Guest Post: Trials Bring Joy
I am so excited to have Chelsea guest posting on the blog today. She is a solid women and has been such a sweet friend to me over the years. Based on her words and actions, you would have no idea what she has gone through over the years while waiting to birth her own children. She shares the light of Christ so beautifully and is such an encouragement to so many, including me. I know her post is going to bless each of you today. Thank you Chelsea for sharing a word with us today!
When Caroline first asked me to guest post for her, my answer couldn’t come fast enough – YES! Caroline is such a blessing in my life, breathing His words to me through her writing. I am honored to be able to share my heart with her readers today, so thank you Caroline for the opportunity!
When praying on what to write about, a lesson that I am learning immediately came to mind. The lesson was inspired by a great message given by Pastor Craig Groeschel about social media. I scribbled down notes through the entire podcast and pieced together this paragraph below with my takeaways:
“Clicking is not caring. Caring demands action. Compassion means doing something. Compassion interrupts. Clicking is clean. Compassion costs something. It’s messy. Compassion changes lives.”
Ooof da. (Sorry, I live in Minnesota, that’s what we say.) These words spoke to me in such a powerful way. In this world of social media with its shared pains and journeys, it becomes so easy for us to respond to friends sharing their hearts by a single button click. “Like”. We may even throw in a brief “praying for you!”. Your grandma passed away? You had a miscarriage? You lost your job? “So sorry! I’m here if you need anything!” But of course no one asks for anything because we don’t live in a world where we ask for or accept help. We suck it up, we cry in bed, we tiredly drag ourselves to the next meeting/class/event and wonder if anyone even remembers that you shared that your dog is sick or that your aunt is in the hospital.
Jesus calls us to care and caring demands action. Caring moves beyond what is convenient. It moves beyond the quick double tap and it writes a card. It picks up the phone and makes a call, with the genuine hopes that it doesn’t go to voicemail (oh the horror!). It doesn’t just comment “if you need dinner, let me know”; caring drops off a meal on the front steps. Caring isn’t easy because it requires a sacrifice on my part. Sacrifice is HARD. But here is what I am learning – compassion, caring actions, and loving attitudes creates a change in me and affects me even more than it might affect the person I am reaching out to. When we open our hearts and let God love others through us, there is an incredible feeling of fulfillment that spreads throughout your body, all the way down to your toes. God uses BOTH sides of caring to do His work in and through us.
The reality is we can’t go around making meals for everyone in need, but we can start by listening to that small gut feeling (the Holy Spirit’s prompting) to do something when we are called. It may be dropping off a coffee at your friend’s door after seeing that her son has been sick and she was up all night. It may be that text message that acknowledges their hardship and checks in a few days later to see how they are doing.
I recently heard Shauna Niequest speak and appreciated this reminder: Do what you can do but only out of love. If you can’t do it out of love and your actions begin to run on another fuel like anxiety, chaos, or bitterness, don’t do it. Maybe that means caring for one person instead of six.
Sometimes I feel like I have become a little numb to the pain and hardships of others. Facebook, Instagram, and blogs are covered with people struggling. I can easily to glance over the pain as I scroll but then this verse from John 13 comes to mind: “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”
The point is clear – others know we are marked by Him when we show compassion, when we care, when we do something when it’s not convenient and when we allow Him to work through us. This means loving with our hearts and not out of obligation.
Would you join me in practicing care and compassion today? Would you join me in moving past a simple click and instead, search for ways to be more authentic and genuine with our actions? I certainly am convicted and praying for each of us as we work to become His hands and feet.
Let’s connect on social media! I blog over at www.trialsbringjoy.com and share my life with you through pictures on Instagram at @chels819. I would love to “meet” you!