10 Ways to Bless away the Stress

I mentioned in a previous post that by being a blessing and serving others, the focus was off of me and my ‘issues’ that were leading to anxiety. I literally was able to bless away the stress. To be quite honest though, that was not my intent, but it was the fruit of it all.
Now mind you, the motive is key.  If you bless others hoping to get something from them in return, you can be very disappointed and if you are not careful it can sow seeds of resentment.

10 ways to Bless away the Stress

1. Get involved in a local fundraiser in your community.
If you are not able to give financially, you can see if there is an area that needs your involvement through volunteering.
My favorite events from the past have been fundraisers for child abuse prevention, cancer research, rare disease awareness, newborn advance screening efforts,  youth groups, pregnancy counseling, school supply drives, and holiday gift baskets.

2. Send texts, cards, or letters of encouragement.  One of my hardest seasons left me very lonely, so I wrote letters to strangers. I encouraged them and shared what was on my heart. I had a PO BOX set up specifically. Remember the key is to encourage and edify, building someone up.
I had many replies back and corresponded for some time. I even obtained a very close friend as an added joy.
If strangers are not your thing, perhaps a pen pal to soldiers, prisoners or the many efforts asking for cards to those that are ill.

3. Leave flowers or your favorite craft on a doorstep to surprise someone. You may want to leave them for a friend, neighbor, or even local business that you frequent.

4. Serve someone that is ill or has a recent loss in the family. Meals, babysitting, dog walking, and house cleaning are all ways that you could bless someone with this need.

5. Give health packs to the homeless. I have handed out packs with water, wipes, soft granola bars, feminine products, socks, hand warmers, etc.

6. Visit the elderly. You could ask the staff at your local elder care facility if there is anyone that has a need for visitors. Or you can offer to set up activities in the common area. We have held Christmas Caroling in the lobby.

7. Far and away. It can be life-changing for you and a blessing to those you serve, to go on a mission trip. There are many options out there to serve all interests. If you are not one that feels comfortable or able to travel, consider supporting someone else’s trip financially.

8. Purchase gift cards and give as the needs arise. Often if families are out of work or have loved ones in the hospital, receiving gift cards can ease the burden.  Grocery stores, Gas stations, and restaurants are some of my favorites. If you know someone that has been under the weather, gift cards for self-care are great too!

9. Engage in conversation. Some of my most blessed moments are conversations in the grocery store with the clerk or encouraging my waitress in some small way. You don’t have to talk for hours. Just a kind word and a thank you can go a long way.

10. Host a community event giving others the chance for connection: Christmas caroling followed by hot chocolate,  lead a bible study or book group at a coffee shop, organize a block party for your neighborhood, or host a game night at a local meeting place are some examples.

I would love to hear more creative ideas, so please share!

Lepers are everywhere

At church today a group was telling us about their experience in India and how blessed they were to have been a blessing. The reaction of the leprous community to touch and respect was heart-moving. The contact with an outsider, meant SO much to them. The man went on to say that even if we can not all travel around the world, there are ‘lepers’ all over our communities, you know the unlovelies… and it got me to thinking.

How many times have I passed by the harried mother that was just screaming at her child because she is so frustrated with her situation, without taking the moment to encourage her? How many children have crossed my path that I have hurried along as they try to talk with me, because I need to be somewhere?

Just recently outside a restaurant a man asked for change and being in a society where a debit card is always used, I truly didn’t have any. Also even if I did I would have hesitated pulling open my purse with a stranger in the dark at ten o clock at night. I went in with my friend to the restaurant and  we had a meal. It wasn’t until laying down to sleep that the thought struck me, I NEED TO KEEP MY MIND and HEART OPEN to opportunities… I could have said, “no I have no change, but are you hungry or thirsty, come and sit with us at the table.” THAT would have taken nothing from me truly, and I would have gained SO much.

There are people in our communities all around us, that we could be giving them the only opportunity of light, and joy that they will see for a LONG time. If I pass them by, how many other people walk on by too?

I can feel completely alone in my community of family, friends, and co workers, how much so would a person that is truly alone? We see them every day; in the grocery store, holding a sign on the corner, at the library, or laying in the grass at the park.

I see how quickly it all can fade away, how quickly people come and go in our lives and our situations can change in an instant. This has happened in my own life, we were set up pretty good  and then went from much to little, how broken one could become when they didn’t have much to begin with and then lose all that they had? They need us, they need encouragement, joy, and someone to CARE.

Challenge this day my friend: Be aware of the needs around us, both emotional and physical. Can we pay that grocery tab of the single woman in line in front of us? Can we grab the cart and return it for the weary? Can we smile and give a bless you with eye contact and wave rather than walk by with our eyes to the ground? Maybe, handing out water to the sign holder and a protein bar  is an option.

It is time to reach out to the Lepers. They are precious in His sight!

Matthew 35: 37-40

“Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink?

 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you?

 When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’

 “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’