top of page
  • Wendi Park

5 Signs Your Care is Making an Impact

Ever wonder if your compassion is making a difference?

If care were a stock investment, you’d want to be sure you had a good ROI (return on investment). You want your time, resources and energy to be put to good use or why else would you do it?

Though compassion is one of the greatest assets a person can invest in this world, it is surprisingly easy to go through life without taking stock if it is making optimal impact.

Let’s look into our life choices and see how we are doing. Here are five signs your care is making a difference:

Your Care is Making an Impact when…

1. Your Thoughts Lead You to Action

Turns out, it’s not really the thought that counts, it’s actually thoughtful action that does.

One of my favorite Christmas memories was getting a Sears Talking Computron for Christmas. Hello 80s! Though my parents noticed that I had it circled in the catalogue, it was their action of ordering it that led to revolutionizing my playtime and expressed their genuine care for me. Good vibes alone would not have cut it.

“Dear children, let’s not merely say that we love each other; let us show the truth by our actions” (1 John 3:18). It’s no wonder that we are met by skepticism when we preach, sing, and talk like we care, but our actions do not measure up. There are many socially accepted reasons for this - like we’re busy, we’re broke, family comes first, we will when ______.

How can we impact our community? Instead of wishing the children and families in your neighbourhood would experience a bright future, find out what dreams and hopes they are circling. Then do something. Maybe what people circle as a need doesn’t seem like much, but do it anyway. Impact can only happen with movement.

Your Care is Making an Impact when…

2. Your Vision Changes

Ever wonder why you see so many of the same vehicles on the road that you have been shopping for? Suddenly there are so many SUVs, with the same EX model, or colour, or feature that you were just contemplating. Why is that? Baader-Meinhof has referred to this as the frequency illusion or recency bias. It’s where something you recently learn about suddenly seems to appear everywhere, when in reality it was there all along.

Children and families have been in crisis since the beginning of time. The group home down my street was there before we moved into the neighbourhood. Poverty continues to taunt people daily. Yet it’s easy to miss it. Why is that?

A blind spot is tricky to detect, because, well, we are blind to it. We think we can see everything but our minds can process only what we have awareness for. Lazy eyes are another common challenge. Apathy sets in where we feel powerless to make an impact, so why bother? We naturally stop seeing things. I was born with lazy eyes and was accustomed to it. After surgery, glasses and daily routine muscle exercises, my doctor helped expand my vision. The good news is we have options to improve our sight of marginalized people - as long as we are willing.

Are you starting to see people in hard places? Chances are, God is inviting you to respond. When the Lord saw a mom who had just lost her child, his heart overflowed with compassion (Luke 7:13), not a passive compassion like an “awe, poor thing” but a compassion that reached out to her.

What is cooler yet is that restored vision of others helps us see God. ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’ (Matthew 25:44)

The truth is, we need the one with schizophrenia, the refugee in trauma, the struggling parent, the one back on meth, the child with autism, the pregnant teen, in our lives. We really need them. We need to see the imago dei in others - the image bearers of God. And when we do, we are not only compelled into authentic compassion, but we actually experience the presence of Christ in the most unlikely places.

Your Care is Making an Impact when…

3. It’s Not Your Idea

We may have an idea of what care looks like for someone in need, but the most impactful ideas are rarely our own. And that’s OK. It’s great in fact. It causes us to lean in and listen - not as a Santa asking others to give us their wish list, but in a posture of humility to realize we need their insight. I am disconnected from the pain and challenges of others and desperately need to learn if I want to care with impact.

Some of my greatest teachers have been youth aging out, parents who have lost their children, social workers who are overwhelmed. I don’t need to come up with anything revolutionary. I just need to show up and listen. Then it makes taking action quite clear. I

have yet to meet a person in distress who doesn’t have some great idea of what would make an impact in their life. People’s answers often surprise me, and so do the results when I work with their ideas.

One time I asked an auditorium of social workers to identify things that were stressing them out and weighing them down. I invited everyone to imagine what it would look like for them to feel supported by the community. Instead of pushback, the room was buzzing with ideas, some were even moved to tears at the thought of their ideas being heard. There were pages upon pages lined with responses. As the months went on, social workers were amazed when we had churches respond in such meaningful ways - but I could honestly say “It was your idea.” This is the backstory of how CarePortal began in Canada - with a platform we didn’t make, but was the brainchild of our amazing friends at GO Project.

God often makes the greatest impact through other people’s ideas. Your impact is in listening to them, then taking action.

Your Care is Making an Impact when…

4. Your prayers are Dangerous

I have 5 children, and one thing I know about raising them is that if they want something bad enough, they will contend for it. From intricate negotiation proposals to compelling debates to heart-stirring pleas, my kids know how to get my attention and though I am not their slot machine nor miracle worker I can honestly say that I am impacted by what they have to say. I delight in them. I take joy in their favorite video game. I find myself intrigued by their sense of fashion. I get taken in by their craving for drive-thru, by their creativity and by the passions that passionately burst into our conversations. Parenting would be boring if it wasn’t so.

Does God get this kind of interaction from us? I hope so. Or are we going through the motions, saying Christian things we think God and others want to hear? You can usually learn about people’s attachment to God based on the prayers they pray.

For years I grew up praying memorized prayers before meals and bedtime like mindless chants. Then I graduated to learn Christianese improv prayer, following a learned (and often weird) set of vocabulary based on what I thought God wanted to hear. But as I reflect in Scripture I see dangerous prayers - prayers that ooze with authentic lament, petitions, and unfiltered bold asks. Isn’t it amazing that our prayers actually impact God? God actually listens and is moved by them. Our prayers actually change our circumstances, or better yet, the condition of our hearts. God actually changes the course of history because imperfect humans get gutsy in dialogue with Him.

You know you are making an impact when your prayers turn from passive formalities or narcissistic monologues to passionate feisty prayers, contending for justice, contending for miracles, contending for wisdom to know what to do. The Bible says, “The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective” (James 5:16). Prayer kept hungry lions from eating Daniel when he was all they had on their menu (Daniel 6:11). A whole people group wandering in the wilderness were impacted by Moses’ gutsy interactions with God (Exodus 16–17). Hannah’s humble unrelenting prayers resulted in the birth of prophet Samuel (1 Samuel 1:20), and Paul’s prayers caused the earth to shake (Acts 16:25-26). Though God is not our slot machine, God is our Miracle Worker and our Way Maker. Even if God doesn’t give us the answers we want, we know God is for us and delights in authentic interaction. God is good, even when circumstances are not. And clearly, passionate prayers impact God, us, and those we are contending for (Numbers 11:2). If you want to care with impact, pray like you mean it.

Your Care is Making an Impact when…

5. Others Join In

I once had a dog, Mickey, who was a natural leader. Cats, chickens, people and even an orphaned crow gravitated to her gentle nature and contagious passion for life. Being a loyal companion throughout my school years, she walked me to my bus stop and bolted back at the end of the day to heartily greet me upon my return. It was only a natural progression that others joined her in this daily ritual, first the cats, then even Henri the rooster would waddle with haste to take part in the community experience, much to the amusement of the weary students and a stressed out bus driver. To say that Mickey’s care for me had an impact on us all is an understatement. She was just being her caring self and celebrated others who chose to join in.

When we care with authentic passion and purpose, it’s only natural for others to express interest and courage to join in. Let’s be careful to not send a message of “I’ve got this.” We need to let others join in, even at the cost of efficiency. Building community creates greater impact than the task at hand. Jesus didn’t call the disciples because he needed a powerhouse of help. I’m certain God could whip up his own miracles without us, but he invites us to be participants of it with the loaves and fishes we have in our hands. We get to do this.

But what if others don’t join in? Rather than beg, guilt, or trick people into caring alongside you - keep serving heartily. You do you, and don’t try to be what everyone is not. Let your light shine and people will be impacted! It’s contagious and inspiring. Welcome your onlookers to freely join and don’t be too proud to accept help or brush them off if they need guidance in their participation. People want to care but often don’t know where to start. Allow your solo efforts to be disrupted, your love for efficiency to be sacrificed for a love for collaboration. In the end, impacting others to join you will sustain you, outlast you, and create greater collective impact for the whole community.

Speaking of community, we could not do this without you! CareImpact is so grateful for those who are taking action in their communities by responding to CarePortal requests, those who are expanding their vision through our Academy training, and those who are praying dangerous prayers so that more children and families can be cared for through the bridges being built. Thank you to those who partner with us financially so that communities across Canada can make a collective impact. God is doing amazing things.

May God richly bless you as you care with impact!

bottom of page