Have you ever received a call from someone who is feeling down or overwhelmed, who just needs someone to talk to? I got a call like that earlier this week while I was at work, and I had a choice to make. Do I hurry to get them off the phone quickly because I’m busy and have a lot of stuff to get done, or do I carve out some time and listen to them? I chose the latter.
Before you think, “Good job! You made the right choice!”, I must confess. My initial thought was that I need to get off the phone. It wasn’t until I started to hear how they were feeling about what they were experiencing, that I felt prompted not to ditch the call, but to actively listen to them. (I think the Holy Spirit is good at prompting me like that. I’m trying to get better at actually listening to Him.)
We’ve all been there. Sometimes we just want to be heard, to be acknowledged, or to have someone tell us, “Yeah, that sucks!” or offer us a bit of encouragement. What a blessing to think that we could provide that to someone else when they need it.
That’s something I’ve got time for.
I have a lot of positive intentions pop into my head throughout the day. One that I often get is that I should send a hand-written card to someone I happen to be thinking of. (In the middle of all the technology around us, I still like sending hand-written cards. Who’d have thought that going “old school” would make you stand out in the Internet age!) My problem is that I often tell myself I’ll do that later. All too often, however, “later” never comes.
This week I had the same thought pop into my head regrading someone I though could use an encouraging note. Only this time, instead of saying I’ll do it later, I took a different approach.
I went to the closet and got out a card and envelop and put it on my desk where I work every day. Then, I determined that I would get the card written during lunch and placed in the mail that same day. And you know what? IT WORKED! I got the card written and sent! Who’d have thought!
Sometimes our biggest barrier to following through on our intentions, is that we lack a plan, no matter how simple, to make it happen. For me, the simple act of getting the card out and naming a time to write in it was all I needed to ensure I followed through on my intention.
The next time your mind offers up a good intention that will bless someone else, don’t just assume you’ll do it later. Put together a quick, simple plan that will ensure you turn that intention into completed action.
The person you’re blessing will be grateful you had a plan.
We’ve all heard how exercise and diet are key components of maintaining good physical health as we age. You’ll certainly get no argument from me about this! However, I do think there’s more than just our physical health that we should consider as part of a healthy lifestyle. We should also keep our minds healthy as well.
Two of the best ways I can think of to develop a healthy mind is to use it, and to be aware of what you’re putting into it.
This is just my opinion, but I think our minds were created to be used. Just like a car is meant to be driven, and a piano is meant to be played, so too our minds were meant to be used rather than to sit idle. By “using our minds”, I mean we should continuously be sharpening them by:
- Exposing them to new and interesting (to us) content
- Learning new skills
- Listening to new, and even opposing ideas
- Talking to people who are different from us
- Connecting with others
In addition to using them, we should also be aware of the content we’re allowing into our minds. If you put gas in your car that is full of debris, it won’t run well. Filling our minds with negative content will have the same effect over time. The content we put into our minds is how we train our think, respond, and form our worldview. I want to put content in my mind that will yield positive thinking, not only now, but well into the future.
So the next time you’re taking a walk, exercising, or doing any other activity that benefits your physical health, take a moment to make sure that you’re also developing a healthy mind as well. Because if you’re like me, you want to age with a heathy body AND mind.
Consider all the things that influence the way you think. The number of inputs is more than we might think, and includes everything from social media, to the books we read, the people we hang out with, the TV shows and movies we watch and books we read. Now consider that each one of these things has influence on how our thinking is formed.
How does that make you feel? Do you like the forming effect these inputs are having on you? If you answered, “Yes”, great! Keep availing yourself to the same kinds of inputs you’ve been receiving.
If you answered, “No”, there’s good news! You can change your inputs, and thereby change how you’re thinking is being formed. What a blessing, and a responsibility. A blessing, because we can decide how were being formed, and a responsibility, because we should take action to ensure that we’re being formed in a way that leads to a positive, abundant life.
The question isn’t whether our thinking be formed, but rather how it will be formed. Let’s decide how we want our thinking to be formed and ensure that we’re consuming the right inputs to get us there.
I’m amazed at how often answers to prayers come through other people. From kind words, to words of encouragement, to generous acts, to numerous other things, other people are often the chosen vehicle God uses to answer prayer.
What’s particularly interesting about this, is that we not only receive God’s blessings through others, but WE can be a vehicle that God uses to answer the prayers of others! How cool is that!
The next time you feel like you should say something kind to someone, or take an action that benefits someone else, not matter how small or insignificant it may seem, don’t hesitate. Do it right away. You just may be the vehicle that God wants to use to answer someone’s prayer.