Archive for February, 2012



KINDNESS...LOVE IS KIND

Today, we are going to examine the idea of kindness.

It is the second characteristic listed in 1 Corinthians 13:4-8, and, WOW, does it have powerful implications and applications.

In American culture, we have often been well trained in the idea of looking out for Numero Uno, number one, me, myself and I. With very little ,or any, thought given to how our daily actions might affect those around us.

In fact, kindness is often seen as a sign of weakness, something that we Americans just don’t appreciate. Unless, that is, we ourselves have been at the receiving end of someone who lacks kindness, then all bets are off. We expect it….even demand it. We are appalled  that someone has had the audacity to treat us with anything else, but kindness!

Unfortunately, we often forget that kindness begets kindness. You know, the old concept, you sow what you reap. We treat people as we wish and then, expect a very different attitude to be given to us. It’s kind of lopsided, is it not?

So, if we are to be loving and being loving involves kindness, what does it look like in everyday living?

Well, let’s look at what kindness really means. The word “kind” used in this particular Scripture is from the Greek word, “chrēsteuomai”, which simply means to show oneself mild, to be kind or use kindness. So, what is kindness, then? Kindness means to be gentle, to show consideration or to be helpful, being benevolent, which means desire to do good to others.

Knowing what this means, you can see why I had stated earlier that it applications and implications are very broad. Kindness can, very literally, be applied to every area of our lives and extended to every single person in our lives, whether we know them personally or not. That is pretty wild to me. To think that God has given me a mighty tool to affect the lives of others and by doing so, change my own heart, as well. I become more conformed to His image with the practicing.

That being so, how can we apply kindness in our idea of organizing from the inside out and let folks know they are loved?

First, we need to acknowledge those areas that we do not show kindness and ask the Lord to help us stop being unkind. He died for us when we were still enemies of the Cross and guess what? In doing so, He showed us immense kindness and patience!

Secondly, we can ask the Lord how to begin showing kindness to all men. Not just the ones we like and who like us, but to all. After all, if we are to partake in the sufferings of the Lord, we, too, should demonstrate the same kindness that He poured out upon us, right?

Thirdly, look for practical ways to help someone. I was once told that just my smile made someone’s day brighter. This person was just a person passing on the street who I had chosen to smile at. Apparently, they needed that. Smiles are free and are easily given!

Perhaps you know someone struggling in this economy, you could share some of your food with them. It may be that you are acquainted with some students that need help with Algebra and you know Algebra like the back of your hand, maybe that is your way to encourage and show kindness, by helping them understand Algebra better, thus, relieving their stress.

There may be a person who aggravates the dickens out of you, maybe, just maybe, you could be the one to extend the hand of grace. Showing them kindness and patience, even if they do not extend it back. Jesus did not demand our love to be given Him, though He demonstrated His for us!

Finally, in the organizational realm, maybe you are a mother or father, a husband or a wife and you see your family members struggling to keep up. Maybe you could organize on of their drawers for them. A closet? Come alongside them to set up a list of things they need to accomplish in the course of the day, week or month.

Look for small items daily that you can encourage people with. Don’t overlook the most simple things…they, often, are the very things that make the most impact.

For me, today, I am going to focus on my children and husband. I have organized my day so that I can accomplish my homework, teach my younger children and then, prepare some surprises for them for Valentine’s Day, tomorrow. Life has been so busy, I think these surprises will refresh them a bit. (I will share more tomorrow, in case they are reading this today!  ;P)

Love is patient and love is kind.

In which ways will you purposefully seek to show kindness today? When you find those ways, will you share them and let me know how they changed you?

 

 

 

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 “Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude; it does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends.” 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 

 

As an organizer, I see a lot. A lot of clutter, a lot of dirt, a lot of STUFF, but one thing I don’t see often is an understanding that a life that flows well, actually comes from a heart attitude.

We can produce a lovely home, an organized home and clean home and, yet, lack of peace can press in on all sides.

On the other hand, we can also have an incredibly disorderly life in the physical and not be concerned a bit, while those around us are about to pull their hair out, because of the chaotic fruit our lives produce.

A truly organized life is one where peace flows from the inside out, spilling its sweetness to all who some near. Ironically, these types of lives are well ordered…not dogmatically or stringently, but lovingly.

The month February boasts Valentine’s Day, an internationally celebrated day, signifying love. Ahhh, the sweet fragrance of love. Isn’t glorious to love and  loved?!

So, for the remainder of this month, I want to look at how to show true love to those around us through our organizational skills. I will issue challenges, and offer tips. Every day or so through the rest of month of February, I plan to introduce a concept, along with some tips for working on that concept.

My goal? By the end of the month, armed with the Holy Spirit’s counsel, the strength of the Lord and a few tips, we will practice loving ‘out loud’ the precepts listed above in 1 Corinthians 13:4-8.

I thought this would be an interesting little challenge, because we can say “I love you” till the moon is blue, but showing it through everyday living is much, much more powerful. And, it is much more difficult, because it requires something of us, personally.

The first challenge I will issue is “Build your Patience day”. One of the hardest things we face is learning to be patient for the sake of another. It is one way in which we can lay down our life for others, just as Christ did for us.

I am confident that if I asked the question, “Do you want others to be patient with you?” the answer would, of course, be “Yes!” We all long for that. However, providing that for others is quite another story. It is difficult. It requires us to lay aside our demands and walk the issue out with them at their pace. Not at our own. That is, at times,  hard. We, often, forget that we, too, at one time, were learning these skills and that we needed someone to be patient with us as we grew in our understanding and capabilities. Patience is one way that we can walk out the command of the Lord and edify the body.

So, in honor of love…TRUE LOVE…choose an issue to walk out patiently with someone you care about. Show them that you love them by what you do and what you say.

Here are a few tips to get started:

1. Really listen to what is being said to you.

2. Ask questions, if you are in doubt of the other person’s message.

3. Ask what would be helpful to them in tackling whatever they are trying to accomplish.

4. If the person wants you to actually work alongside them on a given project, give them room to make mistakes, ask         questions and discuss solutions without becoming testy with them. They may just process through things differently than you do. 🙂

5. Finally, whatever their response is, pray for them and with them, if they will allow the latter.

Lifting up even the smallest situation to the Lord strengthens both the hearer and the listener and it demonstrates a gentle heart.


Here are some pics I took on my wee morning outing…

 

This is the sign on my garden gate. I thought it appropriate as we welcome Spring to the west coast. :)

This is the sign on my garden gate. I thought it appropriate, especially since Spring is beginning to share its wonders.

This is the camellia blooming in my front yard…A little gift after these short days of winter.

Isn’t the Lord wonderful for giving us such beautiful gifts?


Gosh. Here we are in February already! I can hardly believe it; though, I have to say that my life at this point is so much fuller than it was when I was younger, in both good and bad ways. And, with that fullness, comes a spinning clock, where time seems to sprout wings and fly away!

A couple of weeks ago, I encouraged you all to seek the Lord and ask Him what He would want you to do on a daily basis. Really, what He wants to accomplish in and through your lives, on the whole. I, also, told you that I would share with you what He shared with me. So, here goes!

I believe I have shared in the past that my life is filled with my precious family, ministry, going to school full-time and teaching full-time. It has been, at times, challenging to keep it all in the air and not crashing down around me. But looking back, I realize that it has not been my efforts, at all, which have kept everything from smashing to smithereens, but the Lord, who has graciously and efficiently managed it all. Why I stress?  I am not quite sure. Lack of faith? I believe, Lord, help my unbelief.

At any rate, after much prayer and counsel, He has shown me how He would like life to change a bit for me.

First, my relationship with Him needs to be first. This one I knew, but I needed to be reminded of just how much I need Him, on a second-by-second basis!

Secondly, He has shown me that my husband and children come next, but that some boundaries need to be set in terms of the children. This one is interesting, because my children have had ‘full-access’ to me for as long as I can remember. Now that they are older, the older two are in college and the younger two teenagers, both my husband and I feel it is time to show them that they need to respect boundaries set upon others’ time…namely mine. It isn’t that they are disrespectful, it is simply that I have been so available to them, that with the role I have, as student, they forget that Mom now has assignments to complete, too! In short, they need to be mindful of my schedule, as well.

Thirdly, since I have gone back to school full-time, it has been interesting trying to balance teaching, getting personal schoolwork finished, and taking care of the household. I am blessed that all have chipped in, for the most part, when it comes to taking care of things around the homestead, but there are items on the to-do list that I have always done and they do not necessarily ‘see’.

So, over the weekend, my husband encouraged me to focus on school, assuring me that he and the kids would continue helping me, but that he would get me some help in terms of deep cleaning. This is huge, in my book, because this particular issue has been the pebble in my shoe, more than anything else!

It may surprise you that an organizer is looking at these types of things in life…but dirt infiltrates our homes, too! And, we have to re-evaluate where we are, as well, and make necessary adjustments. It would be a really dishonest and lopsided picture to say that we don’t ever have to deal with these things.

I am happy to report through all of this, with the input from the Lord and from my dear husband, I have began to take out those things that need removing and incorporating those items that need to be in the mix of my daily life. Incorporating fun again has been a big theme. (I can get incredibly focused and doing what I need to, because I want to do all things well, but I forget to breathe and laugh…and that not a good thing!)

So, things like dancing to salsa music while I clean my bathroom are going in. I used to do that often. And, you know what? It makes it fun! Or singing, “I Love You Truly”  like Elmer Fudd to my children while I prepare dinner. (Did that one last week…we all rolled.) It was great!

Laughter really is good medicine. While you are seriously examining what needs to stay and go, don’t forget to laugh and have fun. We only have one time around on this planet and we need to make the most of it, not just for ourselves, but for those we love.

Have a blessed day…grab your loved ones and go out have some fun!