Every single day, I wake up, start the coffee pot, let the dogs outside, turn on my laptop, and look at my favorite blogs. I sit in a cushy (and cute) chair at a table by the window, on a laptop that cost enough to feed a family for 2-3 months. I drink my coffee, unaware of the hands that prepared it, making very little money in the process, so that I could sit here enjoying it.
I am allowed to have comforts in my life. It isn't a sin, and I try to use what I have for God's glory. God is not dissatisfied with me because I own a laptop (at least in my humble opinion). But when I really sit back and examine the way I live, I quickly realize that my focus is not on others nearly enough. I live for my own comfort and my own enjoyment. Sure! I share the name of Jesus, I don't steal, and I try not to gossip, so that other's might see God through me. But there is so much more I could be doing; so much more that would require that maybe I don't sit and watch Netflix as often, or maybe, just maybe, I don't spent as much money on groceries, or makeup, or another coffee mug that I don't need.... just sayin'.
I was watching Bones (the best show ever, of course!) yesterday, and the episode was about human trafficking. Though the specific issue of trafficking is not something I know much about, it got me thinking about how many hurting people go unnoticed every day. How many people are being exploited, beaten down, or hurt (whether physically, emotionally, or spiritually), without many of us even knowing.
I've mentioned before that Haywood County now has Haywood Pathways (a shelter/halfway house/work-help program). How many people do I know that stay there, or work there? Zero. That's how many. And how many times have I served at the local soup kitchen? Zero. How many hats and scarves have I made to give to the homeless, instead of for my own profit? Zero.
I'm not writing this to hate on myself, or anyone else for that matter. I only wish to make us all aware of just how very selfish and contentedly cushy we are. I get upset when my laptop doesn't work right, and there are people just outside my front door who haven't eaten in days.
All that being said, here are a few ideas to get us focusing on others instead of ourselves.
1.) Use your talents- if you have a crafty skill, like crocheting, knitting, jewelry making, or even cooking, use that to bless others. Knit a hat and scarf set and take it to the local homeless shelter. Make a bracelet and give it to someone at work that drives you nuts, just because you can. Crochet a blanket for your Great Aunt that you haven't seen or talked to in a year, cook a meal for that elderly lady in your church who gets so lonely... whatever your skill is, use it.
2.) Send cards- Cards are not just for holidays and sick people. Instead of sitting in front of a Netflix marathon and eating way too many chocolate covered pretzels, sit down at the table and write out a few cards. My husband's grandmother is in her 90's, but every time we go down to her apartment to say "hi", she's got another letter for someone written out and ready to be mailed. At her age, it would be easy for her to say, "People should be writing me cards" or "People should be coming to visit me". But each week, she mails cards to people and helps out at church. She gives, instead of takes, and I greatly admire that.
3.) Get involved- Whether you put this into practice in your community or in your church, get involved. Help in the nursery at your church, volunteer at the food bank in your town, or help clean up from an event, even when it's not your job. Go visit a nursing home, or offer to babysit pro-bono for the new parents that haven't had a second alone since the baby was born.
4.) Use the Internet- Everyone has 10 seconds to write on someone's wall on Facebook, or send someone an encouraging pin on Pinterest. If you know one of your friends or acquaintances are struggling with something, there is no reason not to write a short blurb on their wall letting them know they are loved and being prayed for. Sometimes, 10 seconds is all it takes, and the internet makes those small encouragements possible.
5.) Pray- A great way to take the focus off of yourself and put it onto others is to pray for them. Sure, pray for your personal needs, but spend time thanking God for who He is and ask Him to take care of the needs of others. This is a wonderful way to get off the selfish-train. When we pray for others, not only are we preoccupying our brains with something other than "me-itis", but we also tend to realize just how blessed we are, and how much love the world needs.
Try putting one or more of these ideas into practice this week. I know I will!
What idea stood out most to you? Do you have any ideas to add to the list? Comment below and let me know.
Have a great day!
* Kristin *
*This blog is linked-up with A Harvest of Blessings blog on their "Share the Journey" link-up.