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Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Monthly Challenge – September

 

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.

So…

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Smile more at others both at home and in public.

And/Or

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.

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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.

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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.

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If you missed it, I wrote an update last week on my efforts to do some of the challenges. :-)

10 comments:

  1. Beautiful and encouraging thoughts, my friend. Your post is much-needed and such a great reminder to show love and kindness to ALL those around us. May we share the joy of our precious Lord with others.

    Thanks for sharing with Roses of Inspiration. Hugs!

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    1. I'm glad you were blessed, Stephanie. I hope you're blessed again as you put it into practice this month.
      Thanks for stopping by and commenting.

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  2. You hit a good point! Up here people don't smile really or even use body language so I stick out like a sore thumb. I do smile at people and they instantly smile back and seem more cheerful. We're a nation of sullen folk it seems lol! I agree about seasonal affective disorder! We're on day 5 or 6 with no sunlight with the fall rains. I'm taking fish oil and vitamin D and seem to fare better than my husband, poor guy feels sick with fish oil.

    Great blog post! :)

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    1. Thank you, Yona. I'm glad you try to spread some smiles there! :-)
      I take vitamin D3 and have taken fish oil in the past. It seems to make me sick now too. I may have to take something else instead. Also, I will be starting my light therapy this month sometime. If you read the article on that, you know what light I'm referring to. :-) You are so much farther north than we are that it must be much harder for you.

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  3. I especially enjoy smiling at and chatting with the elderly when I'm out and about - they are often very lonely and a smile or a little chat about everyday things brightens their day considerably. I especially like chatting with ladies at Spotlight!! :D

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    1. It's great to target the elderly for friendliness! You are so right that they are often lonely, and often go unnoticed as well. They also will sometimes respond to happily to just a little kind attention that one can't help feeling cheered oneself. :-)

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  4. I am a chatter when I am in line at the supermarket and generally other ladies will chat back. At the zoo the other day I had a lovely conversation with an elderly couple who really wanted to share their zoo experience with someone and I was it!! I agree with Clara, we do need to pay special attention to the elderly because they are often invisible to the young and feel forgot among the hustle and bustle of life. A great challenge.

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    1. Thanks for commenting and sharing your experiences with us! I chat with people sometimes. There have been a couple times when someone who I saw fairly often in a public place was looking tired or not well and I asked if they were OK. Both ladies were very appreciative that I had noticed. The one recently ended up telling me a long story about caring for her elderly father and I could tell that she just needed to talk. Since I had the time, I stopped and listened, and I told her I would pray for her. We little know how some situation like that may lead to the opportunity to speak the peace of Christ into a needy life.

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  5. I so enjoy your encouraging monthly challenges - thank you for sharing them with us and I love that photo! Its just wonderful - I hope its framed and in your home somewhere!

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    1. Thank you! I'm glad it's been a blessing to you. I've enjoyed it myself.
      I have to admit that I don't have that picture framed anywhere. :-/ That is something that I should do, now that you mention it. That was taken on our Australian adventure, and that is my Aussie niece and nephew with my mom.

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