I forgot to do a service spotlight last week....oops. So here we are, excited to get exploring the opportunities available! Also, no one has contacted me about joining my humanitarian aid group yet, so let me know! You can still be a part of it long distance! Basically I take out the stressful confusing stuff by picking things we can do, since I love research and I majored in this!
Sometimes I find it stressful to get started on things if I don't know where to look, or I feel like there is so much info I can't decipher what is good, what is dangerous, and what is just plain silly. But I love public health and finding ways to have self improvement. I find serving others teaches me a lot, and I grow spiritually from the experience.
I had a lovely friend who called me after my last surgery. She is older, and we've never gotten together to do anything, but she is the most lovely lady. She wanted to see if I needed a visitor. For some reason I had to cancel, but I saw her the next week at church. She was so sweet and explained how her daughter had commented that the most helpful thing for her when she went through a rough time was when a little old lady from church came over and just listened. She said, "so here I am, you're little old lady friend ready to come listen!"
I thought she was just the sweetest thing, and her personality is really funny, we enjoy watching the interactions between her and her husband in sunday school! But I thought about the point she was trying to make. She was willing to come over and sacrifice her sanity to listen to me talk about anything! How wonderful is that!
And best of all, this service is Free.
Bring the Service to them
I often offer my friends to let me know if they need anything, but it's almost something we just say.
How often have you actually called your friend who offers and take them up on it? Maybe once in a super emergency, am I right? But what I loved about this interaction was that she called me, and offered to come over. Then I didn't need to feel like I was bothering her, or wonder if she really had the time to come, or was just being nice.
Since we are often too polite, we offer help when we don't have money or energy to give, or we don't ask for the help when we need it. By bringing the service to the person in need, you don't need money (except gas in your car to get there) and you don't need tons of energy or special skills. You just sit and listen.
If you aren't able to go and listen, then make a phone call and chat that way. Making contact and letting someone know you are there and ready to comfort them will be a huge blessing. If you feel like this person may need more service that just one call, write a note. Or get ahold of some friends and let them know to call.
When we keep our service simple, and in the scope of what we ACTUALLY can physically, mentally, spiritually, and emotionally do then we will be able to do more. I often want to give all that I have, and then when I'm done I have no energy left for my family time, or things that I need to do in my life.
We are not meant to run faster than we have strength. I don't run, but this still pertains to me. It means that we need to look at our limitations, be ok with them, and keep our efforts within the lines of our limitations.
I think of this like coloring. If we go out of the lines, the colors are beautiful, but it becomes crazy, disorganized, and messy. We can't erase crayon like we can pencil. Same with our limitations. If we exceed them, we can't replace what we have given away until we turn the page and start something new.
Simple Service leads to Frequent Service
When we keep our service simple where it is enjoyable and not too demanding, then we have energy to do more. Wouldn't it be great to be able to serve more people, and do more? It's kind of like dieting. If you eat small bites, you can sample a lot of different desserts at the Vegas buffet. (But in Life, the wasted food is not wasted energy, it will go to something else and not the Vegas garbage cans)
Some situations you do really big service projects, and you can't really take smaller bites and spread yourself around. That is ok, but don't schedule so many huge projects that you can only serve once or twice a year. Many people don't want a lot of time or products of whatever they need. They want to be noticed, remembered, given kindness.
Don't you like those things? Yep, we all do. So keep it simple and you can do more.
You can also let them know you are thinking of them. When I get sick and can't go to church, I really like it when people text or call and say "Hey missed you today, just wanted to let you know I was thinking of you." They don't need to offer help, or ask what happened to serve me and make me feel loved. They are just making you aware they are thinking of you and that you matter.
You can also write notes and leave it on their door, or write a card and send it to them. You don't need to mail long letters, again keep it simple. Just let the people you are serving know you care about them.
Do you have any other ideas on simple, inexpensive ways to serve those around you? Leave a comment and let me know!