Hello Friend! Day Thirty

Hello Friend!

I know I have written about hospitality before but it is such an important offering to humanity. I find I have less of a capacity for it when I am in a rush, with a million things to do. That just isn’t acceptable. I want to do better.

Hospitality is a warm welcome. And, beyond that, it can look as different as the people extending it.

We all have areas where we work and play and wherever there are humans, there is a need for hospitality. A smile, an offer of assistance, a willingness to stop and greet someone and offer a word of welcome. That is hospitality in a basic, though essential, form. It is important for people to be acknowledged and welcomed, especially if they are in a new place.

Where have you felt the most welcomed? What have you done to welcome others?

Take note of hospitality you are shown in the coming days. And consider this post a challenge to be aware of others in your space and make an effort to be welcoming.

See you during Lent!

Liz

Hello Friend! Day Twenty-nine

Hello Friend!

Sometimes my self – control is noteworthy. Other times it is pitiful. It’s almost like I have to schedule it into my day. It needs my focus and attention.

How are you with self – control? Have you found outside accountability helps? Or, if you set your mind to something you are able to stay focused and achieve your goal?

Usually my need for self – control is related to a goal I have set. I have to say “no” to some things in order to see the results in those goal areas. Unfortunately, I seem to always get distracted. I might be a little busy and then I forget I even have the goal unless I have it written down, provided I haven’t misplaced the paper. And it always helps if I have someone on the outside waiting for me to follow through.

I think of all of the fruits of the Spirit I get the most frustrated with my lack of self – control. Depending on what we are talking about, my stick-to-it-iveness struggles. I need Thankfully, God loves me in spite of my flaws. And He knows my heart, even if I don’t achieve all my goals this side of Heaven.

Have you found the key to your self – control challenges? What makes you more likely to have success?

Love,

Liz

Hello Friend! Day Twenty-eight

Hello Friend!

I love to be around gentleness. It warms my heart to be in a store and overhear a mom or dad lovingly explaining something to their inquisitive child.

While there are times that strong/harsh words are necessary, I feel like they should be used as a last resort. I don’t like all the stress and tension that travel with harsh words. It can cloud a room.

It can cloud a life.

It is easy to poke back when someone is trying to rile you up, so it is important to have control over your emotional responses. There are people who just love to cause a stir with their words. And if you poke people just for fun, I am not sure we will be friends.

Gentleness is a fruit of the Spirit!

Think about your method of correction and conversation. Are you intense? Are you calming? Are you harsh? Are you gentle?

Love,

Liz

Hello Friend! Day Twenty-seven

Hello Friend!

What does faithfulness look like to you?

I see it when an adult child tends to an aging parent or when there is illness and disability within a family and, together, they are able to manage the needs. I see it in friendships that cross time zones, cultural barriers, generations, ideological differences, and continents. However, people do fall short. God never does.

In spite of all I have done or not done, there is God — abounding in love. Slow to anger. Justified, loving. His mercies are new every morning. And that, my friend, is faithfulness. He loves me. He loves you. Always.

But you, Lord, are a compassionate and gracious God,
    slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness.
Psalm 86:15 NIV

Where have you been faithful? Who models that for you?

We will always fall short. Those in our lives will always miss the mark, somewhere along the line. A part of our faithfulness to God means we extend His grace to others. Our behavior can give others a glimpse of how His love and faithfulness can look.

Love,
Liz

Hey Friend! Day Twenty-six

Hey Friend!

I love to be around people with high integrity. It always tugs at me to do better … to stretch myself a little more. I don’t always do the right thing, unfortunately. Sometimes, I am in a mood. Or distracted. Goodness doesn’t always seem to flow out of me naturally.

Of course, there is sin in the world. There is evil and ugliness and death and destruction all around us. And it is easy to let those negative things impact my behavior. Being able to be near goodness is something that inspires and encourages me. When I am around honesty and innocence and purity, it makes me thirsty for more.

I am blessed to be living near two little bundles of goodness. They are about as near to perfect as they can be and I get to see them quite a bit! Neither one is very fussy and when they smile at me or fall asleep in my arms, it feels like goodness to me.

When I get a glimpse of beauty on Earth, I know it is from our Creator. God is beauty, honesty, goodness, and true perfection. His Word is a consistent source of encouragement for me. When my roots are in God’s Word, goodness will grow!

Find spots of goodness and beauty. Cultivate it in your life as much as you can! Some have the gift of finding the beauty in their everyday life, and some have the gift of making beauty. If we bloom where we are planted, we can inspire others with goodness and beauty.

Love,
Liz

Hello Friend! Day Twenty-five

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. Galatians 5:22-25 NIV

Hello Friend!

Sometimes I can be very harsh with myself. If I said the words in my head out loud, I wouldn’t want me for a friend. It’s true, there is a time for tough love but when I know the ins and outs of my days and my life and I can’t give myself a break then I know I am overwhelmed and I need to create some space.

When I create space, I get very focused and start kicking the troublesome things out of my life. I buckle down. I make decisions I have been waffling on (sometimes, time is not your friend). And I purge enough so I can breathe again. I take a deep breath and restart my devotional time. I find life giving verses and find a study that refreshes my spirit. I look to God for the answers and the peace and the forgiveness I am so desperate for.

And then it all starts over again.

When I am impatient with myself, I am impatient with everyone else, too! I go through seasons of being too patient and not patient enough. If I really like you, I can be ridiculously patient. If I don’t particularly jive with your personality and I happen to be in a bad space, I have zero patience and even less tolerance for shenanigans.

Patience is a fruit of the Spirit. Hello Friend! If I am not intentionally in God’s Word and giving Him my day and seeking His face, you will know by my lack of “fruit”. It’s okay for you to point that out to me. When I am distracted and getting to the end of my reserves, all of these “fruits” are in jeopardy. I can see it happening so easily in others but I am not so fast to see it in myself. It’s like a slow fade until I hit the bottom and my reserves are spent.

This is a perfect season for a restart! What is it that has crept in and taken your prayer and Scripture study time? Sometimes we allow things to move into our lives but it means we need to move other things out. If you want to display the fruits of the Spirit in your life, time with God should not be the negotiable item.

Love,
Liz

Hello Friend! Day Twenty-two

Hello Friend!

Each and every day we have many opportunities to be kind to those around us: we can open a door, allow a vehicle to merge without expressing annoyance, anticipate and meet a need.

Do we do kind deeds for a positive response or do we do a kind deed for the sake of being kind? It is worth thinking about. I think of kindness more as something for others even though it is one of those things that is a little bit for me too. I need to be more kind. It is good for me to give, even if I am not thrilled in the moment. But, most of the time, I like humanity and people and I don’t mind being kind.

Someone I know recently opened a door at a convenience store for a stranger whose hands were full. The stranger did not respond with a “thank you”. It would have been polite but it didn’t happen.

Sometimes I don’t even notice when someone is being kind to me because I am in my own little world!

The person who opened the door was annoyed at the lack of expected appreciation and snidely commented, “Well, you are welcome!” This lead to a few tense and explicit exchanges in the store in front of who knows how many people.

Folks, before we do something “kind”, let’s consider our motivation and expectations. While recognition for a kindness extended might be nice it is far better to offer it with no strings attached. It might go unnoticed and unappreciated. That’s can be okay. In doesn’t mean the kindness didn’t happen: it simply wasn’t acknowledged. When we do a kind deed for someone we don’t know, we really have no idea what is going on in their lives. I find it easier to not have expectations.

But for those people I do know? I admit, sometimes I do have expectations when I do something kind. But how often do I not even recognize or respond to a kindness extended to me. I think it is more often than I realize. I am often wrapped up in my own concerns. And to think I know what is really going on in lives of others. Do I really? I have a lot of things going on in my heart and mind that I don’t share all the time so I am sure the people I know also have things they have going on in their family and friend circle, with their health, with their faith….

The point is that it is good to consider our motivation when giving. If it is a gift, there should be no strings attached. Extending grace through words or deeds is a huge kindness that might not even be recognized until much later (if ever) but is a beautiful gift to give anyway.

Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity. Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone. Colossians 4:5-6 NIV

Love,
Liz