Tag: Kindness

The Lesson of Making Friends Slowly

I was watching an episode of The Rifleman. Yeah, I’m that chick who watches old black and white westerns. Don’t judge me.  Anyways, there was an episode where McCain tells his son Mark,

“You act in haste son, you repent in leisure. It’s best to make friends slowly.”

I’ve learned recently the importance of allowing the friendships in my life to happen slowly. This is actually true for all of my relationships, romantic too.  If we do things in a hurry or act impulsively without thinking of the consequences, we’ll regret it.

One of the fruits of the Spirit is patience. God wants this fruit cultivated in us, not only in our character but in our relationships. 

In my own life, I’ve been so appreciative of the people who have been patient with me. The ones who have stuck by me when I wasn’t so loving. They’ve taken the time to get to know me and have helped me out of several pits I’ve found myself in this past year. Whether it was a phone call, a chocolate cake delivered to my front door, a card telling me how awesome I am, a card just letting me know they were thinking of me or something simple like a hug, I’m reminded occasionally I am so loved. There’s something special about these friendships that sets them apart.

These friendships have taken months and years of intentional face to face time and weren’t deepened hastily.

Recently, I’ve had to have hard conversations with the people in my life. The uncomfortable but needed kind.  Had these conversations happened without us deepening our relationship with each other over several years, the conversation would have gone differently. There were tears. Not from hurt, but from knowing deep down it was truth spoken in love. I also have friends in my life who we haven’t quite gotten to this point in our friendship, so it’s going to take more time. I tried but quickly learned it wasn’t the right time. Our hearts have to be prepared first.

God is never in a hurry with anything. Amazing how often we hurry through life making decisions or saying things without going to Him first. Allowing Him to work in our hearts and deepen the roots of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control in us. 

Things done in haste often lead to unnecessary hurt. Which isn’t really worth it in the end. I have a hard time trusting people who do things without thinking of the consequences first. I know I was this person for most of my life until God did some hard work (He still is) in my heart. It’s none of my business though what people do with their life, dealing with myself is hard enough. But there are people in my life who I love and care about deeply, the ones who I’m willing to die for and you know what?  They deserve my patience. Patience with my words, my actions, my everything.

The important things in our life take time. Let those things happen slowly without haste. Your life will be better for it, mine definitely is.

In Jesus and with love,

Julie

 

 

What Jury Duty Taught Me About Life

I was summoned for Jury Duty on Monday and I dreaded it for months. I received the letter back in June and I counted down the awful days until I had to make the trek downtown to serve my time. Monday morning came and anxiety consumed me. It was raining buckets and traffic was horrible. All I could think was, Really, God?  I found the entrance, entered a crowded room, and approached a woman at a podium taller than me. For people who had an issue (medical, personal, or otherwise) they had to sit and wait. So, I sat and waited.

I sat in the second row towards the front off to the side and scanned every face in the room.  A woman nine months pregnant sat in the front row. A man in a wheelchair sat in the back with his mother. A college student sat in the front row and read a magazine. An elderly man with a cane sat in the middle row. But the person I noticed more than anyone in the entire room was a man sitting in front of me who was reading the Bible on his tablet. I smiled.  That entire morning I saw nothing good about my day ahead. Seeing this man made me take a step back and reflect on how I view life and  people I encounter daily.

For those of you who are not familiar with Jury Duty it’s pretty much a waiting game. I had to wait for my name to be called and wait to give my reason for not being able to serve. What seemed like forever, it was probably one of those life experiences’ I will always remember. For the first time in my life I got a real glimpse into humanity.

I was able to see through each individual in that room, listen to their struggles, and understand that sometimes a person’s struggle is unseen and grace is beating below my shallow surface.

The pregnant woman’s struggle was obvious – she was due any minute. But the rest of the stories I listened to that morning made me emphasize with others more. I listened to a story of a woman whose mother is dying and she is her primary care taker. I listened to a woman who has high blood pressure and without warning passes out. I listened to the man in the wheelchair who couldn’t serve due to his disability and transportation issues. I listened to a story of a man who is leaving the country to serve in the military. I listened to the woman whose boyfriend was a convicted felon.

All these stories resonated with me. More deeply, these stories redefined how I think of and treat others.

It’s easy as a believer to only associate with other believers – relate to them, connect with them, and love them. But, I want more. Every face in that room was a beating heart of struggle. Whether they were lying to get out of serving, I’m doubtful. I’ll be honest and say it was my first thought, until I listened to their voices while they shared their struggle and current burden. I heard them in their voices and saw the pain of life in their eyes as they approached the woman at the podium.

It made me want to meet them in their struggle and carry their burdens, because theirs were deeper than mine.

I will never forget the lady at the podium either. Her name  was Marsha. Most of the stories she heard that morning she excused almost all of them and they were free to go.  I was one of them.  She made me think what it would be like when I stand before God and have to  give Him an account of my life.  Marsha showed more patience, kindness, and grace that morning than any person I have ever met face to face.  She emphasized with every heart in that room, including mine.  The way God unconditionally and continually shows His love, kindness, patience, and grace with us.

Being in that room restored my faith and hope in humanity.

I encountered so many different people that morning. State prisoners, elderly, disabled, pregnant, young, old, and people like me. I left that room a changed person internally. While I waited for my ride, I shared my umbrella with an elderly woman in the pouring rain. I said good morning to a state prisoner who was hauling trash to a nearby dumpster and I smiled at every face that met my eyes as I waited. For the first time in a year, I could feel the heart of Jesus in me.

I will always remember this experience and know Jesus was there.

Colossians 3:12

12 Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.

Would you?