Do you do things on purpose or do you allow yourself to be carried along by the stream?
When we look at our days, we can throw up our hands and give up, saying that it’s out of control and there’s nothing we can do.
When we look at our days, we can accept what is out of our control and take responsibility for the rest.
The catch is that we are responsible for how we use our time, whether we respond well or try to avoid that responsibility. The choice is ours to work diligently or not. The attitude we have is also our choice.
Think about this:
Being carried along by flowing water works great IF you want to go where it’s going. If you have another direction or endpoint in mind, the flow is working against you.
So do you know where you should go?
The danger in floating along without knowing the destination is that we may have an unpleasant surprise or disaster coming any minute.
If you have thought about where you are going and what it takes to get there, you are set up to handle the surprises that do come along the way. With purpose, you have reasons and guides for how you adjust. You can keep moving in the right direction, even if that involves a little detour.
- You can love your neighbor with purposeful acts, or you can wish that an occasion comes up at a convenient time.
- You can make time for priorities, or you can hope that they fit in somewhere.
- You can set up an action plan for a responsibility, or you can assume that it will all work out somehow.
- You can work to be kind with deliberate acts and words, or you can just want to be kind.
Why are you doing what you are doing today?
It is good. It is necessary for a healthy community. Someone needs to do it.
Religion that is pure and undefiled before God the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction… (James 1:27)
Some have volunteer opportunities everywhere they turn. Others have limited circles and no known connections. If you want to help others, how do you make it happen?
Know your calling. Why do you want to do anything? What, in a broad sense, are you called to do? Remind yourself of your motivation so that you can serve from the heart and not just off the checklist.
…let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven. (Matthew 5:16)
Know your availability. You can’t give what you don’t have. If you aren’t free 20 hours a week, don’t sign up to work 3 days a week at the neighborhood thrift store. Before you make any decisions about what you will do to offer a cup of cold water to anyone, know when and how much time you can offer.
Know your gifts. What are you good at? If you love nothing more than serving dinner to the entire block, a soup kitchen is probably a good fit. If you are an extrovert and communicate well, leverage those people skills on a one-to-one basis or as a group leader or teacher. If you prefer limited small talk and being outside, check into a list of houses needing yard work or repairs from a local church or agency. Habitat for Humanity is a lot of fun as a group project and serves great needs. I am by no stretch of the imagination a contractor, but I have enjoyed several years of builds with that program.
Know your possibilities. Start asking. Talk to friends. Let people know you are exploring options. Get ideas. Research local agencies. Call places and ask questions about need. Brainstorm. Pull together a list or pool of what might work. Now you have what you need to make a choice.
Enjoy! Put your heart into it and be blessed.