what you do matters…

This is an excerpt from the last newsletter I sent out, back in December. (I’m not current doing newsletters.) The message is one I want to share again – a reminder that what you do matters and makes a difference… more than you know.

So often, in various ways, I’ve talked about how you make a difference, more than you realize, even in simply going about your day and in seemingly small ways.

Smiling at someone. Holding an elevator door long enough for someone to get in without having to wait for the next time. Sending a text to ask how things are going. Responding to a text, to let the other person know you heard, you care, you like being in touch. Giving someone four quarters in exchange for a dollar bill so they can get out of a parking garage.

These are a tiny, tiny fraction of examples – and they’re examples from my own life, small acts of kindness given to me during very stressful times at hospitals and surgery centers these past months.

And I can’t even begin to tell you how much small things like these helped me during those times, and how I’m so very grateful to everyone (many of them people I don’t know and will never see again) who helped in any small (or big) way or showed any small (or big) kindness. (And really, I don’t believe any kindness is too small – I believe all kindness counts, and I believe the world could benefit very much from more kindness.)

These kinds of things matter. What you do, how you go about your day, your acts of kindness, your words, your smile, your prayers, your thoughtfulness – it all matters, it all makes a difference.

And you never know when your small touch of kindness, or one sentence, or one smile, will be the thing that helps someone hold on a little longer, or will ease their fear or struggle even just for a while.

Of course, doing “bigger things” out in the world or with your work can make a difference and matter too. But so often these days, I think we hear so many messages of “going big” or “changing thousands of lives” that we can forget how even our ordinary days, even touching the life of one person, matters… and can matter more than we ever know.

So please remember that what you do, in your ordinary everyday life, does matter – and you create ripples in other lives you often never even know about.

You make a difference.

 

pray, write, study, relate…

In this current season of my life, I’m paying close attention to what God is directing me to do, where to focus my attention, and how to spend my time.

This isn’t new. Even in the years when I tried to blend-and-merge my Christianity with other paths, I continually prayed for guidance and discernment, and I did my best to do what I was guided to do. (Now… as to how that played out regarding getting involved in those other paths, specifically New Age and metaphysical practices – I have some ideas and understanding (although I might never know for sure, at least not completely) and maybe I’ll talk more about all of that at some point.)

First off – before going into sub-category areas, I should say that the focus of my entire life falls under the umbrella of growing my walk with Jesus… and that impacts everything and it comes first above all.

And another goes-without-saying focus for me is my physical, mental, and emotional health. There’s some chronic stuff that has affected my day-to-day life in many ways, and so there’s that.

But breaking things down more, this year I’ve been clearly shown that, for now, I’m meant to focus my time and energy and attention on four areas…

Pray.

At some point back in the early-mid 90s, I took to heart the verse to pray without ceasing. Not in the sense that I pray without stopping all day every day, but in the sense that I have an ongoing conversation with Jesus all throughout the day each day.

(And yes, this continued even in my years of trying to have a foot in both worlds, the world of following Jesus and the world of the metaphysical/New Age.)

Somewhere around 1998 or 1999, I realized I’m what is sometimes called a prayer warrior.

I am called to pray.

Even when I can’t do much of anything else – whether it’s because I’m not skilled or trained or talented for other things, whether it’s because I’m not called to other things, whether it’s because I don’t have the physical strength to do other things, whether it’s because I have times when I’m mostly at home due to my health challenges…

Even when I can’t do other things, I can pray.

And even when I do get out and about, and involved in other things, and do other things… still, I feel called to pray.

So that’s what I do.

Sometimes I wonder why I’m not being guided to do something more “active” – but whenever I have that thought or question, God reminds me that prayer is taking action… and He reminds me it’s one of the main things He’s calling me to.

My job is to obey. And so I pray.

Write.

From the time I was old enough to form letters, I wrote stories.

I’ve long felt it was one of the reasons I was put on this earth. Regardless of what others think – and trusting that whoever is meant to read what I write will read it – I always return to writing fiction, even after taking time away from it.

The Holy Spirit continues to whisper to me: write.

This blog is one part of following that guidance. Fiction, for me, is the main part.

Study.

Until last summer, I’d been away from studying the Bible for several years.

During my venture along other spiritual paths, I still prayed, I still had a relationship to God and Jesus and the Holy Spirit… but I stopped reading and studying the Word.

And that was a mistake.

That mistake (along with several other factors) contributed to my heading deeper into deception, and facilitated my ability to feel okay about being lukewarm and straddling the spiritual fence.

But God! But God used my mistake (mistakes, really) and my time in that deception to end up actually opening my eyes and my spiritual understanding to the Bible in a whole new way.

I’m now seeing God’s Word more clearly than ever before in my life, even though I’d spent my life as a Christian. I have an understanding of how it all relates, Genesis to Revelation, like I never have before.

Last summer I became hungry to read and study the Word again, and that hunger has only increased as these many months have passed. I read from a variety of translations, I use a variety of tools and helps in my studying and my research, and I’m doing Bible studies again.

This is something else I’ve clearly been told I’m to continue with as one of my main focuses in this season.

Relate.

And then there’s relate. Relationships.

My spiritual relationship (as I talked about above).

My relationship with my husband (which is sweeter than ever, after almost three decades together).

My relationship with friends … Friends I can talk to, where there’s give and take, both of us being there for each other, supporting each other, having a mutual relationship. And talking in real-time, whether it’s on the phone or meeting in person (because I got too deeply into a mostly-virtual world, and I’m craving real-time, voice-to-voice or face-to-face interaction and relationship). I can’t always get out and about to get together in person, but I’m doing more of that this year than I have in a long time… and it’s been such a blessing. Much of my family is lost to me now, due to deaths or brokenness, and my friends help me more than they probably know.

So… tending to relationships is another area I’m being guided to continue to focus on with my time and energy and attention.

I pray for discernment every day.

I ask to be the person God wants me to be, and to spend the time I’m given doing what He wants me to do. I pray for discernment to know the answers and to have the guidance to do those things.

There are many voices out there telling us to do this thing or that one.

There are only so many hours in a day.

There’s only so much focus and attention we have available.

So I ask to know where I’m meant to focus, what I’m being asked to do.

For me, for now, the answer is: pray, write, study, relate.