It can sometimes be hard to know what you can do to be a blessing to someone else. Sometimes we have difficulty because we have not gone through what that person is going through so knowing what they need can escape us. Sometimes we are just too busy to take the time necessary to be a blessing and sometimes it comes down to just plain laziness. Making a choice to be a blessing to other's takes effort, planning and thought and sometimes we just don't want to make the time for it...I say want because I believe we HAVE the time we just don't always want to MAKE the time. Whenever I catch myself using, "I don't have time" as an excuse, I force myself to think of all the other things I made time for and if something like watching tv makes the list then I am reminded that I do in fact have time, I just don't want to make the time. It's a good reality check!
Our best friends (and family because he is my cousin) are transitioning into a fairly big life change. They are moving 6 hours away from the only home their children have known because the husband is assuming a new role within an organization he has worked for for several years. As exciting as this transition is it also comes with more responsibility and facing the loss of a church family they've come to love and friends who've become like family to start all over building new relationships with a new church family and friends. Moving can be hard. I remember moving in 6th grade from a small french community to a place four hours away that was not french and not at all like anything I'd known previously. Making new friends and learning a new culture ( the communities were so different that it really was a culture shock to me) can be terrifying. I also moved several times in adulthood and had to start over with a new church and establishing new relationships in a new community and while all of that can be exciting, it can also be hard and it requires time and patience. Because I understand this and want to help our friends in this transition but live too far away to really be of much use I decided I would send a care package. This is one way you can be a blessing to someone else. Whether they are moving, just had a new baby or facing an on-going illness, a well thought out care package can go a long way to say "I love you" and "I want to bear this experience with you". Here is what I included in our friend's care package:
- Hot Chocolate and Chocolate (for when they need comfort)
- Gum and lollipops (for when they need a little sweetness in their life...or to survive a long car ride!)
- A movie & popcorn (to babysit the kids for a couple hours while mom and dad pack and unpack)
- An age appropriate learning activity for each child, that they can do independently, for when they arrive at their new home (this will help the home schooling mom feel less guilty about how behind they are falling due to the move!)
- Tissues (for when the tears come...and they will)
- A note letting them know we are praying for them with a verse to help encourage and lift them up.
-bringing a meal (great for people moving, sick, just had a baby or a neighbor who has helped you out)
-send a card with a thoughtful message: remind them you are praying, that you love them and miss them; whatever would be appropriate to say, say it...don't be cheap with your words!
-offer to help watch a friends children so she can get away for an hour or two and encourage her to do something for herself! Do this even if you ARE that mom...taking the focus off ourselves is often the best remedy when we fall into a "woe is me" pattern of thinking.
-Send an email or text when you know someone is going through a trial or life change; send one if you haven't seen them in awhile and you miss them; send one just because...you are paying for that phone plan so put it to better use than just browsing Facebook and taking "selfies"!
-If you don't cook and truly are too busy to bring a meal then plan to order pizza for the family just moving into a new home, or just getting home from the hospital or maybe even just because you know they've had a tough week and you want to encourage them.
-Take an hour to visit someone who isn't able to get out and may be lonely
-Make a phone call! Sometimes we have no idea that someone is struggling and just needs to hear someone's voice of encouragement and love. Allow your voice to be that voice!
-Have your children draw pictures or write notes to family and friends; teach them young how to encourage others and be a blessing
-Ask someone how you can pray for them specifically...and then follow-up!
There are so many ways to be a blessing to others and my encouragement to you would be this: Be willing to go out of your way for other people and purpose to set aside even just 10 minutes a day to focus on someone else, even if it's just in prayer. Don't stress about what you should do but rather ask God to show you how you could bless someone that day and then be willing to follow his leading. Sometimes he leads us to do things that put us outside our comfort zone! Do it anyway! In this 'me-centered' society we live in the idea of sacrificing a little of our own 'me-time' in order to go out of our way for someone else is not encouraged and we really need to get away from the 'me-first' way of thinking. God wants us to bear one another's burdens, He wants us to put other's first; we will be much happier individuals when we take the focus off of ourselves, place it on the ONE who gives us life and let Him decide what we fill that life with! What are some way's you have been blessed by other's that really lifted you up and encouraged you?