Some people look at their lives and say, “Poor me.” They look at their home and wish it were bigger, better, or more organized. They look at their bodies and feel like they don’t measure up. They look at their spouses, their kids, and themselves and the flaws become their focus. I’ve found the best way to beat these feelings of inadequacies is to get out and give. Helping other people not only takes our focus off our shortcomings, but it makes us feel better about ourselves. More than that, we touch lives and connect hearts!
Here are four ways to C-A-R-E.
- C – Consider. Think about a time in your life when someone made an impact on you. Maybe it was a special teacher or your favorite coach. Maybe it was a caring family who reached out to you when you were down on your luck. Or perhaps just the kind words from a considerate friend. After you think about a way you were impacted, consider how you can touch someone else’s life in the same way. For me, I clearly remember the love and care expressed to me when I was a pregnant teenager. Instead of looking down on me, my mother and grandmother’s friends loved and support me. They gave me a baby shower. They encouraged me to be the best mom I could be. Remembering this, I started helping teenage mothers in my area. I’ve made wonderful friends, and I’ve encouraged these young women to do great things!
- A – Act. It’s one thing to consider great things. It’s another to act on them! After I decided to reach out to teen mothers, I found an organization that would give me help and support. I also recruited friends to help. Soon we had a weekly support group attended by thirteen mentors and 25 young women. Everyone was blessed—both those who received and those who gave.
- R – Reflect. After we start giving, caring and serving, it often becomes easy to “get caught up in the motion.” We get used to helping people and sometimes we forget to appreciate what’s really happening on deeper levels. I like to spend my morning quiet time reflecting on the events of the previous day, writing down notes of thanksgiving for the smallest successes. For example, the fact that a young mom has continued to visit the support group is a huge success. Or to see a young mom speak kindness instead of anger to her child is another success. I also like to write notes of thanksgiving for all that I’ve been given. When I realize God has given me the resources, ability, and desire to serve, then the work seems doubly worth the effort.
- E – Enjoy the process. In all areas of life we often focus on a goal and strive to get there as soon as possible, but it’s a whole other gift to enjoy the process. Whether you realize it or not, we do set goals for others. If we are taking the time to care, we want to see them improve. Yet, sometimes if we’re focused too much on the final product, we don’t enjoy the daily steps: the encouraging words, the smiles, the laughter, and even the tears. Life is happening today and it should be enjoyed through every step.