“In this life we cannot always do great things. But we can do small things with great love.” — Mother Theresa

In 2004 Victor Yushchenko stood for the presidency of the Ukraine. Vehemently opposed by the ruling party Yushchenko’s face was disfigured and he almost lost his life when he was mysteriously poisoned. This was not enough to deter him from standing for the presidency.

On the day of the election Yushchenko was comfortably in the lead. The ruling party, not to be denied, tampered with the results. The state-run television station reported “ladies and gentlemen, we announce that the challenger Victor Yushchenko has been decisively defeated.”

In the lower right-hand corner of the screen a woman by the name of Natalia Dmitruk was providing a translation service for the deaf community. As the news presenter regurgitated the lies of the regime, Natalia Dmitruk refused to translate them. “I’m addressing all the deaf citizens of Ukraine” she signed. “They are lying and I’m ashamed to translate those lies. Yushchenko is our president.”

The deaf community sprang into gear. They text messaged their friends about the fraudulent result and as news spread of Dmitruk’s act of defiance increasing numbers of journalists were inspired to likewise tell the truth. Over the coming weeks the “Orange Revolution” occurred as a million people wearing orange made their way to the capital city of Kiev demanding a new election. The government was forced to meet their demands, a new election was held and Victor Yushchenko became president.

Philip Yancey writes

“When I heard the story behind the orange revolution, the image of a small screen of truth in the corner of the big screen became for me an ideal picture of the church. You see we as a church do not control the big screen. (When we do, we usually mess it up.) Go to any magazine rack or turn on the television and you see a consistent message. What matters is how beautiful you are, how much money or power you have. Similarly, though the world includes many poor people, they rarely make the magazine covers or the news shows. Instead we focus on the superrich, names like Bill Gates or Oprah Winfrey.… Our society is hardly unique. Throughout history nations have always glorified winners, not losers. Then, like the sign language translator in the lower right-hand corner of the screen, along comes a person named Jesus who says in effect, Don’t believe the big screen – they’re lying. It’s the poor who are blessed, not the rich. Mourners are blessed too, as well as those who hunger and thirst, and the persecuted. Those who go through life thinking they’re on top end up on the bottom. And those who go through life feeling they’re on the bottom end up on the top. After all, what does it profit a person to gain the whole world and lose his soul?

Source: Philip Yancey, What Good Is God, pages 184-186

Many people are living their entire lives without ever standing up and stepping out. But it’s exciting to witness the rare few who dare themselves and step out of their personal bubbles to work on acheiving something worthwhile.

Most of use live with the stubborn illusion that we will always have tomorrow to do today’s work. We consistently hold onto this belief and keep procrastinating until work becomes a heavy burden.

Left unchecked, we always default toward a more comfortable path. Your comfortable zone provides a state of mental security. You can understand why it’s so hard to kick your brain out of your comfort zone.

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How do you give a voice to yourself and others to stand up?

Respect, that is where it starts.

It starts with self respect. That’s the most important thing that you can do. Know your value, your worth, your potential. Have confidence in your abilities and banish all thoughts of self-doubt and fear. Know that you have the power,  the authority to start change not only in your life, but in the lives of others. Support yourself in the same way you would support others.

Don’t stand in the way.

If people don’t help each other out, who will? We’ve all seen it – sometime we have people discounting each other’s accomplishments, holding others to unreasonably standards, sabotaging and being mean to others. The biggest problem of all is that we end up perpetuating the stereotypes and preconceived notions we’re working so hard fight against.

Share your story.

Stories are powerful tools. They’re inspirational, motivational, and empowering. When we inspire others with our stories, we open up paths for them to follow that they might never have known existed. Let others learn from your successes and failures. Motivate them to conquer their fears and push boundaries.

Share your story to the fullest extent and spare no details. What challenges did you overcome? What obstacles did you face? How did it feel when you got what you dreamed of? What did you do to celebrate your accomplishment? How has it made an impact in your life? How did you do it?

Speak up, speak out, and speak with conviction.

Take a stand and make your voice heard. You can’t change people’s minds by staying silent. Have conversations that challenge the accepted norms. Take a stand against stereotypes and inequality and challenge people’s assumptions. Those conversations can be uncomfortable and difficult. Have them anyway. Stand up for what you believe in and be an agent of change.

Don’t let the opportunity pass, remember Jesus  says: “Don’t believe the big screen – they’re lying. It’s the poor who are blessed, not the rich. Mourners are blessed too, as well as those who hunger and thirst, and the persecuted. Those who go through life thinking they’re on top end up on the bottom. And those who go through life feeling they’re on the bottom end up on the top. After all, what does it profit a person to gain the whole world and lose his soul?

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