news some nights. Sometimes it feels like this world is so dark and like, no matter what we do, we cannot possibly make a difference. I want to be strong though, strong and hopeful even in the midst of some scary chaos.

So I want to hear from you guys: what do you do to make your world a better place?

Let’s talk concrete actions: do you reach out to friends? Do you write letters? Do you volunteer? If so, where? Do you pray? Do you read certain things? Let’s band together and share our best ideas and resources on how to impact our world in a positive way. 

Also, include your name, age, and where you are writing from! It always helps to know where you are in the world. 

I realize no amount of talking can take the pain out of these tragedies but I also don’t want to be afraid to use our voices when we feel defeated, tired, or fearful.

Meet me in the comments section below.

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119 thoughts on “Honesty Hour Vol. 1: how do I make my world better?

  1. Amy says:

    Honesty Hour Vol. 1:
    I volunteer at my church. I play guitar for worship, and I teach Jr Church once per month. My husband volunteers to clean the church and mow the lawn as well. My hope is to teach future generations about Jesus, so they may pass it on to others. We need more Jesus on this Earth! That will make the world a MUCH better place.

  2. Sammie says:

    Heyhihello, Hannah & other lovely humans!

    Sammie, 23, from Ann Arbor! I try to make the world a better place by purchasing locally sourced foods, writing letters and making phone calls to friends around the globe, and loving the people I choose to be around. I find movement to be powerful for me, and I think taking the time to wiggle, giggle, & jiggle makes me happier. In turn, I believe my presence then leaves the spaces I enter a little bit goofier and a whole smidge brighter!

    Honesty = Nourishment: necessary for growth, health, and good condition. 🙂

    Keep vibin’ bebes!
    Sammie

  3. Sarah writing from Little Rock AR 32 says:

    I volunteer. I find most times the people I volunteer with and for fill my cup more than I came to fill theirs. I give hugs and look people in the eye, so often that is overlooked.

  4. Margaret says:

    I try to make eye contact and smile at people. I pray for others, I pray for myself to become a better person and since I am better off financially than before, I donate money. Boy I am doing my part.

  5. I look for ways to create silliness. Sometimes it’s a Shrek marathon while water coloring, or coffee drinking dance parties to early 2000s hits, or telling dad jokes with a group of 8th graders. Silliness doesn’t devalue serious life moments but they remind us to be a little more human and to express emotions. Silliness creates laughter you can’t ignore.

    But recently I find the most comforting phrase in these hard moments is, “Your feelings and emotions are valid.” We have to be encouraging and build each other up but it is so important to allow emotions to be felt and allow them the time and space. Validating each other’s worries is a great way to be present and kind.

    -Katie Ann, 22, Austin, TX

    • Girl. I hear you! I feel like I can relate on such a real level haha. I volunteer at a community Christian school, and I also love Shrek. Also, the first time I heard the phrase “Your feelings and emotions are valid”, I was sitting in my guidance counsellors office, a little over a year ago, bawling my eyes out. Those words left me breathless for a moment. I’ll never forget that.
      I love laughing. I’ve been making this list the past few weeks called “my alive list” and I add to it everyday. It’s all the things that make me feel alive and over 95% of them are about the things in my life that make me laugh out loud. That’s so important. Thanks for sharing a corner of your heart here!
      – Abby, 17, NB Canada

    • Hannah M says:

      Laughter and silliness are the best!! I love that too. Sometimes we adults need to play, its a good reminder that life can be simple and fun sometimes too.

    • Darian says:

      Yes to more silliness and laughter. We all could use a lot more of that in our lives. And I know I personally need to do better when it comes to dealing with emotions and allowing myself to feel them and process them. Thanks Katie!

  6. Caroline says:

    I’m an introvert and I feel like my answer might be a little lame, but I don’t really put myself out there. I’m about to be a dietitian (just have to take that credentialing exam) and I’d like to think I help improve lives by teaching others about the power that food has to better our health. I don’t go in for the ‘only organic, vegan food for everybody’ thing – that doesn’t actually work for everybody. Or every body. I want to meet you where you are now and help you become your best self. That sounds like such a sales pitch, but there you have it. That’s how I want to improve the world, by improving our health. It’s hard to be happy if you’re sick all the time.

    I’m Caroline, turning 32 this Sunday, and while I was born and raised in Atlanta, I move to Fort Collins, Colorado for grad school. I was convinced that it was time for me to move home after graduation but it seems that His plan is for me to stay and get cozy for a little while longer.

  7. Carla says:

    I seek to be an encourager and a hopelifter so I enjoy writing notes of encouragement to others, either to let them know how they’ve impacted my life or just to let them know I’m praying for them during a difficult time.

  8. Hi there!

    I’m Meaghan, 21, from Louisiana! I love the first comment on listening. I try and make that a priority, and it’s something I think the world always needs more of. It goes hand in hand with investing in people… I know it’s really impacted me when someone has taken time to get to know me, and stuck with me even when life gets hard and messy. Speaking words of affirmation and being intentional in making time for someone is refreshing and makes people feel loved and valued.

  9. Hiyya! I think a big thing is gratitude. I try to be present and cherish the people in my life and let them know what they mean to me. I’ve also recently started calligraphying and I want to encourage others with the words I calligraphy to remind people that there is beauty even in pain.

    Carissa, 22, Dallas TX

    • Darian says:

      I love how gratitude allows to focus on what we do have and less on what we don’t have which allows us to give more and back to others and community around us. And I love how your using what you love to encourage the people around you. I wish I was good at calligraphy.

  10. My name is Anna. I’m 25 and I live in Wisconsin.

    My One Little Word for this year is “Care.” I’ve been trying to apply it in two different ways—in one sense, to care for myself and to allow myself grace when I get to nothing spectrum of my ‘all or nothing’ attitude. In another sense, I am trying to care for my people as well, whether it’s sending them a card on their birthday to let them know I am thinking of them, or just sending them an, “I’m SO proud of you!” message when they reach one of their goals or face one of their fears. I’m trying to more actively be there for my tribe, even if I don’t see them everyday.

  11. I’m Hannah, 25, from North Carolina! I just graduated with a counseling degree, so I will be helping people for my career, but I’m also learning that even in my relationships with family and friends, one of the best things I can do is actually take care of myself and that gives me SO much more capacity to love, honor, and serve others well. Honor is something I think our culture needs more of! Respect is earned, but honor is given. Love what you’re doing, HB!

  12. Tiffany Brown says:

    How do “I” make the world a better place? A question I ponder quite often sometimes on a daily basis! Some days it prayer while drinking coffee with deep worship playing. Others it is resting within my safe places so that I am not the bitterness that wants to consume me when I try to relate to others. Most days I often find that people just need the same compassion that I do. & to be loved. So to LOVE and BE LOVED is how I mostly find that I am changing the world. To look at the vastness of creation and the creator in every aspect of my day to day! Hannah, I sure do love your approach to life and your transparency about it!

  13. Susan Gilliland says:

    I have been involved in prison ministry for 40 years, with women and juveniles. The past several months I have invited my daughter and grandchildren for lunch one Sunday a month. I love getting together with my friends for coffee or a meal. For the first time ever, I planted a flower garden in my yard. I’ve been writing letters for more love letters.com since October. Then I started writing letters to friends that I’ve had little contact with over the years. I’m always ready for Hannah to post her new group of letter request. Susan Gilliland, Topeka, KS, 75 years old

      • kescarry says:

        HB. I am headed to Atlanta in the fall for seminary and looking at doing some work in Prison Ministry as my internship my first year- I can pass information along as I get it!

  14. I’m Amanda from South Carolina and I’m 24 years old. I’m also a writer, so I try to write things that are real and honest to relate to people because I think social media is full enough of people pretending to be something they’re not so I try to make my words a safe space. I also try to be a safe space to the people who know me where they know they can talk to me about anything. And then I listen to opinions outside my comfort zone and listen to understand rather than to respond. It gets really hard, but I think we need more listeners than talkers sometimes.

  15. Lori says:

    I try to be Christ-like in all of my day to day actions.. Even on the days that I sure as heck don’t want to! I try to simplify it as much as possible, with something as easy as smiling at a stranger or lifting up another woman in the grocery store by saying her shoes look nice. Being a listening ear to others is sometimes the best thing you can do for someone. As a talker, myself, I pray every day for God to give me the patience to listen before acting/speaking. I like to pick out one person a day that I don’t know in a crowd and pray for them. I may not know their story, but I can pray that God will work in their life where it is most needed.

  16. Natalie says:

    Beautiful Friends,

    I help serve my community by helping Momma’s in poverty care for their children as a nurse through Oregon’s Nurse Family Partnership program. We love on single Mom’s and their children by educating and giving them the resources they need to thrive. Through this I’ve learned to talk to God through out my day, praying for these families as I enter their homes. There are so many opportunities to love the people in your own back yard. A smile, a laugh, and a word of encouragement go a long way.

    – Natalie (23)

  17. Tamara says:

    Hey,
    I am Tamara (25 from Germany) and I am a social worker. My Profession is to make this world better and I try it everyday by being a researcher in fields that often get ignored and listen to people Who often get not reckognized. Also in my private life I love writing Letters for friends and Strangers and make Random acts of kindness for others.

  18. Meghan Roney says:

    I spend a lot of my time volunteering and coaching kids (I don’t have kids btw), because I think providing happy, quality porting experiences for children is important to their development.

    I call and reach out to my friends, and people I see who are struggling or showing different behaviours.

    I hold doors open for people, say my please and thank yous, and hope others do the same!

    Writing from Windsor, ON, 27 years old!

  19. thesimplicityoflove says:

    I adopted three precious girls who are orphaned and are now my beloved daughters.

    I’m Gabi and live in Uganda, Africa(although currently in England to give birth to our first babe later this year.)

  20. Empathy. A whole ot of empathy. Especially for friends struggling with depression and anxiety. I know where they’ve been, and being there for them, even if I don’t always directly speak to what they’re going through, feels like I’m leaving a thumbprint on the world, no matter how small.

    — Emily, 20, ATL

  21. BG says:

    I think one of the best ways to make the world better is to be the best you can be yourself. Learn to appreciate diversity in everything, be a caring human being to you and others. Love starts at home with yourself, then to others, so be a loving kind person who does not hurt others, play nice, life is short learn to be happy.

  22. Hi, I’m Olivia. I’m 18 years old and my family and I travel the US full time. I’m actually from Athens, GA though. Even before I found MLL, I left notes everywhere. Whenever I’d stay with someone, I’d leave a thank you note. If I was digging through someones shed looking for treasures, I’d leave a funny little note with the date on it and hope someone would find it years later and be like, “Wow, this has been here that long!” The excitement of leaving something for someone else to find is so fun, but when you here back from them it’s even better.

  23. Chels says:

    I write to my children. After all, they are the future of my world and I hope by writing letters to them about how there is always light to be found in the dark places, they will never stop looking for it even after I am long gone. It is something so simple, but it gives me peace of mind.

    ❤ Chels from Dallas, TX

  24. I improvise everyday. Leave early to school. Be on time. Make others smile. Do my best in studies so I can help those who couldn’t. Appreciate my parents. Ensure that I finish my meal completely. Read motivation books. Recite prayers and motivations for others. Respond to texts and messages as quick as I can.

    When everyone improvises themselves, the world will automatically be a better place.

    • Intentionality is such a huge foundational block this world needs in order to function. Thank you for seeking it out, for seeking the best in yourself, and for seeking the best in others!

  25. Lauren says:

    Hello!

    My name is Lauren, 22, from St. Louis, MO.
    Particularly when tragedy strikes, I delve deeper into both the Bible and myself. I’ve found my passion to be in overall health: mentally, physically, and spiritually.
    In diving deeper into myself, I yearn to learn more about others and assist them.
    I am an instructor in TaeKwonDo. I am in the process of getting a charity off it’s feet for underprivileged individuals wanting to get involved in athletics. Additionally, I work at a pediatric hospital in the pharmacy department (I’m a pharmacy student) and I get the privilege of making/delivering medications to these ill patients.
    TLDR: I try to make the world a better place by displaying joy, love, and light in all that I do (of course this isn’t without fault though).

    Much love and prayers to you all! I really enjoyed reading the previous, and such diverse, comments.

  26. I’m Amanda, 24 and currently living in Costa Mesa, CA.
    The only way I know how to make the world a better place is by loving the people around me. My friends are the most important things to me and I love them fiercely. Loyalty, patience and a smile can go a long way. Not just to friends and family but to the people who inhabit your same space outside your comfort zone. Acknowledging the people asking for money outside the grocery store or sitting on the sidewalk with a cart of all their belongings. These people are not invisible and treating them like they are makes the world a worse place, not better.
    Showing people that they matter is something I try to do whenever the opportunity arises.

  27. Claire says:

    I try to talk to people I interact with- like the person who checks me out at a grocery store or restaurant… I have been surprised how peoples face light up when you ask them how their day is going or when their shift is over… just simple questions that people feel like you care!

    • Sometimes I get home from a day being out and I realize I don’t remember the cashiers face or who helped me put my cart back. It’s easy to get into the habit of not acknowleding people we pass in everyday life but it makes such a diffference when you do! I will try for more of this!

    • This is a great idea! I had a worker at subway say to me once “it’s nice to see someone smiling, no one ever smiles at me.” No joke! I thought people would be happy getting subs! Keep up the good work

  28. Elissa Raatz says:

    I love to laugh. I love to pray for people. Not just “I’ll be praying for you.” But “Can I pray for you right here, right now?”

    Elissa, 21 years old, living in Springfield, MO

  29. Melissa Boles says:

    I talk openly about living with ADHD and Depression. I invest in the mental health community and the queer community in my hometown. I do work in politics to help people who align with my values get elected.

    Melissa, 29, living in Vancouver, WA.

  30. I am a children’s minister and I believe it is important to be kind to everyone. That includes your enemies. So when someone is mean to me I try saying something nice back and smile.

    Megan – 25- Florida

  31. Hi, I’m Laura, 31 and from Scotland.

    I donate to various charities and those raising money for charities, where and when I can. I wish I could afford to do more.

    I listen to those needing a shoulder or just a friendly face. I give advice to those who want it, and do my utmost to never judge.

    I raise my child to be happy and kind. I will raise her to be non judgemental and accepting of all as well as caring and friendly.

    I smile at strangers and say hello. I always ask how people are, not out of habit or politeness, but out of real interest/concern, so they know someone cares.

  32. Sarah-23-Iowa
    I am a mom of three young ones and think daily how to raise kids who love Christ. What I have learned through life and what I think can make the world better is putting others before yourself. I know this is not a very popular idea right now but this is what Jesus did through and through.

  33. Hiya!
    I’m 23 and from the ATL, but currently living in Glasgow, Scotland. It’s taken me time to learn to culture to learn how to make this world i’m living in a better place. Now that i’ve been here 8 months, i’m learning to make eye contact and smile. The area of Glasgow I live in is spiritually dark and lonely, so smiles go a long way in the lives of some people.

    I’m doing ministry, so there’s lots of pouring out. Thursdays have become “my day” of sorts. I go to my favorite coffee shop (or a park when it’s sunny) and journal for hours. That’s what has been making my world go the past 8 months.

  34. sarahpeden says:

    heyhey! I’m Sarah, 26 and 1/12, writing from Jackson, West Tennessee

    For me this answer is two-fold – In my personal life I focus on my immediate sphere of influence — the people I live with. Honesty and transparency is something we look for in things as big as our government and corporations, and as small as our relationships, but we can’t expect that to happen if we don’t practice honesty and transparency ourselves… It’s been difficult, but admitting when I’ve made a mistake, and apologizing… and even speaking up when I need help (as opposed to playing a martyr and being passive-aggressive) has gone a long way to making my immediate world a better place.

    But also, I’m a children’s librarian by vocation. Every day I put ideas in the hands of children in the form of books. They say that today’s readers are tomorrow’s leaders… and if I can influence tomorrow’s leaders to be kind and just and empathetic by giving them Harry Potter and Matilda and Charlotte’s Web today, then by glob, I’ll have done something with my life.

    • Lipstick & Gelato says:

      Thank you, Sarah! I have worked for the last 3 !/2 years as a (nearly full-time) nanny and homeschool teacher and our local library is the source of SO many of the memories we have made and growth we’ve had. Also, suffering through terrible children’s books in our daily 2+ hours of reading time has caused me to be SO grateful for the sweet librarians who can tell a good book from a waste of time!

      • sarah peden says:

        Aww! Thank you! — and for the record, my homeschool crews are my favorite to work with, as they don’t have all the hang-ups that the public schools (in my area at least) have when it comes to reading (Seriously… don’t tell a kid not to read outside their level!) so, more likely than not, you probably are a joy to your librarians as well!

  35. andihopethisfindsyouwell says:

    How do I make the world a better place? I connect and I linger. I search out ways to meet people where they are, take the time to learn their stories, and stay a little longer – share a little more. Sometimes it isn’t enough to impact change, sometimes it’s just the right thing to do. Stay a little longer friends, just be present with each other. I’m intentional with my time, treasure, and talent – supporting causes I really believe in like mental health care reform, women’s rights, and freedom of information.

    Brandi
    32, Wisconsin

  36. Lipstick & Gelato says:

    My name is Rachel, and I’m nearly 25. In an identity statement I wrote for myself some years ago, I stated my intent and heart to be “a joyful refresher of souls.” I try every day to spread beauty, whether it is through smiling at strangers, leaving little notes, being the first to reach out through text or an invitation to coffee, or more concrete things like creating whimsical illustrations, or making the food I serve to my family and friends as beautiful as it can possible be. I find that the act of hospitality and opening my home to friends and strangers alike is a beautiful and vulnerable way to combat the darkness…when I am able to let precious souls sit at my table and belong a while…I feel as if we all get, in that moment, the proper sense of how *alike* we are. And when differences stop howling so keenly, we can suddenly see each other with love. I know it has changed me, breaking bread with people who were once just another face in a crowd. ❤ Thanks for this honesty hour, HB! I'll definitely be carting away some of these beautiful ideas.

  37. madelyn says:

    Ah I love this series!!
    I definitely want to start making handwritten letters and sending them out to friends and family as a nice little surprise, especially in the fall when I’m away at school. I feel like everyone is so into texting/social media as a means of communication that the whole idea of hand writing snail mail gets lost. However i know i personally would love that little surprise note in the mail:)

  38. Caroline says:

    With caution I say this… “Stop people pleasing”. This is not a do what ever you want and say whatever you want and be mean all in the name of honesty but to truly let Iron sharpen Iron.
    I had a friend tell me yesterday that I was hard to talk to lately because I was not staying on-topic. I was shocked and almost offended but then remembered that I knew the heart of my best friend and I pondered her statement.
    I fear seeming spacey and stupid and I realized that my fast paced computer centered job makes me prone to ADD like brain patterns.
    When I thought about what my friend said, I was so thankful that she pointed out my erratic communication and I have changed my work habits to move away from the screen for long periods of time.

    We can grow and sharpen if we listen to voices that we love and TRUST!

    • I think the best people help us change with truth! You are lucky to have a friend who can be loving when she addresses you!

  39. I think sometimes it’s the simplest things that can make a day better. Telling someone they’re important or even just saying good morning can make all the difference in a person’s life.
    I love sending and receiving hand written letters so I really try to make an effort to do that every few months to people who may not be expecting it.
    I believe pray is something absolutely essential in my life but I struggle to make regular time for it. Having a group of people where I can at least talk about God and the impact faith has on my life is definitely a start to that effort that I began doing a few weeks ago.
    I love sharing blogs and random memes or photos on pinterest that I find inspiring too.

    • Just read a line in my studying today: prayer should be continual, not casual. Hope it encourages you to take it to the next level!

  40. Hiya! My name is Shannon, I’m 19 (almost 20!) and I live in Boston, MA. I’m a huge advocate for letter writing to both friends and strangers. I also try my best to call people by their name. It seems small, but it makes a world of a difference. Whether they are the barista at Starbucks, the mail man or local librarian, everyone has a name and deserves to be known and lovedN

  41. Hi there. I am Amber, 24, currently living in the Dominican Republic. Post graduation I dismissed corporate by the Spirits leading and have been walking by faith in the mission field for the last 6 months. These last 6 months have challenged me to be intentional and nurture my Garden – my relationship with Christ, my family, the friends that have stayed while I have been in the field, my blog, my book that I am currently writing (boy that is a whole other process), how I care for my body, and just being all around mindful of what I allow to take root in my life. When I write, it tends to be an outpouring of all of the above and I am constantly challenged through it. Over all, you can say I make my world a better place by being intentional about my life, daily.

    P.S. Forgive my lengthy response. I have had writers block and your email just pushed me! 🙂

  42. Jennie Shin says:

    I try to stand my ground– being a switzerland when there are so many sides to take.

    I think some of the hardest but rewarding things I’ve found are to be true to who I am and what I believe in, all the while being kind and courteous to those around me.

    I also believe in self care since I can’t seem to love others fully without loving myself first.

    I’m Jennie. I’m 24 years old and I live near the Washington, DC metropolitan area as a first grade teacher– oh yeah– I also give them lots of hugs to make them feel good.

  43. I create theatre. I write about experiences of mine that I think can help others. And, I just so happen to be producing a benefit concert for the families of the Manchester Arena victims.

    ~ Megan, NY

  44. Hey there!

    I do what I can to be there and support my friends. Just being there, respecting their love language (ex. I’m all about quality time, but my roommate isn’t, so when she’s upset, I make sure to give her her space), and letting them know that I want to be a resource if they ever need anything.

    I’m Lydia – 21 years old and from north Georgia originally (but spending the summer in D.C. with a historic preservation internship!)

  45. My name is Molly! I’m 22 and from Fort Myers, Florida. I write snail mail to family and friends – letters of encouragement and thank-you notes. When people know you’re thinking about them and took time out to write a hand written letter, it makes them feel valued. That’s important to me.

    I also try to be very loyal to the people around me. I stick to plans I make and I stick by the sides of my friends. There are enough flaky people in the world.

  46. Darian says:

    Hey y’all hey! I’m Darian from Ohio and I am 22 years old. To be honest I thought I had to do this grand thing to make the world a better place and I’ve spent years trying to figure that one thing out but realized there are many beautiful things God calls me to do daily to make the world around better like starting a dance a class for youth and getting to help the girls in my community develop self esteem, volunteering with the local campus
    ministry and getting to meet and connect with college students who do and don’t know Jesus, getting on Instagram and encouraging my friends, going back to school to get my teacher’s license and sometimes it’s just me getting on my knees and calling on Jesus!

  47. I make art. There’s something about the process that creates richness in my own world, while creating a space for conversation and processing between others. It brings a universality and context to so much. Making art also means saying ‘yes’. To make art, you must say yes to all of the joy and grace in this world, but also to the hurt and the brokenness. It’s listening, but it’s also hearing. It’s taking in, but it’s also taking action. I like to think that art – no matter the medium – makes a difference.

    I’m Arielle, 22 years old, from Virginia Beach, Virginia.

    • Everything’s a work in progress, we all don’t get it right then and there. Doing different things and figuring out what works for you is the whole beauty of the experience, bc whts works for you may not be wht works for someone else:) try collecting some ideas from the comment section and trying them out, seeing how you feel after doing them, i hope ive helped a bit:)

  48. I smile, make eye contact, and seek out conversations with everyone around me. For every one thing one social media that angers me or stresses me out, I dole out 5 kind (& sincere) comments or messages. I actively seek out ways to listen to and show up for the ones that I love, no matter how I feel. I’ve lived with PTSD, Depression, and Anxiety since I was a young girl and I only ever how to interact with the world as a victim, as less than, dirty, unworthy. I’m 27 years old and I am just now for the first time able to truly extend love to myself and list my strengths, instead of my weaknesses. I have God to thank for it all though. You can’t pour out from an empty cup, and man, did I spend my life parched. But once I began to pray to see the world, others and myself through His eyes, I realized that the more I gave love away, the more I had to give. I’m still learning though and I’m so grateful for this space that you’ve carved here for us. ❤️

    -Shelley Armenta, 27, Tustin, CA

  49. Hey all!
    I’ve loved reading everyone’s responses. There are some really wonderful ideas that I hope to start using for myself.

    For me, I just try to connect with people on a genuine level. When I am at work and I ask people how they are doing, if I get that “I’m fine” answer, I always combat it with, “how is your heart?”. I’ve gotten some pretty startled looks at first but then the gates open and I get the real responses. I’m in the military so it’s really unusual for any of us to stop and really think about how we are feeling on every given day and I’ve noticed that creating a safe space, even if it’s just for a moment, can make the biggest difference.

    Cheers,
    Ash, 29, Denver (soon to be Australia)

    • That is a bold question since not a lot of people like opening up, but i find that if you’re close enough or relatable in any way. You can make someone’s day a tad bit better:)

      • I agree. And I think in this day and age, if people can trust that they can tell you something and it doesn’t end up on their facebook page, they are more willing to be open. I’ve been at my job for 3 years now and so my reputation as well as my relationships with my coworkers has been built and is withstanding. Making the effort for people pays off way more than it burns bridges in my opinion. Everyone is worth a shot!

  50. My concrete actions for making the world a better place:

    1. Being kind wherever possible
    2. Moving forward with my art and what my creativity calls me to do
    3. Giving myself and others the grace of forgiveness
    4. Saturating my speech with love and understanding and light

    – Esha, 19, India

  51. Mallory says:

    What come’s to mind is that verse in Ecclesiastes 11. “Cast thy bread upon the waters”. Casting is directional and intentional, and bread is life sustaining. This is not something that I’m especially good at . . . but I’m working on it. What makes my little corner of the world a better place, are those who have consciously cared for, supported, and loved me . . . I’m learning how to do the same.

    -Mallory, 24
    Salt Lake City, Ut

  52. I write, Hannah. I write the prayers down. I prepare articles and get them published. I read to know what is happening, to know what we’ve lost, what we’ve saved and what we’re fighting for in the midst of the chaos. I don’t know what’s more stronger than words which keep us together, string hope back together into our hearts and make us believe over and over and over again that healing comes. And it leaves us all changed.
    I can’t be more thankful for this Blog post. We missed you terribly!
    Tryphena, 21 . Ghana .

  53. Hi! I’m Timia, I am 22 and I live in Fort Collins Colorado 🙂 I feel that one of the biggest ways to impact people and this world is to simply be yourself and treat every person you meet with kindness and joy. When you focus on others and ask God how he feels about them it never fails to make an impact. I try to remind myself that Gods heart beats for people and so we should prioritize them above the little mundane things that don’t matter. Smile at people, love on them and try and leave every person a little happier then before they saw you. You have to remember that sometimes the most profound impacts aren’t the ones that make it big or go noticed, but the small interactions where you lift a heart that’s been depressed or speak life into somebody’s hopeless situation. You never know what your one smile, handwritten letter or even just your true genuineness will do to impact the world you live in.

  54. Hannah Kolkmeier says:

    I really want to be better at inviting people over, into my space and home. I live in a dorm on a college campus, and it can be really hard to feel welcoming when the space you are living in is small and doesn’t really belong to you. I feel like the best way to impact people is by inviting them into your space no matter where it is. Every year new students arrive and every year many of those students will feel out of place and lonely. I want to work on inviting people in, feeding them, and loving them like Jesus does.

  55. Maria G says:

    I pray. I call family & friends. I smile to strangers at the grocery store. I read Esther 4:14 & Psalm 34.

    – Maria, 24, Orlando, FL

  56. Jenny says:

    I write letters. To my best friend. To my sister. To my friends. To the people on the prayer list at church. To stranger. I tell people what makes them unique and special and loved. I speak to the magic that only they carry. I think sometimes we get bogged down with the weight of everyday life and a little love and encouragement and magic goes a long way to make someone feel seen and loved. —Jenny from FL

  57. Mary says:

    I enjoyed skimming the comments and getting so many great ideas.
    I thank/pray for cops, pay for coffee for strangers, and try to always be grateful for those that serve me (bank teller, barista, mail clerk etc).
    I’m 21 and I’m writing from Mocksville NC.

  58. Marci says:

    “Radical Hospitality” is the heartbeat of the church I belong to, and it is how I try to interact with my little corner of the world, to make the world a better place! I am abundantly blessed through my church community – Old St. Patrick’s in Chicago – Fun Fact, it is the oldest public building in Chicago and survived the Great Chicago Fire. It’s a beautiful church in every way! I’m 39 years old and live in the suburbs of Chicago.

  59. I reach out to friends, I make an appointment to do coffee or breakfast, just to hear what’s on their heart. I give them quality time. I know that when I do that, God is going to use that time to bring comfort and hope to my friend, and somehow to me too.

  60. The Kate O says:

    I’m Kate, writing from Worcester and I love this question because post-election, everything feels ramped up, especially tragedies, and it’s exhausting. I often turn inwards and tend to my inner garden, so to speak. I go to therapy, if I need it, or ask my husband to help more because I know I need others to help me keep the edges from fraying. So much of the crappy part of life is because our inner hurts spill out and affect others, so it’s important to me to tend to my own anxiety and fear and anger, and once I have those things re-assessed and re-affirmed, I ask how I can help (whether that’s volunteering or visiting my parents more or writing to grandparents). Also, I read a lot of poetry and would recommend the On Being podcast and blog. Really puts me back into a *big picture* frame of mind. 🙂

  61. Gen says:

    Whenever I think of someone I send them a text. I’d like to let people know I’m thinking about them and that they matter.

  62. I’m Mandie. I live in South Texas. Even more South that you’re imagining. I’m 25 and a counselor and writer at heart. I read two different questions so here’s my answer to tragedy: I’m either really apathetic or trusting in God. I like to believe the latter, but, knowing me, it could go either way. My dad died two years ago and that has been the most tragic thing to happen to me, and I don’t feel any less whole. I’m glad he’s at peace. I’m glad he’s with the Lord. I miss him and all the obvious things, but I’m not broken. I think about the bigger more distant tragedies sort of like that. An opportunity to turn to God. Yes people are being killed, but nothing out of the ordinary (I mean, nothing out of God) is happening. There is wickedness and there is Jesus. I empathize with the fear and the hopelessness, but there is a God moving in the midst of all that.

    To answer the other question: my world gets a lot better when I sit on my patio with a cup of coffee and a book. When I hang out with Becky, my very. very. very best friend. When I go swimming with my family or eat breakfast tacos with my grandma. When I write whether that’s prayer, stories or musings. When I worship or when I have spiritually challenging conversations, which have been on short supply lately. And probably, the most profound thing I’m doing that makes my world better, which doesn’t feel as profound to me as it does to others is that I have a job where I get to comfort and encourage women who have been sexually trafficked. Jesus has wrecked my life this year and, again, I’m not sure if it’s apathy or trust.

  63. I don’t know. Honestly, it’s hard to engage with the world these days. I trusted my parents’ generation, but their promises didn’t pan out. I used to believe that I could make things better, but it doesn’t seem like I have anything that people need or want.

    Living this way is pretty hard.

  64. Pingback: Honesty Hour Vol. 2: What do you think about weddings? | HANNAH BRENCHER

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