Remember the classic Sesame Street closing “Todays episode of Sesame Street has been brought to you by the letters A and Q and the number 4”? For every episode, Sesame Street focused on 2 letters and a number, and focused much of its acts, skits, and songs on those 2 letters and number. What if the focus of our day was walking in Him? By prayerfully starting each day asking God what He wants for us this day—and seeking to live out the day in whatever way He has for us. Instead of sitting with our best friends, we choose instead to sit by a “friend we haven’t met yet”? Instead of talking, we choose instead to truly listen in a compassionate and kind way. Instead of looking at a struggling Mom in judgment, we offer a hand of assistance and remind her that she is doing a great job. We could end our day with a similar closing: This day was brought to you by God.
A few days ago, I began to think about how social media can be depressing to some people. As we’re scrolling down the page, we see all the wonderful vacations and new car/house purchases, happy couples, and brilliant, hilarious children. And then we take a look at our lives and see the bad report from school, the argument we had with our spouse before work this morning, the house or car that suddenly seems shabby in comparison, and can easily get depressed that our life isn’t as good, or worthy, or perfect.
As God guided my thoughts towards Him and His Word, I realized that God did not choose to pen the Bible in this way. Instead, when He wrote about the people in the Bible, He included their weaknesses, doubts, and mistakes, not just all their successes. I began to think about Abraham, and how his wife Sarai, laughed when she overheard God tell Abram that he would have a son. That wouldn’t have been posted on most social media pages! Instead, jubilant baby pictures would have been proudly displayed!
And what about when David committed adultery with Bathsheba, and then had her husband killed in battle. Probably wouldn’t have made the cut either. But, I bet there would have been lots of posts of the beautiful engagement and the picture-perfect royal wedding that would have dominated all the headlines!
God knew that we needed to see the whole picture—that we needed to see that the one He called “a man after Gods own heart” was not a perfect man, but an imperfect one who loved Him, and leaned on Him in the midst of trouble and trials. We needed to see the whole picture—not just the “highlight reel”—so we could learn how God perceives us. He looks beyond our faults and identifies us by our successes and the condition of our hearts—and has declared us beauty-full!
Today is National Kindness Day! Instead of sharing an Act of Beauty with you, may I encourage you to show kindness and love to others today? As multi-faceted people, we have many ways to show kindness to others—seek out the way that best fits the situation, person, and watch God bless that person through you!
If you’re struggling for ideas, here are a few to get you started:
- Do a despised chore for another
- Make a favorite food for dinner tonight
- Pick an item from the “honey-do list” and get it crossed off
- Give a sincere compliment
- Hold the door open for someone
- Offer to carry a heavy item to the car
- Entertain a child when the Mom is obviously overwhelmed (talk to a child in the check-out line, while sitting adjacent to them in a waiting room, etc.)
- Tell Mom what a great child they have and ensure her she’s doing a great job
- Write encouraging or positive comments on social media
- Allow someone to merge in front of you in heavy traffic
- Call someone that you haven’t seen in a while and tell them you’ve missed them!
- Offer to babysit to give a stay at home mom a chance to do some Christmas shopping
- Donate a box of canned goods to a local food bank
- Write a check to your favorite charity/ministry
- Volunteer a few hours for your favorite charity/ministry
- Tell your child’s teacher how much you appreciate them
- Take a box of cookies or other treat to your work breakroom anonymously
I’d interested to hear what you did today to show others kindness and God’s love for them. Please feel free to share in the comments.
Conflict comes to all of our lives. Sometimes it is self-inflicted; other times, it is caused by outside circumstances. Regardless of the origin, conflict can cause tension, anxiety, friction (a “rub”) or a disquieting in your spirit. Since we have been discussing gemstones lately, I began thinking about how gemstones are polished—by rubbing them. Sometimes the rub is harsh and lasts a long time, as with a coarse section, or an area with a spot that needs to be buffed away. Other times, it is a gentle, smoothing motion to enhance the sheen and reflection.
When conflict arises, and you feel the “rub”, trust God to polish you in that area to a brilliant gleam. Perhaps someone in your life needs to see that facet or dimension of God reflected in you. Put your trust in Him, and prepare to be dazzled by the brilliance that emerges!
In the previous post, Multifaceted, one part of the definition for facet captured by attention–dimension. The word dimension indicates a depth is present, in addition to length and width. Have you ever looked at an exquisitely cut gemstone, and marveled at the appearance of depth, when you knew it was a relatively flat gemstone?
I began to ponder about our multifaceted lives and how often we rely upon a depth of a particular characteristic. There are times that I need a depth of patience or forgiveness–just a scant amount isn’t enough! While I may only have a small amount of a particular characteristic, in Him there is bottomless, unmeasurable depth of all I need. As we give, He gives of His infinite supply and equips us to do all He has called us to do. So, go and freely give, knowing that He provides more than enough.
This morning, on my way to work, “Reaching Your World” by Luis Palau came on the radio. He talked about reading the ministry of Jesus in the Gospels. He noticed that Jesus interacted with each person that he ministered to in a different manner, tailor-made to their need. I immediately thought “multi-faceted!” Jesus ministered to each person according to their situation or condition, showing them that He was the answer they were desperately seeking.
Maybe you’re thinking, “But I’m not Jesus”. That’s true, you aren’t. You are unable to be everything that everyone needs, but He can through you. By reflecting His love, the person you are interacting with can see Him through you. So, don’t be intimidated by situations that may be beyond your comfort zone. Be sensitive to His guidance, and let Him be reflected in you.
You can listen to Luis Palau’s One Minute of Encouragement that I refer to here.
Today the word “multifaceted” caught my attention. This is a word that rarely comes to mind, so when I saw it, I was intrigued, and knew it was related to our beauty. Multifaceted means to have more than one facet. No surprise there. When I looked up facet, it means: one side of something many sided, such as a gem. A particular aspect or feature of something—a dimension, characteristic, ingredient, strand, etc.
We are multi-faceted people. We each have many characteristics, or dimensions that come together to form us as a unique person. I’m sure we have all seen a beautifully cut gem with many facets, revolving under bright lights, shining and reflecting a different section with each turn. In that same manner, we can shine and reflect in a variety of different situations, showing different characteristics of the Father’s love in a way that perfectly fits the situation and the need of the recipient.
As we walk our life path, we may discover aspects about ourselves that we did not know existed. We may uncover a hidden strength that perfectly meets a need to assist another in a time of need; learn that we have an abundance of patience for loving and nurturing a fussy child; or discover the ability to act as a mediator to bring about a peaceful resolution. Each one of these facets was created by God, and polished to a brilliant sheen when applied in each situation. When situations change and challenges arise, rest in Him, knowing that a new facet is reflecting and shining its beauty for the world to see.
This weekend, I had the opportunity to hear 2 women share acts of beauty. One lady shared with me about caring for her in-laws—freely and lovingly, and in her words “by the grace of God”. Caring for others a is tiring, stressful, and selfless act of beauty. I commend her for giving them such a loving gift!
The second woman shared a story from her childhood. She recalled hearing a lady praying—she initially thought it was a conversation with another person, then realized the conversation was with God. The conversation went something like this:
“God, I don’t like “Sally” much. She’s mean-spirited, selfish, and hateful, and I just don’t love her like I should. But, You love her. Show me how to love her. Show me how You love her. “. What a beauty-full prayer, one that had an effect on this woman for a lifetime.
Acts of beauty are all around us. I am so thankful to have had the opportunity to hear these ladies share their stories. It was a blessing to me! I hope they blessed you, too!
Isn’t the moon beautiful? I’m sure we have all, on numerous occasions, looked at the moon in awe and admiration. I was recently reminded that the moon does not shine of its own energy. It simply reflects the light of the sun. Similarly, our true beauty does not shine of ourselves. Our beauty is a reflection of the Father’s love. When we allow Him to shine on us, the world sees His beauty in us.
The amount of the moon’s beauty we are able to see (full moon, half moon, crescent moon, no moon), is dependent upon the position of the Earth, moon, and sun. To the extent that the Earth is between the moon and sun, it will block the suns’ rays, and limit how much we can see of the moon. And likewise, we also can limit the amount of the Father’s light shining on us by letting too much of the world get in the way.
Let us be ever mindful of how much we are letting the world get between us and the Father. The world is in desperate need of the Father’s light and love, and your reflection may be the only image of Him they will ever see.
It’s easy to get the idea that being beautiful is all about making sure your lipstick matches your outfit, or that your hair is fixed perfectly. But beauty is not dependent upon perfect hair and make-up. It isn’t solely based upon an amazing figure, flawless skin, or manicured nails. Beauty is a kind smile. Beauty is found in gentle, helping hands. Beauty is the eyes that find the good in people and things. Beauty is a lap full of kids being read a book (for the millionth time). Beauty is in the hug you give someone that is hurting. Beauty is the words of hope and healing that you say. True beauty is found in our actions. Don’t look at yourself and your imperfections, and think you don’t have beauty! See the beauty in all you do, for that is where your true beauty lies.