So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God. ~1 Corinthians 10:31~
Please read ALL the way to the bottom and see our newest announcement and prayer and art challenge to start August 2, 2015!
Well, first, my apologizes for not posting last week. I had most of the post written, revised it in the car on the way to New Orleans for an art leaders’ conference, only to not have Internet in the hotel room. We could have gotten Internet (for a hefty cost), but when you spend most of the day in meetings elsewhere in the city, we didn’t see the point of spending more money for Internet. So here we go….
While pondering last week’s post (now this week’s post) I read a devotional in The Upper Room (July/August 2015, July 12) talking about how to behave in the house of God. The author of the devotional made a great statement that got me thinking, he said, “I am always in church because my body is God’s temple. If we are walking faithfully with Christ, we will reflect that holiness in our speech, our love, our faith, and our purity – wherever we are”.
As I traveled last week, I thought about how I reflect my holiness when I’m in unfamiliar places or when I’m in a place where I don’t necessarily know everyone.
I realized a lot of what we see and do are seen as worldly “good manners”, but often could be revealed as Heavenly “grace”. Christians struggle, on a daily basis, to live in the “world” while trying to maintain some degree of “holiness”. We tend to have a lot of outward signs that show we are Christians: Cross necklaces, WWJD bracelets (even When We Listen bracelets!), fish magnets, bumper stickers, etc. People then tend to see our stuff, rather than us and when we mess up, oh, Lordie, we’ll hear about it! Well, maybe we won’t hear about it, but I can guarantee I know what they’re saying, “You know she wears that cross necklace all the time and then she cusses like a sailor!” Come on, you know they we do!
So, while traveling last week, I consciously took note of worldly good manners, random acts of kindness, whatever you want to call them and tried to see how my daily interactions could reveal heavenly grace to others.
Here are just a few things I noticed about others and myself:
-Before leaving for NOLA, I helped someone I know, who sorta wears on my patience, with a technical problem. How did it make me feel? To start, I was a bit frustrated, but it made me feel better once I helped and they thanked me.
-I hugged some ladies I barely know, to let them know how much I appreciated them. How did it make me feel? A little awkward at first, but good once I did and they hugged me back.
-While driving, I let a woman cut across the road because no one would let her, then she waved profusely at me as she crossed. How did it make me feel? I felt really good when I saw her smiling face.
Those are little things, but they’re daily stuff you probably do everyday as well.
Then when we arrived in NOLA, things got a little cra-cra. Only the Alabama girls could find themselves in such predicaments!
We (the 3 Alabama gals and the Kentucky prez and her husband) headed out for a day of sightseeing in NOLA. Before we could leave the hotel, one of the other drivers in our makeshift convoy had car trouble, so we stopped to help. We got her car started and headed out to join the rest of the group.
To make a long story short, we made a wrong turn in the French Quarter putting us in the parking lot of a train depot and loading docks. Before we could get turned around and back across the tracks, a train, a very long train (267 cars +!) came through the yard and stopped! We were literally stuck on the “wrong side of the tracks” for about an hour!
Unable to get to our tour of historic NOLA homes, we decided to find the fun in our predicament. We started noticing the cool graffiti scrawled all over the train cars. We took pics of the cars and made goofy pics of ourselves around the port-a-potty.
We were not the only ones stuck waiting for the train. A sales rep there to serve the Port Authority’s copy machine was stuck. A Port Authority employee making inspections was also stuck. So, we decided to strike up conversations with them. We exchanged pleasantries and laughed about our situations. We learned how PVC pipe is made (the warehouse and loading dock held huge bags of the powder resin used to make PVC pipe), so we learned something new.
In short, we made lemonade out of lemons.
We eventually caught up to our group and of course, were the butt of many jokes the rest of the week. What struck me about the response was not the joking, because come on, it was funny, but it was people telling us they were impressed by our “graciousness” in how we handled the situation. That struck me as odd because that’s just us, we all have very laid back personalities and rarely get upset over things, but still, it stuck with me.
On the way home from NOLA, Tammie (our trusty driver) noticed the tire light came on signaling one of the tires was low. We stopped to check it out. Needless to say, it was extremely low and she found a nail logged in the tread.
Not wanting to take a chance on it blowing while on the road in the heat of a Southern summer, we started talking about what we should do. Out of nowhere (okay, he was parked next to us) a guy came around our car to ask if we needed any help. He was actually there helping a family member getting their car towed.
He took a look at the tire and said we should have it checked out. He and the tow truck driver told us where to find a tire shop so we thanked them and set out to find it.
We got to the first tire shop (I say first because you know this story can’t end that easily!) only to find it closed an hour earlier. Seeing a pattern here?
We then found a Auto Zone, asked them where to find another tire place, called them and found out they were open until 7PM (on a Saturday none the less!). As we pulled into the packed parking lot, we noticed every parking space was filled and every garage had a vehicle being worked on. You guessed it….we were in line for about an hour.
Again, we decided to make lemonade out of the lemons we were served. We took our laptops, books, and phones in to entertain us and make more goofy pics while we waited.
Actions Speaking Volumes
I tell you all this to reiterate the point of this post: without even realizing it, we were walking out our faith wherever we were. We met some awesome people along the way. People willing to step out of their own predicaments to offer us help. People stuck just like us willing to join in our laughter about the situation. And people just using good manners in their day-to-day activities.
We three are believers, so it helps when you’re surrounded by fellow Christians, but it also offered us several opportunities to share our grace with others in places we never dreamed we would be.
And because I was working on this post, it really made me think about how we were treating others and how others treated us. I found myself wondering if the people who were showing us “good manners” were believers. There was no outward sign they were, but their actions spoke volumes.
This week, I am serving with my church’s GROW Conference. This is a conference where pastors and church leaders come from all over the world (Literally! I met ministers from Texas, Michigan, South Africa, AND Germany just last night!) to learn how to grow their churches and their memberships. You would think I would be the one doing all of the random acts of kindness, but I have a feeling I will be blessed as much as others this week.
So, here’s my challenge to you: Take a day (or if you’re really ambitious, try it for a week) and purposely do things that would be considered good manners or random acts of kindness to whomever you meet. Write it down sort of like I did above and write how it made you feel. You might be surprised how often you do things for others and how often others do things for you.
Question: Have you showed your “grace” to anyone lately? Has someone else showed you “grace” in a way you remember? PLEASE share your stories with us below.
****Excited to announce an upcoming prayer & art event*****
Go to the Art Stuff tab and see the announcement about the first Creative Awakenings 21-Day Pray Challenge to start August 2!
Also go to the Art Stuff tab and see pics from the 1st Prayer Painting Workshop at the Vine and Branches Baptist Church in Castleberry, Alabama.