Tag: serve

When You Know Better, Do Better

Lesson Learned from Grace to Serve – Part 2

The older I get the one thing that I continue to be astounded by is the bad, immature, and selfish behavior by those around me. I’m not talking about children or even teenagers, but the adults that I encounter on a regular basis. On a day to day basis, I am appalled by the lack of basic social manners and decency towards each other that is displayed. (see my post here about kindness) Scrolling through social media, at times, I’m surprised to see how many of my high school classmates are still behaving just as they did when we were in high school.

Not that I am sitting in a place to judge anyone, but most of my classmates and I are 40 years old now or older. Something about us should have changed and matured a bit. We should be making wiser choices and setting positive examples for the younger ones who are coming up under us.

The same thing applies to us in the Christian life. As my pastor said in Part 2 of his series, Grace to Serve, we have to start to grow up in our relationship with God AND with other people. Day after day, year after year, there is no way we should be the same.

But this is not something that magically happens. When you wake up on your next birthday, you don’t automatically just become a better person. (Ask any child how they feel on their birthday and they’ll tell you “the same as yesterday.”) Getting older doesn’t guarantee wisdom, maturity, nor good, sound judgement. Now, we’re all entitled to our mistakes, but does that mean we should be able to make that same “mistake” over and over again?

Does it mean that we can go through life completely oblivious to how our words and actions impact others?

Of course, it doesn’t. Hence the title of this post: When you know better, do better! 

What is your ultimate goal in life? Is it just to please your own selfish nature and then die? Is it to gain a bunch of worldly wealth and then die? Is it just to have all the fun you can have regardless of the consequences and then die? You know the reasoning that You Only Live Once. Some of us have used it as a justification to get away with anything and everything instead of as an opportunity to live a rich, fulfilling life where you worked not only to make yourself happy but to positively impact the world around you.

Every day we have the choice of whether or now we will remain the same or if we will become a better version of ourselves. Pastor told us that we are to work towards maturity in God, that we are to bear much good fruit, and that our ultimate goal is to be more like Him (Jesus).

I’m not sure what that looks like for you, but for me it means being a better person each day, striving to make a positive impact wherever I go, choosing how I will react to situations, and purposely, intentionally choosing to love those who are difficult to love.

I am working to do my part while here on earth and part of that deals with leaving childish things behind and behaving as a grown woman. Thinking, speaking, and reasoning like a grown woman. I may be a child of God, but that doesn’t mean that I shouldn’t “grow” up.

I will seek the counsel of wise people. I will adjust my attitude, my mindset. I will work hard to see people the way that God does, to serve them for Him. I will work hard to help others achieve their goals. I will not allow greed, jealousy, envy, selfishness, or insecurities to rule me. I will let love be my guide: love for God, love for myself, love for others. I will not rely on myself to do it all either because I know that I can’t do it all alone. 

But most of all, I will strive to be more and more like Jesus every day. That is the ultimate goal! Choosing to become more and more like Him is a true sign of maturity. 

We Are Called to Love

It’s November already.

Wow.

Where has the time gone?

I remember the beginning of this year and the promises that I made to myself to make this year my best year yet. I was determined to be #unbothered by life and people, to focus on setting goals and achieving them, and to change things in my life that were no longer working for my good. I am happy to say that while I may have lost my cool a few times (or many), I didn’t reach all of my goals that I set, and I haven’t made every change that I wanted to make, my life has improved drastically by what I have accomplished thus far.

Spend more time in the presence of God. Check!

Lose weight. Check!

Transfer to a new school. Check!

Reduce my debt. Check!

These were just some of my goals that I made and achieved, and my life has definitely been much more fulfilling. I must say that I am quite proud of myself. When I do my check-ins with my accountability partner, I get a certain sense of satisfaction when I realize all that I’ve done to improve my life and my state of mind.

However, lately something has been missing. There’s been this empty space that’s been longing to be fulfilled. While I’m not a selfish or self-centered person (although we all are in some way), I didn’t feel like I was doing all I needed to do in the area of service. My heart has always gone out for other people (I mean, I am a teacher), but I have not been consistent with going that extra mile to help others.

Lately, I’ve felt the need more to do more to help others especially when I consider how I can have a bigger impact on the lives of my children. How do I really get them to love and to appreciate and to be grateful for their lives and all of the blessings they have?

How do I get them to understand that they should give more than they take in this world?

What is the legacy that I want to leave behind that my children can take up and continue even when I am gone?

That’s when I decided enough was enough. The end of this year would be the beginning of my journey in purposeful serving. In other words, I would be purposely seeking opportunities to be a blessing to others. Some things that I have done thus far:

  1. Gotten more involved in my Raktivist (Random Acts of Kindness Activist) community on Facebook, getting inspired by all of the wonderful, beautiful things other people are doing to serve others selflessly. These people have hearts so big that I don’t know how their chests can contain them.
  2. I’ve joined a campaign this month called Neighborly November. Instead of just doing 30 days of Gratefulness in which most people document 30 things for which they are grateful, we are challenged to put action with our gratitude. Every day I must find a way not to just speak of my gratitude but to actually live it out. (Created by Carrie Wisehart)
  3. I took my younger son (6 years old) to my school’s sorting of the items from our Harvest Drive. We had an enjoyable time while running food from the center of the gym floor to the designated areas around the room. More than 100 families were able to receive food just in time for the beginning of the holidays because of this Harvest Drive. I felt so fulfilled just watching all of the volunteers running back and forth cheerfully sorting food even after a long day of school and work.
  4. I started working on a community service project with my team at work so we can get our students involved in serving others while learning the concept of giving without expecting to receive something in return (more to come on this in future posts).

While it’s easy to live in our bubbles and focus on just our own problems and needs, God has called us to love and serve one another, to use our gifts and talents to be a blessing to others and that’s just what I want to do. I want to do it and teach my children and my students the same thing. I pray that my children and my students will learn to love helping others, not because they will be rewarded, but because it feels good to do so, that they become intrinsically motivated to do what’s right.

I write this post not because I want any accolades or praise but to hold myself accountable. If I tell everyone what I am going to do, I know that people will be checking to see if I’m doing what I said I will do even on those days when I don’t feel like it and just want to focus on self.

Maybe I can motivate others to do the same.

Maybe I can start a small movement.

Maybe I can open more hearts to the love that God has called us all to show.

Stay tuned for more…