My6inchchallenge's Blog

Tackling difficulties and overcoming the challenges life serves up – by Dona Halliday

Archive for kindness

Did the ship come in? Opportunities for kindness

Laura says I can be her husband’s daughter–that’s not always a compliment. Laura’s husband, Mr Fletcher, was a, “Did the ship come in?” sort of fellow. Simply put, get to the point.

Laura delights in details. For example, when Laura asks, “How was your day?” I have several 3 word-variations – “It went well, it was productive,…”  When I ask Laura the same question she likes to start at the beginning, “Let me see, what time did I get up… who she spoke to, where she went, and even details like, “no, before I did that I stopped in the kitchen to get water….”

“Laura, I’m not seeing the ship…?” That’s me. Like Mr. Fletcher, I’m a “Did the ship come in?” kind-a girl. Why would God bring people with such different personalities together except for opportunities of growth?

Laura comes equipped with something I don’t have. The patience to spend hours on the phone allowing others to unburden their hearts, and the kindness to listen to their whole story.

So, after reading chapter 3, Your Kindness Quotient, in Max Lucados’ book “A Love Worth Giving,” I found myself wondering, was Jesus more like Laura with her propensity to travel the long route through a story and less like me with my need for “context only?

Max Lucado sets up the chapter by interviewing three bible characters, one of whom was the woman with the issue of blood. She spoke of how kind Jesus was, He didn’t have to — heal her body, listen to her story, call her  daughter…

As I pondered the question asked in the book, “How kind are you?” I realize that for those of us who strive to be imitators of our Lord,  if we miss God’s heart we would miss the heart of the matter.

Jesus is kind – in actions, in words. To those who deserve it and to those who don’t. He has no ulterior motives in showing kindness, no selfish agenda… but to the outcast, the ill prepared, the thief, He took the opportunity to show kindness and instructs us to do same, when we feel like it and especially when we don’t.  Kindness –like breath, like water, like a touch, is life-giving and affirming.

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Chasing beauty

Challenges can beautify us, strengthen our character and make us men and women of virtue if we endure and learn from them.

"Beautiful in God's Eyes"

It’s Sunday about 11am. I pulled up to the table, though I was sick, I was famished, a fever always seems to increase my appetite. I had prepared scrambled eggs with bell pepper, spinach and onions, cut 3 slices from a loaf and with a bowl of fresh fruit consisting of papaya, pineapple and orange placed next to a cup of hot tea I was ready to satisfy my hunger.

On the table was a book I believe had been there for several months. I reached for it and opened it. It was a 3-in-1 collection by Elizabeth George and I had turned to the second book “Beautiful in God’s eyes.” I sighed when I realized from the first few lines that this was a study of the Proverbs 31 woman. I had a vague recollection of wanting to be like her sometime ago, but I had not thought about her in years. As I continued to read, Elizabeth reminded me that this woman was real, her standard of excellence achievable, her care for others genuine, her love and commitment to God and family possible, and her kind of beauty attainable.

As something in me resisted, telling me that this was an unrealistic goal for any one, I felt blessed because I realized I had a few living examples around me.

My play-mom is 87 years, from her I’m learning about service and selfless living. She’s a woman of much prayer, still teaches Sunday school, holds an in-house bible study, is in charge of the Angel’s food ministry at her church and lends a listening ear — her phone rings constantly, day and night. Her special gift, she loves people. Directly across the street is a couple,  I have never witnessed anyone else so open, selfless and genuine, their gift — helping others.

About 3 weeks ago I finally realized that I have been exactly where I needed to be to learn some valuable life-lessons, for though I love physical beauty, their beauty, my play-mom’s and my neighbors’ are the kind of beauty I seek. All too often we spend time praying or wishing away the things needed to shape us, the challenges necessary to develop us and we miss opportunities to grow. For indeed, who can find a person of virtue? I pray it can be found in me… and, in you.

Challenging others to live out their best

I stood in front of the closed-door at the “Y” and smiled at him expectantly. He was a stranger, big, heavy, very dark in complexion. He stood there and just stared at me. Continuing to smile, I said, “I’m giving you the opportunity to be a gentleman,” and in spite of his dark complexion, he blushed, grinned and pushed the door open.

Once upon a time, I operated with the belief that I could do whatever I needed on my own, without help from anyone. But about 15 years ago a lawyer friend of my mom told me this. “For years,” he said, “he visited this elderly man every week, and every time he prepared to leave, the man tried to give him something — you know, it might be a pencil or a dollar bill. At first, he refused, because the man was poor and he felt the man needed to save whatever he had. But later he learned an important lesson — everyone needs to know that he has something of value to offer, no matter how small. So from that day he not only accepted the gifts but treasured them.”

Years later, I’ve come to understand that true generosity is not only the ability to give but being humble enough to receive from others (and vice versa). In my rush, I sometimes forget to give others the opportunity to show kindness and be noble with simple gestures. Like the guys who offer to pump my gas, carry my groceries, help me put things in the car, or Brain, he’s homeless, who gave me used stuffed animals. I love giving men the opportunity to be gentlemen and to be noble, because I believe one of the ways we can challenge others to be their best is to let them know that we see value in them and recognize that they have something of worth to offer.

Love on the rocks – A gentler me

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It’s been some time since I ended the relationship I wrote about in my earlier blog “Love on the rocks – I’m not insecure!” But I’ve come to realize that insecurities can manifest themselves in different ways. The need to be constantly reassured or reaffirmed in certain areas may be a silent cry that we are not feeling good about ourselves in that particular thing. We don’t feel secure, we don’t think we measure up, and we just need to hear once again that we are ok, we’re accepted, we’re loved.

Insecurity is an awful thing. It makes us needy, unsure of ourselves, accusing, demanding and unaware that we are more than our flaws, and sometimes the people we try so hard to hold on to, leave us because of how our insecurities play themselves out.

Maybe if I had the understanding then that I have now I would have been able to more effectively build this person up and relay the “Stone Mountain” incident differently. But over the years, I see emerging a “gentler me”, and the gentler me would love to have said to him, “you’re really ok. Look at all these areas you’re gifted in. Do you know how special you are to?

My heart breaks for the people who have been hurt, when someone’s leaving have caused more pain and have increased their insecurities. But heartbreak is a normal part of life, even the people who genuinely care about us can cause us pain, it’s one of life’s challenges that we have to live with. But also realize, that when someone leaves, it creates the opportunity for us to take some time and work on ourselves. As we find the value in who are then maybe we can find the person who will complement us best.

Places of Inspiration-The Art of Inspiring Change

About six months ago I started attending another church. This place has become one of the greatest sources of inspiration and influence in my life. A friend asked what I liked about the church and I replied that even though I found the teaching very profound, it was the simplicity (sincerity) and practicality that drew me.

I told her of a series we had done in December entitled “Before You Begin Again”.  Lessons taught on making and sustaining changes in our relationships, changes in our lifestyle to affect levels of fitness and health, and changes in the way we view money, were all very insightful. But, this statement inspired me more than anything else “Just be kind, it costs nothing to be kind”.

That may seem quite elementary, but the truth is profound. I also remembered as a child one of my favorite bible verses was “And be ye kind one to another, tender-hearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.”

I believe the reason that statement affected me was because I realized I had strayed from the core of that message. For years, I have protected myself by not allowing most people to get too close to me. I have experienced moments though, when my heart must have escaped that protection, because those were the times I lived my best life.

As a result of being inspired and challenged, I’m allowing my heart the freedom of tenderness as it learns again, that living is about opening its door and genuinely loving and caring for others.

We Just Need Three “Good Men”

Men of honor needed. As we seek to find the "good" in others may we also work on developing those "good" characteristic in our selves. On my 6 inch challenge blog

Yours, mine and hers

In a recent conversation with my mom she instructed me to be on the lookout for three good men; “one for me”, she said, “one for you and one for your sister”. We both laughed at the comment at the time, but I also remember her saying what I have heard so many others say, it’s so hard to find “good men”.

It’s interesting to me that even though we have so much, we talk so often about what we lack. Lack of resources, of money; lack of jobs – good jobs, of education; lack of men – good men, of women – good women; lack of relationships – meaningful relationships.

With so many family members, friends, and acquaintances who are single it seems a bit selfish to be concerned only about us three. What would happen, I wonder, if we all decided to become the “good” that we seek in others.

We may long for honesty, authenticity, kindness, generosity and compassion in others, but what if we made it a priority to develop these same characteristics in ourselves. We may desire to be loved, respected and even cherished but if we examine our lives are we showing love and respect to the people who are in our lives and the people who cross our paths.

I would like to think that if we concentrated on becoming the “good” that we desire in others we’ll find that we become, better mothers, fathers, daughters, sons, sisters, brothers, spouses, friends, and just maybe the “good” that we desire will be available in abundance.

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