How about a Summertime challenge?

wpid-appreciateyourlife

Day after day I go about attending to the different errands on my “to-do” list; hustling and bustling through traffic to accomplish my goals.   It’s very easy to go in and out of banks, grocery stores, gas stations, and even the post office without paying any real attention to the individual who is serving me.

It was 2 years ago when I found myself feeling quite convicted about the fact that I could be so busy minded that I rarely acknowledged those who are so helpful in the service industry. It’s been 2 years since I began to challenge myself to slow down, to take time to get eye contact and start a conversation with whoever served me in some way.

Over the past 2 years I have had the joy of hearing coffee baristas thank me for being kind or being patient. I have gotten to know any of the sweet people at my local Albertson’s store; their stories, their challenges,  even sharing stories from their family life. I was recently told that I am known as “the nice lady” there.   I have learned how powerful a compliment, a thank you, and a smile can be in the middle of someone’s workday.

Cost to me? Time, it takes more time to engage with people. It does take me longer to do my errands but I think it’s so worth it.

I don’t share any of this to make myself sound “so nice”.  I have really had to grow in this aspect of my life. However, summertime is a time when these folks work even harder, there are more tourists and activities that can put stress on those who serve our needs each day.

So how about a summertime challenge? What if you commit to taking a few extra minutes out of your day to connect with those at the grocery store, Starbucks, gas station, and eateries? Watch and see how when you encourage them you will also feel encouraged.

There’s a lot of busy, irritable people out there! How about we shine our light anew this summer?  🙂

Are They Random or Divine?

Have you ever gone to the grocery store, coffee shop, gas station, or medical office with the intent to accomplish your personal tasks when “out of the blue” you run into someone and find yourself in a short yet richly meaningful conversation?

In those encounters have you ever felt you were a meaningful source of encouragement or that you yourself walked away richly encouraged? I have!  Throughout my life I have had many of these moments that left me pondering, scratching my head and thinking “wow, I didn’t expect that today!”

I imagine I may have missed so many of these “unique connections” over the years simply by keeping a schedule so tight that I don’t even think I took time to look at those around me at all~~no margins to care.

Lately I have been trying to change the way I hustle through my day.  I have been trying to look people in the eye, to smile, or to engage in small chatter as I move through my tasks.  I have tried to choose to really listen, to care enough to pay attention and in doing so I have come to an interesting conclusion.

It appears to me that nothing happens by chance, in fact I believe these encounters are sacredly divine. In a world of disconnect, I suspect that God desires that people find connection throughout their days enough to orchestrate it, IF we are paying attention!  I find this exciting, because we never know what He might do in us and through us within the hustle and bustle of our busy lives.

We all face challenges, hurts, points of sadness, loneliness, and uncertainty.  In some of my lowest points a surprise encounter with a friend or a kind stranger has turned my day around.

Think about your own life…..Has God arranged some of these moments for you?  Imagine what God could do if we were all fully committed to watching and making room in our schedules for those moments!

Next time you go to the grocery store, test my theory and look someone in the eye, smile, and see what God might do! 🙂

Proverbs 16:24                                                                                               

Kind words are like honey–sweet to the soul and healthy for the body.