Technology and super highways; smart cars and smart phones; vitamin water and propel – what do those things have in common? No, the answer isn’t nothing. Think about it. They represent the warp speed of this life we’re living. I love technology, I love my smart phone, I think about health and staying active. I’m taking a wild guess here, but you do too. If we aren’t actively engaged in activity we feel like we should be doing ‘something’. If I don’t have anything to do, I go find something to do. Coasting is not on my agenda and I bet it’s not on yours. Maybe one of the reasons we don’t coast is because it gives us too much time to think, to wonder, to remember ….
Last night was our regular motorcycle gang ride to a restaurant. The distance was longer than normal and the material I brought along to read, was too short. Dilemma. Instead of reading, I had thinking, wondering, remembering. I was thinking of a sweet friend of mine from church, Marcia, who introduced our Women’s Refining Graces Ministries to performing Intentional Acts of Kindness. I was remembering stories of people who went to pay for their Starbucks and found that the car in front had already paid for their order; someone stopped to get gas in their car and found a gift card stuck to the pump handle; another person was in line at the grocery store and someone paid for their order. Those Intentional Acts of Kindness are monetary, as gifts often are, but there are other ways to show kindness to someone you care about. Mother Teresa is credited with saying “We can’t do great things. We can only do small things with great love.”
Today – and tomorrow – Intentionally show someone you care about them, that you love them, that you are thankful for them. Is there a child in your home? A teenager; even one who avoids you? They need a hug, a full arms around the shoulders, embracing, solid hug. They need to hear the words, “I love you no matter what.” They have a tiny flame inside their hearts and it needs to be brighter. Turn on your heart light so they can turn on theirs. Be brave mom and dad; brother, sister, grandma, grandpa. Psalm 16:8 says “I keep my eyes always on the Lord. With him at my right hand, I will not be shaken.” Scary territory dealing with emotional powder kegs.
Today, as I was praying, God impressed on me to explain what it means to me to live intentionally and open my heart to share with others out of my deep faith, not out of deep pockets. We all have limited resources. I don’t know anyone who has an unlimited supply of cash and who has no idea what to do when all they have are tiny bits of white space in their life. How can we perform an Intentional Act of Kindness? There’s your answer. Start with one. Then repeat. Do just one. We’ve all heard of the downward spiral of defeat – well why not the upward spiral of inner joy? It can happen to you. It can.
So first let’s start here. “Be joyful always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances.” 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 Then, intentionally pray for ideas because they will come. Need a kick-start? (Does anyone even know what that means anymore? When was the last time you saw anyone kick-start anything?) How about these ideas to kick-start your own Intentional Acts of Kindness.
- Leave a note on someone’s desk that says – I hope your day is fantastic today!
- Send an email message to anyone in your contact list to say you’re thinking of them. It can be a 5 second communication.
- From Marcia – Leave a bag with some quarters in it at the Laundromat with a card that makes it obvious that they are left Intentionally.
- Mail a post card, mail a letter
- Smile and Intentionally say hi .. and when you say “How are you?” really, really mean it.
- Make some small cards or buy gift enclosure cards in advance and randomly write kind words, a Bible verse, or encouragement. Drop them into grocery carts or bags as you pass people leaving the store, leave them on desks, on a car windshield (when there is no rain in sight), you can figure it out. Pretend you’re in the secret service … because you are, sort of.
- OK so sure, pay for someone’s order if you have the resources and you are lead to do so.
The only requirement for an Intentional Acts of Kindness is that it be from a heart with right motives. It isn’t an Act of Kindness if done with the wrong motives. God will honor your Intentional Acts if done from a heart of love. The person on the receiving end will be blessed and you will be too. Blessings aren’t always tangible, but they are felt in the heart like a laser light show of joy. I promise.