The beginning of a new year is always a time for reflection. What will I do different this year? What will I be more intentional about this year? How and where is God leading me? Here is what God is showing me.
My word for 2014 was “Joy”. Being mindful of this word throughout this past year consistently brought my thoughts back to the fact that true joy is only found in the Lord. It is in the daily walking with my Savior that I am consistently able to live His joy in my life. I found that not only did He meet my needs in every circumstance [both the happy and the challenging], but the very presence of His love for me became known to me in a deeper way. He carried me above all my circumstances. My joys were greater joys because He was with me and my heartaches were not carried alone, but rather embraced within His love and His will for me.
This Christmas I experienced the Gift of Baby Jesus, come to save the world, in a more beautiful way because Jesus is the greatest Joy we can ever experience in life. No greater love can ever be found but that God loved us so much and desired our restored relationship with Him that He made the way for our return to Him. Joy! Joy! Sweet joy! It is only found in Him and I found myself reluctant to leave Christmas behind.
But there is now a new year and so I must look forward to what is ahead for me. Where does God want to take me this year for He is always about “growing us up” more in Him, isn’t He? What will He open my eyes to next? What does He want me to be intentional about?
What do I want for this New Year? First, I do want to grow more “in Christ” this year. I also want to share His joy with others. My word for this New Year was found the day after Christmas and is actually two words. I saw them behind the register of a favorite store of mine. I don’t even remember what they were written on, but the impact of them spoke to my heart. What were these two words? “Kindness Matters” were the words that seemed to take root in my heart.
I have always known that kindness was important and I have tried to be kind to those around me. But this was different. Kindness is not only for the sake of being polite. Kindness is not for the express purpose of having kindness returned. Kindness is the setting aside of yourself for the purpose of blessing another. It begins with my thoughts, which turn into my words, and finally become my actions. I want God to show me what His kindness is to look like as He works through my life. Just like “Joy”, “Kindness” is one of the fruits of the Spirit. Joy was for me on a personal level—to fill my soul up with His joy. Kindness is to be given away. With a heart full of joy, kindness overflows. Where would God work His kindnesses in and through my life if I leaned into Him to hear His voice; if I was intentional about showing His kindness? How could I make a difference for His kingdom if I were diligent in kindness? Kindness encompasses so many things that I can’t even begin to imagine what new ways God will show me where HIS “kindness matters”!
As I think on this, I am reminded that kindness for others begins with having God’s heart for others. New eyes to see into another’s heart are required. Prayer is required. We “see” people all the time, but we don’t know what they are going through. Not even close friends always share their greatest sorrows or hurts with each other.
What about the person who sits next to us in church? Will God open the door for us to give a word of encouragement to one of His hurting children? We can’t change situations; but we can pray and we can speak of God’s love, strength, care, and His presence in their situation. We know that God sees and knows every heart that is aching and in need of knowing He is aware of what they are going through! He knows and He cares and I know He can “set up” divine appointments. I know because He set one before me opening the door this very morning in Church calling me to share His love, encouragement, and kindness to one of His children. I don’t know who was blessed more—the person or me. Blessings happen when you are in the midst of being “moved” by God and they are treasured moments.
Will you join me this year in extending God’s kindness as He prompts your spirit? Will you pray God opens your eyes, too, to see those who could use a kind word or an act of kindness? Will this be your word, too, for 2015? Together we can be His light and point others to the One who is kind above all others…loving, caring, and ready to lighten the burdens of hearts that are turned to Him. Our words and our actions can be a “godly hug” to a hurting soul! Kindness matters more than we will ever know this side of heaven!
“She opens her mouth in wisdom, and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue.” Proverbs 31:26
“He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the LORD require of you, but to do justice, to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?” Micah 6:8
“So, as those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience.”Colossians 3:12
By Pat Tingwall