This month’s challenge is about reaching out to others and adding something positive to their lives.
Once school starts in north America it seems that people’s busyness only escalates until after January 1st. It can be easy to fall into a habit of being more self-focused, and more focused on one’s own particular set of interests and responsibilities. I thought it might be a good idea to make a point of remembering others and this is a good month to get into the habit. It’s also a good time to start making an effort to be more cheerful since the days are getting shorter and the start of SAD (Seasonal Affected Disorder) is upon us.
Smile more at others both at home and in public.
Talk to someone you usually don’t talk to much – at church meetings, at the shops, at your homeschool group, at your Bible study group, at your kids’ activities, etc.
Proverbs 15:13 A merry heart maketh a cheerful countenance: but by sorrow of the heart the spirit is broken.
Obviously this is about being more friendly. :-) It will also push some (most?) of us more or less out of our comfort zones.
The first one isn’t going to be a “one-time-and-you’re-done” type of thing. It’s more in the line of making a new habit, if possible. I try to remember to smile at people in public, particularly other ladies and children. Sometimes it’s hard to keep in mind, though, especially if I’m feeling off myself.
Sometimes I’ve found people either acted like they never even saw me, or they acted almost nervous that I would smile at them. Some people will readily smile back. Some will smile almost like it’s a duty or they are embarrassed about it, but at least the try. The responses are interesting at any rate. But, the fact of the matter is that people need smiles. That is why God gave humans this unique, language-less means of communicating.
Talking to people with whom we don’t usually talk may be more of a challenge than the first one for some. It can take some perseverance trying to visit or have a conversation with some people. If the first one doesn’t respond, try someone else. Start with a greeting and friendly comment or question about everyday life. Don’t ask them something very personal, even if you know they are going through something (unless you have some legitimate reason to do so). The point is to be friendly and extend some kindness, not to put them on the spot or make them uncomfortable (though some people seem to feel that way for their own reasons).
If you struggle with being friendly with people outside of your little circle of friends and family, I really encourage you to make that a matter of prayer. We are often the only face of Jesus that many people will ever see out in the world. Our countenances and the way we speak and interact with others (and our own) will often speak louder than tracts or invitations to “come to church”. If we look like curmudgeons, why would they want our Savior?
I must say, there is also something very satisfying about transforming a troubled or gloomy face into a smile with one of your own. I think it has to do with Acts 20:35, I have shewed you all things, how that so labouring ye ought to support the weak, and to remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he said, It is more blessed to give than to receive.
Links: (Possible disclaimer on some content.)
Here are 15 Benefits of Smiling. It can make you happier and healthier!
Jo at “Finding Joy In the Every Day” wrote an interesting post on smiling recently.
If you missed it, I wrote an update last week on my efforts to do some of the challenges. :-)