You Get To Decide What Your Legacy Will Be

by Lysa TerKeurst December 28, 2023
“Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.” Colossians 3:12 (NIV)

When the excruciating pain you feel in your heart goes unattended for an extended period of time, it’s easy to let your heart become cynical and less compassionate.

Can you relate?

Maybe you’ve experienced a job loss recently, or you’re going through a breakup. Or you just got a heartbreaking medical diagnosis. Or you’re in the depths of a journey to grow your family that’s included unexpected delays. Maybe you’re trying to move forward after a betrayal from someone close to you, or one of your kids is walking through something really difficult, and the heartbreak just gets heavier and heavier.

Friend, I understand.

And I don’t want to make light of anything you’re walking through right now.

Your pain is real. Your tears matter. Your hurt doesn’t go unseen.

But I do want to share something to encourage you today. You may be experiencing pain in your story right now, but that doesn’t mean this pain will make up the whole story of your life. It doesn’t have to be the story you tell forever or even the story you’re known for.

You see, when we allow the pain we’ve experienced to make us more compassionate toward others, we get to change the narrative that pain begs to write.

We may not always get to choose what happens to us. And we don’t always get to choose how our stories end. But we get to choose the type of people we become regardless of any outcome.

Look at what Colossians 3:12 says: “Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.”  

No matter what unexpected trials 2023 has thrown at us, we still have a choice. We can choose to be people of compassion. People of kindness. People of humility. People of gentleness. People of patience.

We may experience heartbreaking situations, but that doesn’t have to be our legacy. Our legacy can still be marked by beautiful qualities like compassion regardless of what kind of season we’re in right now.

Compassion doesn’t mean we’re overlooking the harsh reality of things we’re facing or stuffing down feelings we need to process. Actually, some of the most compassionate people I know have experienced the deepest pain. They’ve chosen to let it make them more compassionate in the process.

I want to be one of these people. I want to be known for these things. I want to fill my life with these God-honoring qualities.

I want my legacy to be compassion.

And I want this for you too. Today is a great day to …

  1. Send an encouraging text message.
  2. Smile at a stranger who looks like she’s hurting.
  3. Offer to pick up your friend’s kids from school.
  4. Listen with your full, undivided attention.
  5. Bring someone at work her favorite coffee or drink.

These are just a few ways we can color today with compassion.

Sweet friend, this chapter of your life may be painful, but that’s not all it is. Ask God to give you eyes to see goodness in the possibilities of what’s ahead. I know it’s beautiful. I know it’s good. I know because I know Him.

Jesus, thank You for walking with me through the hardships I’ve experienced. Even though hurtful things have happened to me, I want to be known for the forgiveness and healing You have instilled in me. Give me an opportunity to extend compassion to someone who needs to see You moving in her life this week. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.


Today is a great day to reach out with compassion to another hurting human soul. That is the heartbeat of our team here at Proverbs 31 Ministries. Would you give a donation today so that, together, we can help those who are struggling to believe there is still good ahead in their stories? We want to keep providing you and women like you with encouraging free resources that will draw your heart into God’s Word and His compassion for you in what you’re facing. Give now.





Find real-life encouragement when you connect with Lysa TerKeurst here on Instagram.


Exodus 34:6, “And he passed in front of Moses, proclaiming, ‘The LORD, the LORD, the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness …’” (NIV).

How has God revealed His goodness to you in the middle of a hard season? How might He work through you to reveal His goodness to someone else?

We’d love to hear from you! Share your thoughts in the comments.

© 2023 by Lysa TerKeurst. All rights reserved.

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