Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Simple Acts of Kindness: Tangible Ways to Love your Neighbor- Loving Your Family

Today Sybil from Peace It All Together shares how loving our neighbors begins at home.
Most days I feel if my heart is somewhere else. I used to love my work. It was my passion. My calling. While I still enjoy what I do, the students I serve, and the people I work with, I feel like there is more. My heart longs to bring joy to the lost, to those who don't know the healing power of Jesus Christ, whether it's because they don't know him at all or because they have been separated from him by sin or hurt or simply, life.

Wikipedia defines missionary as "a member of a religious group sent into an area to do evangelism or ministries of service" and "one who is to witness across cultures."
I have never wanted to be a missionary. Many things about that title scared me. Then, after a mission trip to Mexico in high school - which I'm sure had some good points, although I struggle to remember any - I have felt completely certain that foreign missions weren't for me. But, lately I've been thinking more about this word...missionary. I don't completely agree with the definition from Wikipedia. Shouldn't someone who wants to bring God's love to others, not just in a foreign country or across cultures, but to their own cities, neighborhoods and even their own homes be considered a missionary?
Another reason that I never considered a career in missions is that I have always liked being at home. As a child, and even as a teenager, I was reluctant to spend the night at a friend's house or be away from home for long periods of time. So, I couldn't imagine spending any amount of time in a foreign country, adjusting to a different culture, language, lifestyle. I'm still a home body and would prefer to bring people to me than to go to them. Hmmm. Home. I can be a missionary there, right? 
When I first began thinking about this, I was stumped. I wasn't certain what I could do, in addition to the typical mommy, wife stuff, to show God's love to my family. Then, I had a thought. My perception is that I've been doing the "neighbor" thing pretty well lately, or rather, God has been working through me to reach those outside my home. So, how have I been loving my neighbors, my friends, those people I have been called to minister to? 
I started with listening. Listening to God and to people. Really paying attention to what they are saying. What I've found is that, even though people may not specifically state, "I need ____," through conversation, they often speak about their needs, their hurts, their passions. So, I decided my first step in showing more of God's love to my family would be to listen to them. Through listening better and more to my family, I hope to be able to meet their needs, comfort their hurts and feed their passions.

One thing that my daughters are passionate about is jokes. You know, those corny kid jokes, like "How do bees get to school?" "On a school buzzzz." Hehehe. They love those. So, when I saw these free printable jokes on Pinterest, I printed and laminated them immediately. The first day I put them in their lunch boxes, as a surprise, I was barely in the door, at the end of the day, before they were telling me how much they loved the jokes. They have lunch everyday. Sometimes, from home. From now on, there will be a little something extra in there to make them smile.

I want my passion to be people. I'm more convinced now than ever before, that it needs to start at home.

Sybil fills many different roles in life...mother, wife, sister, daughter, friend. A School Psychologist, by profession and a Christian, by faith. But, she has come to realize that there is more to life than roles and titles. It is how you live your life that matters most! She believes that everybody has a story to tell. She tells her story at Peace it All Together. 
To read the rest of this series, click here. 

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