Posted in Spiritual

Called to Virtue: The Pursuit

To the woman who’s reading this,

          First of all, I just love you. You are so beautiful. You have a unique personality and many gifts. You have a story behind your face. Hurts and failures. Joys and victories. I’m cheering you on. My heart wants so much good for each one of you. I’m reminded of where I was in life – not many years ago. My teenage years. And where I am now. A young, married wife just trying to learn and grow. Wow. I just look back on all the lessons I have learned – and some that I am still trying to learn… and I realize that my pursuit of Virtue should have been my top priority constantly. It is so easy to become distracted, I know. However, I encourage you to give everything to God now, not to wait until a more “convenient” time. Being a Christian and pursuing Christlikeness is where it’s “at” and where it counts. I pray something God says through me & this post today will speak to you, and that God will help us on our pursuit to become Virtuous Women.

 

To start out, you must first define Virtue.

According to a couple different dictionaries, Virtue is…

  • Behavior showing high moral standards.
  • Conformity to a standard of right
  • Moral excellence, righteousness, or goodness

 

Secondly, we must look to a Biblical example of Virtue, the “Proverbs 31 Woman.”

Proverbs 31: 11 – 31

Who can find a virtuous woman? for her price is far above rubies. (She is far more precious than jewels.) The heart of her husband doth safely trust in her, so that he shall have no lack of gain. She will do him good and not evil all the days of her life. She seeketh wool and flax, and worketh willingly with her hands. She is like the merchants’ ships; she bringeth her food from afar. She riseth while it is yet night, and giveth meat to her household, and a portion to her maidens. She considereth a field, and buyeth it: with the fruit of her hands she plants a vineyard. She dresses herself with strength and makes her arms strong. She perceives that her merchandise is profitable. Her lamp does not go out at night. She puts her hand to the poor and reaches out her hands to the needy. She is not afraid of snow for her household, for all her household are clothed in scarlet. She makes bed coverings for herself; her clothing is fine linen and purple. Her husband is known in the gates when he sits among the elders of the land. She makes linen garments and sells them; she delivers sashes to the merchant. Strength and dignity are her clothing, and she laughs at the time to come. She opens her mouth with wisdom, and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue. She looks well to the ways of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness. Her children rise up and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her: “Many daughters/women have done virtuously, but you surpass them all.” Charm is deceitful and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised. Give her of the fruit of her hands, and let her own works praise her in the gates.

I don’t know about you… but reading that passage overwhelms me. Here’s exactly what I think…

To become a virtuous woman seems just downright impossible.

But… Is it, really?

Check out these verses.

2 Peter 1: 3 & 5

According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue… giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue.

 

You and I are C A L L E D to be women of virtue.

Overwhelming? Maybe. Doable? Definitely.

I am a FIRM believer that God doesn’t call you to something that is impossible.

Is becoming a virtuous woman overwhelming? Maybe. But, is it doable? Definitely!

 

 

Next, you have to study the “Proverbs 31 Woman.” Here’s the list I came up with.

 

Point 1. Qualities of a Virtuous Woman

  • Trustworthy.
    • Not fake. Not a flirt. Not a facade.
  • Good-hearted.
    • Wishing the best for others. Seeking the highest good of those around, even if it’s uncomfortable or unrewarded here on earth.
  • Willing and hard worker.
    • Looking for opportunities to be helpful. Not slacking from work that needs done.
  • Makes her family her priority.
    • Takes care of them. First.
  • Treats her friends fairly.
    • Doesn’t seek to exclude.
  • Planner
    • Looks ahead and doesn’t forget about the future.
  • She knows her worth and value.
  • Consistent.
  • She treats those less than herself with care and love.
  • She prepares and grows in the easy times to withstand the hard times.
  • Resourceful.
  • Strong, but smart.
  • Carefree, not careless.
  • A speaker of truth that is covered in wisdom and kindness.
  • Not lazy.
  • Praiseworthy.
  • Good reputation, inside and outside the home.
  • Cares more about what God thinks that what the world thinks.
    • Charm is deceitful. Beauty is vain. Those things don’t last or matter.

 

(Side note: Wow! That’s a lot. I know. Yikes. But, the great thing is that God has promised to stay right beside us and lead and guide – Every Step of the Way!)

So, OK. We read the list of qualities. It’s not enough, though, to just observe and study the “Proverbs 31 Woman.” We have to move past that into actually “becoming” and “pursuing” the Virtuous Woman we are each called to be.

 

Point 2. How to become like the Virtuous Woman

You must have…

  • Intelligent Perspective.
    • Life is SO much more than just right now and just about you.
    • Don’t forget about your future self. Who you want to be in 5, 10, 15 years.
    • Inside matters more than the outside.
  • Intimate Prayer.
    • Talking to God.
      • On the daily. On the double.
      • If you don’t talk to someone, you don’t get to know them. And, in turn, they don’t get to know you. Don’t let this happen with God.
    • Pouring out your soul.
      • Your thoughts. Your struggles. Your sins. Your feelings. Your nothings and every-things.
    • Listening for God.
      • Taking time to be still.
        • Get over the awkwardness and enjoy His presence.
      • He WILL speak. Through His Word. Through the pastor. Through mentors. Through your conscience. Through your parents. Through music. Through quiet. Through peace.
  • Incredible Patience.
    • It doesn’t happen in a day.
    • It doesn’t happen all at once.
    • It’s more about the direction you are going than where you are.
      • Don’t be afraid of failure. Don’t expect perfection. Be prepared to mess up. More than once.
  • Intentional Pursuit.
    • Leaving the past behind. Reaching forward to what is ahead.
    • Letting others be who they are and where they are. You can’t dictate someone else’s J O U R N E Y. You must focus, instead, on Y O U R current growth and journey! (To the unmarried ladies: This means letting your future husband – whoever and wherever he is – stay somewhere out there in your future, where he rightfully belongs.)

If I could sum it all up for you, here’s what I’d say…

 

In order to become a woman of virtue, it’s gotta be…

†††

“Christ Comes First… the rest follows.”

 

 

(I presented this to the young ladies in our youth group. I made a slideshow presentation. If that interests you, feel free to comment/contact me. I’d love for it to be useful to others, as well!)

Photo by Ben White on Unsplash

Posted in Spiritual

Pray with purpose.

Do you ever feel overwhelmed when you begin praying?

Do you ever wonder if you’re making a difference?

Or does it ever seem that your prayer list is forever long and you don’t know how you’ll pray for each request?

I’ve felt this way more times than I care to admit. However, today I am reminding myself AND you that prayer DOES make a difference. We should not be discouraged! And, we can NEVER give up or stop.

On the flip side, I have also been convicted that I need to start praying more specifically. To start praying with more purpose. To start praying more boldly.

Because of these things, I have complied the following prayer list. You don’t have to use it. I just felt led to post it. It’s a list to help us focus our prayers. To pray specifically. To pray with purpose. To pray believing.

______________

Lord, help me today as I pray to remember. . .

  • That You are listening.
  • That You are the ultimate Giver and Healer.
  • That You answer each prayer, even if it’s with a “no” or a “wait.”
  • That You know me, those I am praying for, and every single situation better than I do.
  • That You have my best interest at heart.
  • That You are the same yesterday, today, and forever.

 

Lord, I pray for my husband. . .

  • His heart
    • That he would guard his heart. Keep it. With all diligence.
    • That You would work on his heart and grow any areas that need improvement.
    • That he would share his heart with me, his wife.
  • His mind
    • That he would think only on good & righteous things.
    • That he would fight against temptations of the mind & keep from falling.
  • His eyes
    • That he would see my needs, as his wife, and seek to be my helpmeet.
    • That he would look to You for guidance and direction for our home.
    • That he would look away from any unholy, ungodly, or impure person or image.
    • That he would read Your Word and glean much from it.
  • His hands
    • That You would bless his work and help him to find fulfillment in what he does.
    • That You would help him as he provides for our home.
  • His feet
    • That he would walk where You lead.
    • That he would stay away from places that lead to sin and temptation.
  • His mouth
    • That he would praise You and pray to You.
    • That he would encourage me.
    • That he would refrain from evil speaking (i.e. gossip, vulgar words, dirty jokes).
  • His body
    • That he would stay healthy.
    • That he would be safe – day in and day out – wherever he may go.

 

Lord, I pray for my parents. . .

  • That their love for one another would grow.
  • That their jobs and/or places of ministry would be fruitful.
  • That their burdens and trials would grow them, not make them bitter.
  • That they would be encouraged and have true, unhindered joy.
  • That you would keep them safe and keep them from falling.

 

Lord, I pray for my siblings. . .

  • That their walk with You would be full of growth.
  • That their marriages would stay strong.
  • That their relationships would remain pure and beneficial.
  • That their children would obey them and appreciate all that they do for them.
  • That their jobs and/or places of ministry would be fruitful.
  • That they would be encouraged and have true, unhindered joy.
  • That the battles they face would only make them stronger, not bitter.
  • That you would keep them safe and keep them from falling.

 

Lord, I pray for my church. . .

  • That the devil would not have right-of-way in our place of worship.
  • That my pastor would preach the Word clearly and that we (those attending) would listen.
  • That my pastor & his family would be encouraged in their place of ministry. That they would feel loved and appreciated.
  • That the church people would bind together in a sweet, unified way and grow together in love, grace, and truth.
  • That those in leadership positions (i.e. Sunday school teachers, music leaders, youth leaders, children’s workers, etc.) would listen to Your leading, speak the truth, lead with discretion, and remain encouraged.
  • That the needs of the church (spiritual, physical, financial, emotional, etc.) would be met in the way You see fit.
  • That our financial needs would be met.
  • That our missionaries would remain encouraged and effective.
  • That we would grow and evangelize the lost.

 

Lord, I pray for my friends. . .

  • That their focus would be on You, not their battles and hardships.
  • That they would seek You above all else. Every day.
  • That You would bless their work and/or area of ministry.
  • That they would listen to Your voice, above all else.
  • That they would speak truth into my life, if necessary.
  • That You would keep them safe and keep them from falling.

 

Lord, I pray for my country. . .

  • That our focus would return to You and Your principles.
  • That our President and Vice President would lead with wisdom.
  • That our Congressional leaders and all those in office would make wise decisions.
  • That we would fight for the unborn.
  • That we would remain safe from evil forces within and without.

 

Lord, I pray for myself. . .

  • My heart
    • That I would keep it with all diligence.
    • That I would love You first, always.
  • My mind
    • That I would think only on what is good, pure, and wholesome.
    • That I would say “no” to temptation.
    • That I would give my battles to You and not try to fight them on my own.
  • My eyes
    • That I would see my husband’s needs and seek to be his helpmeet.
    • That I would look away from any unholy, ungodly, or impure person, image, movie, show, etc.
    • That I would look for ways to show love to the world around me.
    • That I would read Your Word and glean much from it.
  • My hands
    • That you would bless my work – inside and outside the home. That I would find/have fulfillment in what I do.
    • Keep me busy doing Your will and following after You.
  • My feet
    • That I would walk where You lead.
    • That I would stay away from places that lead to sin and temptation.
    • That I would share Your love and Your Word to those You send my way.
  • My mouth
    • That I would praise You and pray to You – more than I ever have before.
    • That I would refrain from evil speaking (i.e. gossip, vulgar words, dirty jokes).
    • That I would encourage my husband – seek to lift him up, not tear him down.
    • That I would speak truth to all I come into contact with.
  • My body
    • That I would stay healthy.
    • That I would be safe – day in and day out – wherever I may go.

_____________

Photo by Diana Simumpande on Unsplash

Posted in Reflection

Something I’m glad I learned at an early age.

Perhaps it’s because I’m in a new stage of life now. I’m newly married. I’m turning older this week. Etc. But, when I was confronted with this topic idea for a blog post, I knew exactly what I wanted to write about. What I mean is this, now that Hub and I have our own home, our own life, and our own plans and dreams for future children, we find ourselves (rather often) talking about things our parents taught us, things we appreciate about them, things our parents represent, and things from our childhoods we don’t want to take for granted.

So, here goes.

The prompt: Something you are glad you learned at an early age.

(There’s so many things I could talk about, I know. This, however, came to my mind first.)

 

I’m glad I learned at an early age that going to church isn’t optional.

 

Now, don’t sign me off right away. I’m not judging. I’m not trying to come across as “holier than thou,” either. And, I’m certainly not preaching.

Yes, I was a preacher’s daughter. I didn’t really have a choice. We attended church every time the doors were open. Sunday morning, Sunday night, and Wednesday night. Three times a week. Case closed. No questions asked.

But, it was much more than that. My parents taught me that it wasn’t all about what the church or the Sunday School lessons or the services could give to you; it was also what you were going to give back. How you were going to tap in. It was (and still is) a lifestyle.

This goes beyond being a preacher’s family, though. I firmly believe that if my Dad wouldn’t have been the pastor, we still would have been attending. Every service. Sunday and Wednesday. In fact, my parents both had parents who were laymen of the church – and they believed that same way.

I know what you’re thinking. “My church doesn’t even have Sunday night service.” “I work until 6 p.m. on Wednesday; there’s no way I can make prayer meeting or even stay awake during it.” “Sometimes I just need a Sunday night to regroup before the coming week.”

I get it. I really do. I’ve even skipped a service or two myself. And, I’ve gone a stretch or two not attending Sunday school. But, that’s not my point.

My point is this: I’m glad I had parents that didn’t. I’m glad I had parents that set the bar high. I’m glad I had parents who chose to attend church, even on vacation. I’m glad my parents made it exciting to go to church and encouraged me to use my talent of singing in a church setting. I’m glad my parents loved me enough to make me do what I didn’t always want to do.

We all have our reasons. We sometimes even have excuses.  Yes, the trend now is to NOT have Sunday evening or Wednesday evening services. Have break-out and discipleship groups, instead. That’s AWESOME! I even love the idea. And, sometimes we just don’t feel good. We’re sick. We’re stretched emotionally. We need a break.

I get it. I really do.

Here’s what I’m saying, though. In a world where people are looking for an excuse to miss church, be one of the faithful few. Teach that Sunday School class, be a mentor, choose a pew to sit in and be there. Faithfully. If you have to miss, miss. Just don’t make a habit of it. Support your pastor and his family. Your pastor prays and works tirelessly to get the mind of God for the message on Sunday. And, guess what… He does the SAME for the Sunday night and Wednesday night services, too! When did we start placing Sunday morning service as “THE” service that matters and the other two services as the “ones that don’t really count.”

And… Furthermore… If you are there, be ALL there. Put your phone away. Stop paying more attention to those around you than the One you’re supposed to be at church for. Focus on God. Focus on worship.

Focus on being there.

Focus on making church THE option, not optional.

 

Photo by Jon Flobrant on Unsplash

Posted in Holidays

Who do you need Baby Jesus to be?

C H R I S T M A S.

It feels as if the last month my life has been spinning, spinning, spinning. . .  and refusing to stop. Parties, decorating, baking, wrapping, working, shopping, planning, eating, celebrating. . . and then – repeat the list all over again!

Is anyone with me that, while this is the most wonderful time of the year, this is also the most emotional time of the year? Two weeks ago I almost fell apart. The week was so busy that I didn’t know how I was going to function. Every day tasks became ginormous obstacles. I know I tend to be dramatic, but this time I’m being serious. The Christmas joy & festive spirit seemed to be afar off.

Somehow, at Christmastime, we tend to be faced not only with busyness, but also with an enormous amount of feelings. Some wonderful, some painful. Wanting the perfect Christmas that is always just out of reach. Facing feelings of hurt and disappointment from friends and family. Longing for a closer relationship with Jesus during this time of year but being bombarded by many things trying to keep you from attaining that goal. Struggling with feelings of discontentment as we see how all our friends celebrate their holiday, seemingly bigger and better than we do.

All of this and more.

Perhaps that’s why this one question has been spinning around in the head for the past few weeks.

 

Who do I need Baby Jesus to be this Christmas?

 

Ask yourself. Do it. I dare you.

We each bring different emotions, situations, personalities, hearts, and lives to the manger this Christmas.

As you stand in front of the manger, do you see Baby Jesus for who He is? Baby Jesus is everything, friend. Everything. No questions asked. God sent His only Son, Jesus, to earth for YOU. Jesus is the answer.

 

So, who do you need Baby Jesus to be?

 

Are you in need of Immanuel this Christmas? God WITH you. Every moment. Every second. Never to leave or forsake you. Ever present. Ever with you.

Do you need a Healer this Christmas? Is your heart broken? Has your life fallen apart this year? Baby Jesus came to put all those pieces back together. He came that you might have life. Abundant, full life.

Do you need a Counselor this Christmas? Do you need someone to hear you out, listen to your woes, care for your heart?

Do you need a Savior this Christmas? Are you far away from freedom? Are you bound by chains of sin? Baby Jesus is the Chain Breaker. He came to save your soul. Turn your night to day.

What about Peace? Are you lacking quiet and tranquility of soul? The peace of Jesus transcends understanding and comprehension.

What about Light? Is your way dark? Is the path you are taking in life dismal and dejected? How long has it been since you have seen and truly appreciated the light of day? Jesus proclaims that He is the Light of the World – YOUR world!

Do you need a Comforter this Christmas? Are you trapped in grief? Have you lost someone close to you, in death or separation? Are you in the process of watching your loved one go through the worst thing imaginable? When we mourn, He mourns with us. When we cry, He keeps track of our tears. Don’t lose heart. Run to the indescribable, comforting arms of Jesus.

Do you need a Master? Are you tired of the struggle? Do you need someone to take control of your heart, your life, your desires, your plans, your dreams, your wishes? Jesus is the Lord of Lords. He rules. He reigns. He is more than capable of directing your life. Will you let him?

Do you need a (fill in the blank) this Christmas? Whatever your need, Baby Jesus is the ANSWER.

 

Don’t leave this holiday season more broken than you were at the beginning. Come to the manger. Discover Baby Jesus to be everything you need this Christmas.

 

 

Photo by Greyson Joralemon on Unsplash

Posted in Introspection

He rejoices over you.

Perhaps it is because I am a “performance-based” individual. I thrive on accomplishing my goals, doing my best, receiving compliments, excelling in presentation, and so on.

I care. I care about what I do, how I present myself, what to say, how to live. That’s not all bad, if I keep it in check and maintain a healthy balance.

But, you know just as well as I do that success isn’t continual. I don’t always succeed. I don’t always say the right thing. I don’t always receive compliments for the good and helpful things I do. I sometimes fall short of doing my best. And, furthermore, some of my dreams and goals still seem so far off.

Why can’t I get there? Why can’t I just live in a state of success?

I know, I know. Life doesn’t work that way.

Life instead looks like this: Trying, living, failing, questioning, and getting back up.

Oftentimes, we get discouraged. We get weary. We get frustrated. When we don’t measure up to our own requirements, we somehow love ourselves a little less. That’s not right, nor is it OK.

My Daddy, my hero, has always said this: “It’s not about where you are — it’s about where you are going.”

Right now might not look exactly like you want. Your job might not be perfect. Your family might be falling apart. Your laundry might need folded. Your heart might be broken.

Life, though, is SO MUCH more than just RIGHT NOW.

Don’t make the “snapshot” of what is today the cover for the “album” of what your life has been, is, and is going to become.

Don’t lose heart. Don’t quit trying. Don’t love yourself less. 

In these moments – the less than perfect ones – hold on tightly to the only thing that ALWAYS succeeds and NEVER fails – God.

The LORD your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing.

~ Zephaniah 3:17 ESV

When you can’t stand where you are in life, when you can’t handle failing again, when you can’t imagine another hurt coming your way. . . Think on this.

Our crazy, awesome Heavenly Father is sitting up in His Heaven. He is delighting over you. He is celebrating you. He is right beside you. He won’t let you go. He never loves you less. He longs to quiet your spirit. He desires to calm your anxious spirit. He is singing about you. You’re his favorite.

You might not be happy with yourself. You might not have much to rejoice about right now.

No worries. . .

God is rejoicing just because you are, and He made you that way.

 

Photo by Leon Biss on Unsplash

Posted in Spiritual

Prone to wander.

To the wanderer. To the one who is low in spirit. To the one who is confused. To the one who is weary.

To you. To me.

It’s so easy to lose our way. It’s so easy to get lost. It’s so easy to just give up. Or, at least, want to stop trying.

Life is too much, too heavy some days. We get caught up in our work, our busy schedules, our “to-do” lists, our frustrations, our disappoints, and our pain.

We start questioning God. We start forgetting the progress we have made. We start floundering. We start questioning. We start dwelling in the past.

We wander from our Heavenly Father. We wander from spending time in His Word. We wander from our core beliefs. We wander from our family and their love for us. We wander from our friends who want the best for us. We wander from our dreams and plans.

Before long, we find ourselves far from where we used to be, far from where we want to be, and far from where we meant to be.

We don’t normally mean to wander. We don’t purposely set out to do the wrong thing. We don’t mean to settle for good instead of best.

Stop. Take a deep breath.

It’s not too late, my friend.

God doesn’t give up on you. On me. Our God is a God of Reckless Love.

The LORD’s unfailing love and mercy still continue, Fresh as the morning, as sure as the sunrise. The LORD is all I have, and so I put my hope in him.

~Lamentations 3:22-24 GNB

God’s desire is to hold you close, to bring you home. To show you NEW mercies, NEW truths. He sent His Son, Jesus. . . because He wants you to live the life you were meant to live. An abundant, overflowing life. Here’s the words that Jesus, himself, said.

The thief comes only in order to steal, kill, and destroy. I have come in order that you might have life — life in all it’s fullness.

~John 10:10 GNS

If you are wandering today. If you are lost. If you are trapped. Trapped in sin, trapped in bitterness, trapped in disbelief, trapped in busyness, trapped in hurt, trapped in fear, trapped in confusion.

Don’t stay there.

Don’t let the devil control you or convince you. The devil doesn’t have your best interest in mind. He wants you to wander; he doesn’t want you to be settled. Wandering leads nowhere good. The devil, in all actuality, wants you to spend an eternity away from God and His magnificent heaven. It’s not worth it. You don’t have to stay lost.

God’s plan for you is perfect. God’s plan for you does NOT entail wandering away from Him.

All of us need to wake up to the reality that if we are lost, if we are wandering, we are NOT in harmony with our Savior. Heaven is for the found, not the lost.

Do you need finding today? Do you need to come back home?

It’s never too late.

God is waiting for you with His open arms. He is faithful, even when we are not.

Come back home to stay.

 

 

Let Thy goodness, like a fetter,
Bind my wandering heart to Thee.
Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it,
Prone to leave the God I love;
Here’s my heart, O take and seal it,
Seal it for Thy courts above.

~Robert Robinson

 

Photo by Markus Gempeler on Unsplash

Posted in Spiritual

Chrestotes.

I am a Follower of Jesus.

Jesus calls me to live in Him and His truth. Jesus calls me to show the world that He is the message of Hope. Jesus calls me to a life of fruitfulness. As a Follower of my Jesus, my life should showcase the Fruits of the Spirit to those around me.

Here are a couple scriptures to think about. . .

John 13:34-35

A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.

John 15:5b

Without me ye can do nothing.

John 15:8

Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples.

What are the fruits that I should be bearing/showing if I want to be a Follower of Jesus?

Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness (Integrity), Faithfulness, Meekness (Humility), and Self-Control.

I live in the real world. So do you. When I think about this Checklist titled “Fruits of the Spirit,” I cringe just a little bit. That’s a lot. Some days, especially, it feels overwhelming. I get so busy, so frustrated, so impatient, so snippy, so tired.

As Followers of Jesus we WANT to follow His Word, so – you might be thinking  – “How can I make this Fruit-Bearing seem more manageable?”      I am so glad you asked! 😉

Let’s take them one at a time, shall we?

Chrestotes

Chrestotes is the Greek word for kindness.

So, what exactly is kindness?

If you check any dictionary, it will state something like this for kindness: “The quality of being friendly, generous, and considerate.”

I found a great definition for kindness from Tim Keller @ J.D. Greer Ministries (https://jdgreear.com/blog/kellers-definitions-of-the-fruit-in-galatians-5/).

(Warning: It’s pretty radical, but it got me to thinking. . .)

What Kindness Is

Practical kindness with vulnerability out of deep inner security

What Kindness Isn’t

Envy. Unable to rejoice in other’s joy.

What Kindness Morphs Into

Manipulative good deeds. Self-congratulation and self-righteousness.

If our world needs anything these days, it would be kindness.

I must admit for myself that I get so wrapped up in my own world & schedule that I forget to be kind. Don’t get me wrong — I don’t go around being “mean” or “rude.” I definitely don’t put much effort into being “kind,” however.

I don’t for a moment think that mediocre kindness is what Christ has called us – His Followers – to.

It’s time I start being more aware of the world around me. It’s time I start realizing that I might be the only picture of Jesus some people see. It’s time I start owning up to being a Follower of Jesus.

I should be bearing the Fruit of Kindness at a much quicker rate than I am currently.

I must not mask kindness by doing things just for praise. That’s not true kindness.

I must not be kind just to make myself feel better. That is selfish.

Instead . . .

I must be secure in who I am & what I have in order to treat others with genuine kindness in my thoughts, attitudes, and actions.

I must guard my heart from selfishness and discontentment. Instead of envying others, I should work to rejoice in their blessings and triumphs!

I must look for ways to practice kindness. Every day.

Now, listen — In part of my desire to blog about authentic living, I promise that I practice what I write about. The past two weeks my Bible Study ladies & I practiced thankfulness, this week we are practicing kindness. Each day we are endeavoring to go out of our way – and purposefully look for – an opportunity to bless someone with an act of kindness. We then keep each other accountable by sharing in our group chat!

Most of my acts of kindness this week have been small. Doesn’t matter. Purposefully looking for a way to be kind to others has helped me be more aware of the needs around me and the opportunities I usually pass up.

People sometimes need a smile, a note, a hug, a helping hand, a visit, a gift. . . a friend!

Sometimes this looks like putting my husband’s laundry away. Sometimes this looks like helping a coworker out with a task that needs accomplished. Sometimes this looks like gathering all the carts in the parking lot for the cashier at the Dollar Tree who looks incredibly busy and flustered.

Find a way to be kind. Get out of your comfort zone.

I challenge you to join me in this endeavor! One purposeful act of kindness a day – for at least a week.

I truly think that working on showing kindness each day will help us toward the end goal.

What is that end goal, again?

Following Jesus and His teachings. Living a Spirit-filled life. Bearing fruit.

Kindness is a lifestyle, friends.

May we work on kindness, practice kindness, and become kindness.

Photo by Sandrachile . on Unsplash