Last year, I decided I wanted to practice self-love the way I came to understand it to be and that is to love/be a blessing to others exactly the way I love myself (Matthew 22:37-40), so I gave meaningful gifts to the wonderful ladies and gentlemen that celebrated my birthday with me in NYC. I gave everyone a grateful jar and some other trinkets that I hope were a blessing for them and encouraged them to think about the goodness of God. We all were supposed to put one thing we’re grateful for inside the jar weekly/daily (individual choice) for an entire year but I must confess, I was inconsistent, however, it’s a gift that keeps on giving so if at first, we don’t succeed, we can start again. I’m not a person who gets excited about celebrations, especially not my own birthday, so to actually acknowledge the day (April 30) in a way that also celebrates others felt really good.
This year, my theme word is KINDNESS. And like last year, I’m going to spend two weeks leading up to my birthday meditating, reading, and listening to the thoughts of others about what kindness means. I know kindness is a fruit of the Holy Spirit, but I would like to explore how God expects His children to show kindness in a tough and unkind world. Five beautiful ladies will celebrate with me in NYC this year and I have asked them to join me in expressing anonymous kindness while we stroll the city, and they agreed. We will each have five crocheted worms with notes we’ll write on notecards and put inside small baggies, then we’ll set our worms in random places and pray that those who really need to be encouraged will find them. I’ll be sure to write again about my experience with random acts of crocheted kindness and also share the thoughts of the ladies who will participate.
Because I live with an overwhelming amount of issues from trauma, kindness doesn’t come easy for me. Most people who know me would say I’m a kind person, but they don’t know the mental battle I go through almost daily, just to be kind. I often get kindness and trust confused. I sometimes feel like being kind means I trust the person, but those two things are not the same. Let me say this, it’s very easy to be kind to really nice people, but I find it most difficult to even acknowledge someone I feel doesn’t deserve one ounce of my attention. I’m working to change that this year. I know it’s important to be kind even when you don’t feel like it, but I want to truly understand what that means and the implications I could experience if I decide to treat others (those I see as mean) the way they treat me. How would it affect the witnesses around me? How would it affect my own mental state? Would this be a good example of Christ? If we’re unkind to people, how are we different and set apart from the world? Gosh, it’s so hard, and a lot to think about. This is going to be a real challenge for me but I’m reminded I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength, and Lord knows I’m going to need all the help I can get.
My prayer is that God will keep kindness on my mind for the rest of my life. We’ve all had those moments where we decided to be kind to someone who treated us unkindly and later that person turned into a friend. Often, the reason a foe turns into a friend is that they noticed you love God with all of your heart mind, and soul, and your kindness in that one moment was a seed planted for them to pursue the Lord. Wouldn’t it be nice to treat every moment this way? I would love to not be swayed by negativity and remain kind at all times, in all circumstances. What I do know for a fact is that kindness is not a sign of weakness because it takes strength from within to suppress a negative reaction and flip it into a positive response.
Here are some scriptures I’m going to focus on for the next two weeks:
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, KINDNESS, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.” (Galatians 5:22-23)
1 Corinthians 13:4
“Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude.”
“Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.”
“But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return, and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, for he is kind to the ungrateful and the evil.”
“Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive.”
“She opens her mouth with wisdom, and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue.”
“In all things I have shown you that by working hard in this way we must help the weak and remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he himself said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’ ”
“Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor.”
“Give to everyone who begs from you, and from one who takes away your goods do not demand them back.”