I have been told most of my life that I am not easily impressed.

Sometimes it dresses in the guise of  “cynical,” “jaded,” or “highly critical”. But whatever you name it, too often we become the things that we’re called, even when they’re not true.

This one, however, is pretty much in the bag.  And I’m okay with it.

It’s been my experience that if you are reading this, you’ve already reacted to this self-profession in one of two ways:

Maybe there’s a tiny warm knot rising in your chest and questions like “Who cares about your opinion anyways?” or words like “stuck up” and “self absorbed” have already crossed your mind. There might be a twinge of defensiveness ticking in your ear, or dare I say, wounded pride searching for ways to retaliate instead of for a medic.

Or maybe you simply felt nothing at all. It could be that you appreciate someone who keeps your feet on the ground, or you’re just as hard to impress as I am. Or, you really just don’t care either way.

Still reading? Good. Hang in there.

I grew up in a wealthy home where I had more than I could ever need. I’ve traveled across the United States and to multiple countries, on my own and with close friends. I’ve lived in four different states, have always owned a car, and have a pretty great full-time job with benefits doing something I love.

But that’s not why I don’t ooh and ahh over your wardrobe and your job title and your Instagram photos from #bestvacationever.

I also know what it’s like to lose everything, and know the stories of others who have too. I’ve lived paycheck to paycheck, or not known where the next one was coming from. I’ve visited slums with no running water or electricity, where the stench of death and decay hung heavy in the air. I’ve done life with people who only own whatever they can fit in one suitcase or car, and never believed they needed more.

There’s something that happens to you when you get a glimpse into Hell on Earth.

The Heavens open up.

Have you ever held the hand of a mother who lost both of her children in a devastating earthquake? Or laughed with a child who was left on a doorstep by her own family?

You see the kind of lasting hope in their eyes that can never be taken.  You share in their joy that was born from a place deeper than you may ever visit. And you realize that in the midst of other people’s tragedy, lays the truth that just maybe they are the ones helping you.

When was the last time you saw waterfalls and mountains and fields of fireflies at dusk that were just too significant to capture in a photo? Or the last time you went on a trip and didn’t post any photos on social media at all?

Some moments are so sacred, it’s almost as if there is a God who cares for you so much, He created them just for you.  No amount of likes or comments can compete with that.

And how often do you hold back on pre-ordering the latest iPhone, or actually give away the coat on your own back to someone else who needs it? In an article on Becoming Minimalist, Joshua Becker writes, “We have no idea how much of a burden our possessions have become until we begin to remove them. But when we do, we immediately discover a new life of freedom and opportunity.”

My hope for our generation and the ones still to come is that we are known for being hard to impress by the things of this world, in order to open up more of Heaven now. The Apostle Matthew summed it up well when he wrote, “You’re blessed when you’re content with just who you are—no more, no less. That’s the moment you find yourselves proud owners of everything that can’t be bought [Matthew 5:5, MSG]”.

So take heart, all you jaded cynics. You might be more hopeful than you’ve been told.

Shannon Douglas

Born and raised in Southern California, Shannon is now the Communications Director for South Hills Church. She enjoys storytelling, styling events, strategizing for organizations, and going to Disneyland. Read more about Shannon in the "Our Team" section of She Has Worth.

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