I battled whether or not to combine “The Impact of a Leading Lady” and “The Legacy of a Leading Lady” since both are very similar in concept. Because our legacy is determined by the impact we have, I decided to converge the two together. To be honest with you, it was a difficult decision because I feel like I’ve just spent the last few weeks sitting around the table, drinking coffee with some girlfriends talking about our similar passionate pursuit of glorifying God in our journey of becoming who we were created to be. So although drawing this series to a close is a little like saying goodbye to an old friend, we still have this final post together and I intend to enjoy every letter of it with you girls. 🙂
There’s something beautifully profound about the word “legacy.” It somehow stirs the heart with visions of grandeur and lives of lofty significance. But legacies aren’t only found in the lives of those with extreme impact of heroic proportions. More often than not, they’re built one simple choice at a time. You see, the reputations we are building today are the legacies we are leaving tomorrow and each choice we make along the way determines what kind of legacy that will be.
While preparing for this post, I was reminded of brownies and broccoli. I love the smell of brownies baking in the oven. There’s absolutely nothing that says sit and stay awhile like the aroma of this chocolate delight. In fact, if you’re in real estate, you know one of the tricks of the trade is to bake brownies or chocolate chip cookies before a showing. It’s a strategic plan to make the potential buyers feel at home…to leave an inviting and tasty imprint of the house on their heart.
The recollection of broccoli creates a completely opposite effect. In fact, I remember a time while playing the perfect hostess for some friends that a strange stench permeated the place. It was then that I realized I had left the broccoli on the burner a “tad” too long. (Note to self: Never burn broccoli before guests arrive!)
Those sweet people made light of the odiferous haze that hovered through the house. But needless to say, it didn’t leave the best impression. Perhaps that’s why our meals together have been relegated to the nearest Chili’s. 🙂
Legacies are a little like brownies and burnt broccoli. They leave impressions- footprints on your heart that either make you want to delight in their presence or flee from them.
If our legacies only equaled the lasting effects of brownies and burnt broccoli, then they wouldn’t be so important. But we leave behind pieces of who we are in the hearts of who we know and the implications can be eternal.
Benjamin Disraeli once said, “The legacy of heroes is the memory of a great name and the inheritance of a great example.” And Ecclesiastes 7:1 says, “A good reputation is more valuable than costly perfume.”
What kind of legacy do we want to leave behind? What choices are we making today that will secure the kind of legacy we long to leave? When we really think about it, these questions are quite sobering, aren’t they?
In our last post in the “Leading Ladies” series, I’d like to offer some questions to filter our choices through that will help us leave a legacy that will leave beautiful footprints on the hearts and lives of those who know us.
1. Does what I’m getting ready to say really need to be heard? When I was a fairly new Christian, I sat beside a lady at church who opened her Bible to the blank page on the front cover. On it was written this – “Does what I’m getting ready to say really need to be heard?” Although I haven’t fleshed it out as perfectly as I’d like to have, I’ve never forgotten that precious lady or the admonition she so sweetly passed down to me. A legacy of learning to guard my tongue. Oh be careful little mouth what you say…for the Father up above is looking down with love and little eyes are watching every day!
2. How can I make a difference in someone’s life today? Recently, I’ve been more aware of the needs of those around me. Emotional, physical and spiritual needs. We walk by people every day who are desperate for someone to help them over emotional hurdles that seem to prevent them from making progress on their journey. People who are suffering from physical addictions, illnesses or ailments that capture their attention and leave them feeling helpless. People who need someone to show them Jesus is real as He lives in and through lives that will touch these people with His mercy, His grace and His unconditional love. Can you be that person today? Can I? Can we leave a legacy of His love flowing through us – or are we just too busy with life?
3. What will the consequences be if I do or don’t do this? So much of what we do and don’t do in life is without the thought of consequences. Yet every action and even every non-action have consequences. If I don’t help my neighbor in need, I hurt my testimony – I lose opportunities I will never be able to recapture. If I lose my cool and make a fool of myself by making much too much of something, I leave an impression like that found on the pages of Scripture in Proverbs 3:35 which says, “shame shall be the legacy of fools.” That’s not the kind of legacy I’m anxious to leave. I’m sure it’s not the kind of legacy you want to leave either.
Many have left footprints of their own legacies on my heart. Some have been good…others-not so much. Probably the most profound leading lady in my life has been my mom. Perfect? No. But since they day she left the hospital with her four day old newly adopted bundle of joy, she has loved me as if I were her own. She didn’t care that I was a result of a rape. She was just glad to call me hers.
My mom has left a legacy of strength, courage and perserverance. And as I’ve watched her in her battle with cancer I’ve found that her current circumstances don’t change her character – they only validates it. Strength and honor clothe her and her children rise up and call her blessed. Perfect? No. Blessed? Oh, yes! Yet, even as she prepares to transition from this life to the next, I know she wishes there were some things she could do differently.
You and I still have time. Time to make a difference today. Time to develop a legacy that will linger throughout eternity. But in order to do that, we must choose to live intentionally. We must filter our lives through the questions I posed earlier. We were all born for such a time as this. May we be Esther-like in fulfilling our call and leaving a legacy that lasts throughout eternity.
What about you? Have you ever really thought about the fact that the decisions you make today determine the legacy you will leave tomorrow? Is your legacy more like brownies or burnt broccoli? What footprints are you leaving on the hearts of those who know you? Do you have anything to add to this post that can encourage women to leave a legacy that matters? I’d love to hear from you!