It Only Takes a Second...

Have you noticed that the holidays bring out both the best and the worst of us? It's such a wonderful time of celebration, family and friends, pausing to remember the miracle of Christmas and the greatest gift of all. But it's also a time where our already busy schedules get packed to the fullest, we find ourselves overwhelmed and tired and while we are thankful for so many good things, we can also have to face some of our biggest fears and longing desires head on. Somehow these times of nearly continual parties, gatherings and dinners can feel like the loneliest, especially if we are trying to balance working through grief and fear in a multitude of public forums. But if we can manage to stay tuned in to the Holy Spirit during this busy season (which I will take a moment to remind both you and me that our relationship with God is the primary and really only reason for celebrating this season), we'll find that He often prompts us to support and encourage each other so we don't have to go through this emotional, wonderful and sometimes down right hard season alone. You may just have the opportunity to play a vital role in this or you may be on the receiving end of it. Either way, pay attention and you will likely find yourself surrounded with God's blessings both during this holiday season and throughout the year.

Sometimes it only takes a second to change someone's whole day. Think back to a time recently that you were a bit down or stressed. Maybe you weren't feeling well. Maybe life had thrown you one too many blows that day. Perhaps bad news just came in from the doctor's last round of tests, or you find yourself struggling to find peace and joy in a relationship. Maybe your toddler was having one of those special days where nothing can be said unless it comes out as a whine or with tears. Think back to a time when you found yourself in a tough situation like these and you get a text or phone call from a friend that was just thinking about you and wanted to say hello. That little bit of sunshine can go a long way to changing your mood, your perspective, your attitude. It can go a long way towards strengthening your faith. 

Have you ever been on the other end of that? Have you ever been going about your day and all of a sudden there is a friend that you cannot get off your mind? Maybe it's someone close or someone you've only talked to a couple of times, but they are there, burned into your every waking thought. What do you do? Do you think to yourself, "yeah, I need to call so-and-so soon" and just add it to your to-do list? Or do you take just a second and send them a message to say you're thinking about them, praying for them or want to get together with them soon? I've done both. I hate to admit that there were times I was "too busy" and brushed off the thought, and missed out on an opportunity to be used by God to potentially bless someone I care about. There are other times I've been obedient. I've sent an email, text, phone call and just told my friend they were on my mind and I was praying for them. Not always, but so many times, their response was so overwhelming. Time after time I've gotten responses like "oh you have no idea how much that means to me. I'm having the worst day, or I just got some terrible news, etc." And in that second, we are both blessed - my friend because they were encouraged in a moment of need, and me because I allowed the grace of God to move. 

I am convinced that there are times when God places someone on our hearts and minds and asks us to be obedient. He wants us to put down what we're doing and pick up the phone. God moves so often times through human connections. He uses us to speak His words of encouragement and love to others. He uses us to build others up when they are down. He uses us to refocus each other on Him and His word. But we have to be obedient, and it only takes a second...

Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.
— 1 Thessalonians 5:11
Finally, brothers and sisters, rejoice! Strive for full restoration, encourage one another, be of one mind, live in peace. And the God of love and peace will be with you.
— 2 Corinthians 13:11

Especially during this incredibly busy time of year, be sensitive to this. If you find that someone is on your mind, drop by with a coffee or pick up the phone and call them. Write them a little note or send little happy their way. You may be the voice of God speaking to them to lift their spirits. 

If someone surprises you with an unexpected phone call or visit on your tough day, don't turn them away. Hug them and thank God for sending you His grace by way of a friend or co-worker.

Let us not miss His goodness and graceful provision because of our busyness. It only takes a second... to be used by God to change someone's day.