Part of my resolution planning has been considering myself. My goals. My desires. My problems. Many resolutions are self-focused, as they should be, but as I was processing it, I couldn’t help but think if there were things I could do that would help others out immediately. These things have been on my heart over the past year and I decided to make them a part of my resolutions–and I’m calling them the “right-now” resolution. You don’t need a plan, money, or a day to prepare, just a little intention, open eyes, and a big heart.
One huge benefit of this resolution is that my kids will benefit from it. I want them to see ways to express kindness and love RIGHT NOW with those we come in contact with. If my children walk away learning how to do these very things and not much else, I would be tickled. At the end of the day, it’s about spreading love to those we come in contact with.
Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share.
1 Timothy 6:18
1.) Pray for someone on the spot.
How many times have you said that you will pray for someone but have forgotten about it? This was something that a pastor at our church encouraged us to start doing a couple years ago. While one may think that people who aren’t “praying folks” may not be interested in it, that’s not true. My husband and I have asked people who were hurting, confused, or just down if we could pray at that time and you know how many times we’ve been turned down for prayer? Zero. What a wonderful gift to give the hurting friends in our lives! (This is a great article about this very subject. “When we lie about praying for others.”)
2.) Thank a member of the military when you see them.
It doesn’t matter if you are at Subway, a library, or at an airport. There are plenty of military folks around and if you notice their attire, walk up to them, shake their hand, smile, and say thanks! Who needs a picture or status on Facebook saying they thank the military? Why not do it in person?
3.) Make the date
How many times has this conversation happened in your house? “I really like “___” couple. We should have them over for dinner.” Or, “We should babysit their kids and give them a night out for free.” Or, “I really need to bring dinner to this elderly neighbor.” This happens often in our house! Good intentions don’t get us anywhere. Unless there’s action, how will the people we want to bless know that we want to bless them? So the next time you are with someone and you want to offer some time, pull out the calendar. If it’s over dinner with your husband, get a text or email sent out. Initiate the action and make the date.
4.) Donate the excess
We have a lot of stuff. And even when we go through our stuff, we still have a lot of stuff. There are a lot of people who don’t have a lot of stuff–and I’m not talking Dora dolls, matchbox cars, or purses. I’m talking gently used coats and boots, solid reading material, lawn-care equipment, baby gear etc. If you find yourself collecting things because you “might need it as a spare”, or “I may use it in the future”, then consider giving it away to someone in need. If someone comes to your house and is hurting for children’s clothing, walk upstairs, open your storage bins and have at it. When your friend needs a good book, open your bookshelf. A struggling single mom needs a pack ‘n play? Ship that thing off! Give freely. We have enough. What a blessing to fill the need of someone who really needs it.
5.) Give grace
Another wonderfully refreshing thing that’s withheld from so many! Do you know where I see this abused the most? Social media. Why? Because you can’t read emotions over the computer. You can’t understand tone. You can’t extrapolate a point beyond a few sentences. We walk away upset instead of extending the hand of grace understanding that 99% of the time, there’s something lost in translation. Maybe it’s not over social media, but just in conversation with someone, the lady in grocery line with rowdy kids, a text you received, or just some flippant response in the hallway at church. Give grace first instead of putting up your dukes and preparing to fight, then do #6, below.
I have to tell you, smiling is a lost art, eh? I don’t think it’s because we are particularly a mean society, but it’s just that we aren’t thinking of someone else. We are walking into the grocery, while holding a baby, looking at our list. We have our earbuds in or bluetooth on and are zooming in and out of Starbucks. Our brains are someone else except where our two feet are! Have you ever had someone smile at you genuinely? Has a smile ever taken you out of a negative, monotone mental state into reality? Maybe it has given you that breath of relief that you really needed? Let’s not be stingy with our smiles. P.S. Smiling isn’t just for strangers! Our spouses, kids, friends, and family members need them more than any stranger out there.
None of these things require you to spend money. None of these things really require much more than a few minutes. But these 6 actions can provide a great gesture to someone in our life. May we be known as people who do more than talk, but put into action. May we not only post up Facebook status’ and articles that articulate what we believe but never putting feet to it. May we be people known for our grace, love, and truth because of the One who shares those things so generously to us.
“Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth.”
1 John 3:16
Do you have any “right-now” resolutions that you practice? Please share below!
Just in case you are wondering… I am not advocating that you are long and loud in public with your prayers, or asking you to publicize that you thanked a member of the military, or over-book your schedule, or donate items you will actually have to go back out and re-purchase, or give grace, never standing for truth, and finally, lingering over a smile with a person of the opposite sex who isn’t your spouse! Whew. Did I catch all the loopholes?