The events of the last two weeks in our nation have been unsettling, frustrating, maddening, and even shocking. With the death of George Floyd on May 25, a spark seems to have been kindled to a fire in our society. That fire has engulfed cities around the nation (and the world) in protests that have even led to rioting and looting. I wanted to share with you some thoughts that we put together as a Younique team that address what we believe to be the underlying forces at work in these events. They are at the core of why Younique was launched several years ago ... and why I’m even more passionate today about the work that we're doing. As leaders, if we want to develop and implement solutions, we need to be clear on the problem. That’s what this article is about.
For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.
- Ephesians 2:10 (ESV)
From the very beginning, Younique has been built on the truth that every human being is divinely created … for a purpose. The verse quoted above is a powerful expression of that truth and guides all of our thinking, planning, and working every day.
Younique was launched because too many people do not understand and cannot articulate their God-given design and purpose. In our nation today, we are seeing the widespread effect of a shocking lack of value for the individuals God has created.
In our nation today, we are seeing the widespread effect of a shocking lack of value for the individuals God has created.
When we don’t see the God-given values in others, we easily become violent toward them. If we don’t believe at the core that human beings are made in the image of God, we can ignore each other, oppress each other, hate each other, and kill each other.
Not only that, but when we don’t see the God-given value in ourselves, we can quickly become overtaken by hopelessness, powerlessness, and despair. If we don’t believe God made us for a purpose, we can easily give up or feel paralyzed with the enormity of the problems facing us as individuals, as families, as community, and as a nation.
God has called, invited, and designed each of us to use our uniqueness by joining His redemptive, restorative work in the world. The whole goal of Younique is to help us understand our uniqueness and find a renewed and deeper sense of purpose by living out His special calling wherever He has placed us. This is the purpose for which we were created—to uniquely reflect God’s love and care for the world right where we are.
God has called, invited, and designed each of us to use our uniqueness by joining His redemptive, restorative work in the world.
The Greek word translated as “workmanship” in Ephesians 2:10 above is only used in one other place in the New Testament.
For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.
- Romans 1:20
When we, as human beings created by God, are living out our divine purpose, we put God’s eternal power and divine nature on display. When we do not live out our purpose, when we forget our divine value and the divine value of others, things fall apart—lives and families are broken, communities are fractured, nations are divided.
This is why we believe so strongly in what we do—coming alongside people with practical tools to help them to discover and name their unique purpose … and make a plan to live it out. This is what we believe will heal the world, one person, one family, one community at a time.
In a world so torn apart by rivalry, anger, and hatred, we have the privileged vocation to be living signs of a love that can bridge all divisions and heal all wounds.
We have taken intentional steps as an organization to do what we can to make the gospel-centered life design process accessible for everyone, regardless of race or socio-economic background. Unfortunately, in the past, life planning or life coaching have been largely unavailable to people of color. We want to do everything we can to change that. We’re not perfect by any means, but we’re trying to do the best we can with what we’ve been given.
True, systemic change is going to require sacrifice. It’s going to mean being less focused on our individual rights and more focused on our collective responsibilities. And that makes perfect sense, because it is the way of Jesus.
We’ve all been talking for months now about how COVID is going to lead us into a “new normal” in the future, and that’s certainly true. There is a big and important question as to whether we will emerge from the George Floyd tragedy (and all that has followed) with a better normal. In order for us to be a part of getting to that better normal, we will need to turn listening into learning and talk into testimony.
Systemic change is going to mean being less focused on our individual rights and more focused on our collective responsibilities.
As we shared with our Younique family and I wanted to share with my blog readers as well, we would humbly invite you to do 3 things during this moment in our nation.
1 - Reflect and listen.
One of the practices we encourage through the Younique process is to engage in reflecting on your own story. What has brought you to this place in your life? What factors have contributed to shaping you? It’s important for us to reflect on our own stories, but we must also actively listen to the stories of others—especially those who don’t look like us. Truly hearing someone’s story is a sacred, holy act. Don’t stay at a distance. Lean in and engage.
2 - Reexamine your calling.
What is it that God has uniquely created and positioned you to do right now? How might He want to use you to bring hope in the midst of powerlessness and peace in the midst of violence? How can you amplify the voices of those who are ignored or unheard in your areas of influence? How is He inviting you to be a living expression of His eternal qualities and divine nature in your home, in your workplace, in your community?
3 - Get going and keep moving.
At the end of Ephesians 2:10, we see the phrase, “... that we should walk in them.” Some translations use slightly different wording, but the original Greek phrase carries the idea of making your way, making progress, making use of the opportunities in front of you—literally, to walk. Our divinely crafted purpose leads us to take action in the world.
And we’re going to have to keep moving because true, deep change is always a process. It’s going to take time. It’s going to take sacrifice. If we want to reflect God’s nature in the world, we have to be willing to keep growing, keep learning, and keep walking together with all of our brothers and sisters.
Deep change is always a process.
Jesus said that people will know we are His followers by our love for one another. He said this to His disciples after washing their feet … and hours before He would lay down His life for them, for us, for the entire world. Those of us who are a part of Younique want to follow in the way of Jesus by loving each other well. We don’t have it all together and we don’t get it right all the time. But we’re walking after Him.
Our prayer is that God will use you—wherever you are—to reflect His love and His light to a world that needs to see it so desperately, reminding ALL of us of the infinite value within EACH of us.
Grace and Peace.