How to Be a World-Changer

September 13, 2013 | 13 comments

I’m writing in a small office — in a tucked-away corner of Iowa — where my walls are decorated with dusty, framed degrees and old awards that nobody remembers anymore.

For all the obvious reasons, I used to think that changing the world happened somewhere on the way to the bachelor’s degree and the six-figure salary and the accolade.


I figured the world-changers breathed their oxygen somewhere by the front microphone, the corner office, the top billing, or maybe on the back nine of the golf course with all of the other world-changers.

The people who would make this cold and cruel world a better place had scalpels in their hands and stars in their eyes. They could feel the rungs of the corporate ladder under their Stilleto-ed feet.

They had platforms, podiums, plaudits … and probably Prada.

The world tricks us into believing its most favored lie: Go big, or go home.

But then, something called actual life happens to most of us. Because suddenly? We look at our lives, and we realize how little we really are.

That realization might just kill you. 

Or it might just save you.

Look … there’s only so much room at the microphone, and that one fact might make you might feel microscopic. There’s only a smidgen of space on the platform, and all of the people that you think are the actual “world-changers” are already there.

But what if we remembered how epic it is to be small?

If we happen to forget, we could open our Bibles to John 3:30. 

In the Kingdom, the little things are the biggest things.

And you are doing the little-big things.

You are epic. Did you see yourself this week?

Remember when you held back her chestnut hair while she was greening over the porcelain? And her rigid, shuddering body finally went limp like a tired old dishrag? So you carried her to her room and pushed back the hair from her sweaty brow. And maybe you knew it when you sunk straight into her eyes and she threw her little arms around your neck —

You changed the world today.

You folded three loads of laundry, changed five lightbulbs, pulled weeds, cried with a friend, prayed over Syria,  mailed that sympathy card, took a sack of groceries to the food pantry, and dropped off your kid’s forgotten clarinet at the school. And when your grateful kid hugged you at the front door of her classroom? You knew it then —

You, brave soul, … you changed the world today.

You forgave the friend who hurt you. You refused to gossip. You gave up your seat on the subway. You decided, in the end, that Jesus was right when he said it: Love your neighbor as yourself.

And if you didn’t know it in then, maybe you realize it now–

You changed the world today.

You said sorry first. You decided to stay one more day. You put your foot down. You listened to the nudge. You prayed harder than you ever prayed before. And you refused to be the woman who, when she shows up in Heaven, finds out that she was known among angels for her wimpy prayers.

Because? You are epic. You believe. You love. You live. You give.

Because you wipe noses and faces … and baby bottoms. Because you clean up messes and try to leave this world in better shape than you found it. You cry with your broken-hearted friend, and laugh at yourself, and every night you thank the good Lord for your daily bread.

You pray for Kingdom come.


Friend, you are changing the world.

And maybe no one notices. Maybe no one gives you a pat on the back or an atta-girl or an award to nail on your wall. But maybe you could know, right now, how epic you are.

But the real world-changers? They don’t give a hoot about what hangs on their walls… because they know Who’s hanging in their hearts.

by | September 13, 2013 | 13 comments


  1. Heather Eggert

    Jennifer, you have become my hands down favorite writer, thinker, encourager, communicator. Thank you for sharing your fine faith with all of us!

  2. Kelly Greer

    Yes-you are epic world changers, you in all your smallness and He in all his greatness, changing the world, one day at a time. Thank you for encouraging us all to recognize the significance of everything small.

  3. marcy70

    Oh my, did I need this today. I’ve been busying around some pricks in my heart this morning. Thank you for making a space to release the hurt and receive the grace.

  4. Sharon O

    wow… they know who is hanging in their hearts. Absolutely.
    powerful reminder that what we do does matter.

  5. Caryn Christensen

    Oh yes. If we could just remember His kingdom principles…the upside-down, seemingly backwards parts and juxtaposition of them; I believe we would see God’s heart. Perhaps then we would know that we are world-changers…and believe it.
    This. Sinks deeply into my soul today. Thank you, as always.

  6. Lynn Morrissey

    This is so timely and so needed, Jennifer, especially for all those mothers who traded their recognition walls for nursery walls and wails in the night. But the world does change, one person at a time, and what is that saying? ,,,,that “the hand that rocks the cradle is the hand that rules the world.” From the “world’s” perspective, motherhood’s repetitive ministrations tally in life’s debit column. Compared to acquiring an education, pursuing a glitzy career, and outdistancing the Joneses, wiping sticky hands, bandaging scraped knees, and saying “no” for the umpteenth time, result in decided loss. Yet God keeps a topsy-turvey scorecard, where loss is gain, last is first, and dying to self is living for God. And yes, one might describe that as epic. I find, interestingly, that epic is from the Latin “epos,” which means “word, story, poem.” It was only later applied to heroic deeds (by the English). Perhaps motherhood marries the two–those small, poetic acts of caring for children which, when tallied over a child’s lifetime, rise to heroism of epic proportion–especially when that mother is imbuing her child with godly virtues. When she dies to herself and serves THE Hero, who hung on the Cross, by serving her children, then truly, the world is changed, one selfless act at a time. I thank you for being one such heroic example!! God bless you, Jennifer!!!

    • Jillie

      Beautifully said, ladies! Jennifer, you have deeply touched my heart today with this. Sometimes we can sit and wonder what “footprint” we will leave in this old world when we go, but you have restored personal heroism to me today. Because I spent the best years of my life raising two. And I loved every minute! On good days, my kids really do rise up and call me “blessed” for my “sacrifice”. It wasn’t a sacrifice–it was an honour.
      And Lynni–Man! I wish I had your way with words! This is going in my “keeper file”…to remember on those days when I’m feeling uncertain of my contribution to life.

  7. Leah Adams (@PointMinistries)

    Recently I was asked to name bloggers who epitomize humility and hunger in their writing. Bloggers whose focus is Jesus and showing Him to others. Guess whose name I put in the blank. Jennifer Dukes Lee. Thanks for always pointing us to the Main Thing.

  8. saleslady371

    I wish every mom could read this. Brings tears to my eyes. Love your writing style!

  9. Laura Rath

    Jennifer, you are such an encourager! A much-needed encourager. As I read your words, I remembered the friend I emailed and the Scripture I prayed over her—and how it meant something to her. I remembered the heart-to-heart with my daughter days ago, and the difference it made. Little things I never would have thought of as world changing…until now.

  10. Mindy

    I am behind on my e-mail after a week of vacation but had to click over to your blog to comment. This is one of the best articles on world changing I have read – simple and yet so big. People are changing the world each day in what may seem like such insignificant ways to them but are huge to those lives they are touching. We often wait for that bit moment, that big ministry calling, when right in front of us, on a daily basis, are opportunities to love, to listen, to reach out. Thank you for your words Ms. Jennifer!


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