BEYOND OURSELVES: Day 31 of 31 Days of Creative Caring


 
Wow …  We’ve made it to the final day of this 31-day series.  I hope you’ve found a few new ways to care creatively.  Thank you to those of you who have left comments or sent emails to say this series has encouraged or inspired you.  I couldn’t be more pleased!  After all, it takes every one of us reaching beyond ourselves to care for those around us.
 

Beyond ourselves …

That’s my topic on this 31st day of Creative Caring
 
I had an unusual experience about a year ago.  The morning began like any other, but as I stood before the bathroom mirror applying my makeup, I felt strangely compelled to take $200 out of the checking account. Hmmm…  Was there even $200 IN the checking account?  As I finished my morning routine, the sense of urgency grew stronger, and so I made sure that the bank was my first stop before running other errands.
 
While nothing quite like this had ever happened to me before, I’ll admit that I began to get a little excited.  There must be someone who needed, really needed, $200.  And yes, there had been $200 in the checking account … but now it was burning a hole in my purse … and I was excited to be called upon to meet someone’s need.
 
If that’s not a strange enough beginning to the story, the ending is even more telling…
 
All day long, as I ran errands, I listened — really listened — to everyone I met to see if there was an almost-silent need that I should pick up on.  There were many good conversations, but … Nothing.
 
When I went to bed that night, I couldn’t believe that the $200 remained in my purse.  No one had needed it.  Maybe tomorrow…
 
Two weeks went by, and every night I wondered why I still had $200 in my purse.  I’d seen so many people … slowed down my hustle-bustle to make time for them … listened to their stories … yet none of them were “the person?”
 
And then, to my surprise, I sensed that it was time to put the money back in the checking account.  Huh?  But I wanted to give it away!
 
And then it hit me.  I realized that my gracious God had done some creative caring for Yours Truly.  You see, I grew up in a family where giving money (even though we sometimes had very little) was just something you did if someone else needed it, so He already knew that I wouldn’t have a problem with the money.  Sooooo … ?
 
Jesus replied, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.”  This is the first and greatest commandment.  And the second is like it: “Love your neighbor as yourself.”Matthew 22:37-39
 
Sooooo … in my Creator’s creatively gentle way, He showed me that I needed to pay closer attention to those around me.  He reminded me that everyone I meet has a name … and a story … and a need to live in relationship with Him.  He asks me to build relationships of caring with people who need to see His love in action.
 

He asks me to look beyond myself…

to the working poor trying to keep their heads above water in a difficult economy. To the family whose child’s decisions cause them sleepless nights and heartache.  To the young man making unhealthy lifestyle choices.  To the young woman who suddenly learns she’s terminally ill.  To the husband who’s been out of work for two years.  To the exhausted young woman working with no sleep after a long night spent moving into a new residence. The list goes on … and on … and on.
 
People within my circle of influence:  I believe they are there for a reason.  I believe God uses them to teach me lessons … and I pray He uses me to bless them — whether I ever know it or not.
 

Who is in your circle of influence?

 
As I write this, I’m feeling very far away from those left in the wake of Hurricane Sandy.  It’s hard to care creatively when both need and distance are so great.  But even as I feel almost impotent to do much, I’m looking for ways I can reach out … and I’m praying as I know many of you are.
 
My prayer is that we who are watching from a distance will ask God to speak clearly to people who can help.  That He will stir the hearts of those who are close to the needs, and that they will reach beyond themselves to meet them.  That we, even from a distance, will be faithful to lift up everyone affected, remembering that, in many cases, the same ones helping to restore order are also struggling with their own loss.
 
As these 31 days of Creative Caring draw to a close, I hope you’ve begun to think creatively about how you can reach beyond yourself to those around you.  Some of the ideas I’ve shared are certainly not limited to the particular application I suggested, so I encourage you to read all of the 31 days of ideas and see how you can apply them to the people in your life.  I also hope that by reading them, the “people in your life” will be a continuously growing group as you reach beyond yourself … to show you care … creatively.
 
This is the final post in a 31-day series.  To read previous posts, go HERE.
 
It has been a pleasure to travel this path with you this past month. If you’ve enjoyed this series, I hope you’ll leave a comment and let me know which days meant the most to you.  Thanks so much for stopping by!

Comments

  1. Excellent post, and it shows that you pay attention to the nudging of the Holy Spirit. When you do, there’s generally something wonderful to learn on the other end. That’s been my experience. He is so GOOD.

    XO,

    Sheila

  2. It has been wonderfully refreshing to read your posts, Susan. I haven’t read all 31 posts, but I know that the ones I have read have been a gift. Thank you for this one too. Sometimes those around us who we need to pay closer attention to are right under our roof. In His grace I have learned the deeper meaning of the following simple words and I repeat them almost every day. IT TAKES CHANGE FOR CHANGE … and change begins with me.
    Love you, my friend.
    XOXO’s,
    Marcia

  3. What a wonderful story! I didn’t think it was going to end that way. I loved the surprise of what he taught you. I also love your lesson.

    If you open your window, you will hear some applause coming from down south of you. I’m so proud of you for sticking through this mission. I have been so much in a blog funk of late that I don’t think I could have done it. Yet, every day for 31 days, you presented yet more more creative angle to the simple act of caring and giving.

    Please consider making it into a book. I’m serious about that. You had some really good ideas this month.

  4. What an inspiring lesson to learn! Sometimes God speaks to us in different ways that He wants for us to truly work to hear. Wonderful 31 days, Susan!

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