Sunday, March 11, 2012

Bright Ideas

When was the last time you did something that was uncomfortable? I am not referring to squeezing into your skinny jeans, I am referring to something that pushed you outside your daily comfort zone. Have you ever had the urge to call someone that you haven't spoken with in months and you don't know why you have a desire to call them, you just do? Do you call them or do you make an excuse of why you can't call them; "I don't have time", "I don't know what to say" or "The last time we spoke it didn't go well and I am not in the mood to do to that again." There are a multitude of excuses, but the bottom-line is it makes you uncomfortable and we don't like being uncomfortable (unless it is in the name of fashion).

Are we afraid? Does this go back to the Fear that I discussed earlier, where some of us like it and some of us don't? I don't think so. I love scuba diving with a 500lb Grouper chasing me but the idea of telling a stranger I think they have a beautiful smile terrifies me! But every so often I get the urge to tell a complete stranger they are beautiful, they made me smile with their kindness or that their children are making me laugh even though they are making them crazy. Why is this so hard? It's not like I am consenting to jump out of a plane, it is a few words that may change the course of their day. I know this because kind words from a stranger or not so stranger have changed the course of my day many times. How wonderful does it feel to have someone smile at you and say, "your smile has brightened my day" or "I love your shirt"? It makes you stand a little taller and feel a little stronger, doesn't it? How about those times you have had a horrific day at work and you aren't sure you are going to survive the night, but the simple task of getting the mail becomes a day changer. There, in the midst of the bills, junk and catalogues is a small envelope addressed to you from a high school friend that you haven't spoken with in years. The note is short and sweet saying, 'I just had you on my heart and wanted to say hello! I hope all is well'. At that moment your heart warms, your frown cracks and everything gets a little easier.
If you want to believe this is a coincidence please do. I, however, choose to believe it is something so much cooler than coincidence. Let's consider this specific event. Sometime, about a week prior to my crappy day, someone that I rarely speak to, (with exception of 'likes' and 'LOL's' on Facebook),  decided to write me a note. She then placed it in the mail to be delivered on the very day that I needed an unexpected smile. I choose to believe that God knew I was going to need to smile that night and he put a desire in my friend's heart that COULD make it happen. The trick to making this chain of events work is that when that little voice said, "Hey I should send Emily a card" my friend didn't make excuses or worry about what I would think, she just did it and the 'plan' worked.

His plan. Worked.

Another example of this phenomena is I love to send snail mail cards. I really, really enjoy sending hand-written, old-fashioned cards. I know this is not the new fancy way of communication. I could e-mail, text, message or poke someone but, its just not the same (especially the 'poking' that is just strange). There is something about having tangible proof that someone thought about you and followed through on that thought all the way to the post office.  Sometimes I have a purpose, sometimes I just have a desire to let someone know that I am thinking about them. But no matter the inspiration for the card it never ceases to amaze me how many times these cards are delivered on the exact day the recipient needs it. It also amazes me that even though I really enjoy sending these cards it is still difficult to send them every time someones name pops into my head. The sad thing is, it is not difficult because of any good reason, it is difficult because of the excuses that quickly arrive on the heals of the name. I am busy, I don't have any cards or stamps etc. etc. etc.
I recently asked a bunch of friends to step out of their comfort zones and send a note of encouragement to a friend that most of them did not know. This friend is recovering from surgery and I wanted to express to her that even though she didn't know them a multitude of people would be praying for her as she healed. I knew that asking people to send a card to someone that they didn't know would require them to step outside their comfort zone and I didn't know if everyone would be willing. But they were willing (my friends are amazing) and she received tons of support through random acts of kindness and love from women she had never met. The tug on my heart to do something different, to do something that depended on the willingness of others to do something that was outside the norm has made an incredible impact not only on my friend but me as well.


If we will make ourselves available to add something to the world around us, be a small light in this world, we can make a difference. We will impact each other in amazing and life changing ways. I will testify that it is not easy to reach out, it is easier to make the excuses, look away and pretend the thought never crossed my mind. BUT consider the possibilities if you ignore the excuses and step out of your comfort zone. Look in the eyes of a stranger and acknowledge the desire to speak or reach out, regardless of if it makes 'sense' to you. What if instead of worrying that complimenting a total stranger will make us look strange, we were more concerned with WHY we so desperately want to say something to a stranger. If you step outside yourself and your comfort zone, obey the call in your heart, you may find that you can be the love that somebody desperately needs at that exact moment.

WOW... if we will do this, the future has never looked so bright!

“You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven." Matthew 5:14-16


The spectacular picture above was provided by my friend Patty Christopher, who has become a beautiful light in my life! Please visit her at