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Thursday, March 21, 2013

30 Day Kindness Challenge

Kind words do not cost much. Yet they accomplish much.  
Pascal, Blaise

Proverbs 14:1 has always intrigued me. "Every wise woman buildeth her house: but the foolish plucketh it down with her hands." This verse is powerful but so vague. I mean, how does a wise woman build her house. This verse isn't specific on how a wise woman builds her house. The more I read it, the more I envision a woman taking bricks and building it one by one; or on the opposite side, the foolish, taking one brick at a time and throwing it down. So, what might these bricks be? I believe the bricks might be: self control, kindness, discernment, compassion, love, understanding, meekness, humility, patience, joy, communication, grace, mercy, forgiveness, and faith. You might think that these bricks are so "cliche". But, if you really think about it, these bricks can have a positive outcome or a negative outcome when they are neglected. If you have a husband and children you will really understand what I am about to say.....sometimes our children and our husband get to us. Now, I know we feel bad admitting it, but we are human. However, we can choose our response and attitude. Let's think of it in literal terms: building a house with bricks takes time and patience. That is how it is building a "home". It takes time and patience, when the toddlers have spilled their juice all over the freshly mopped floors. It takes time and patience, when our husbands forget to pick up after himself, after you just cleaned the house. It takes time and patience, when the children have literally yelled and screamed and pushed and hit each other ALL day! It takes time and patience when your tired, over worked husband comes home and falls asleep, while you are trying to have the first adult conversation all day! Yes, I have experience all of the above and more. And, sometimes, I loose it! Sometimes, I can say mean things; or hold grudges, or not be so understanding of the situation. But, each time we choose to react in the flesh and in a selfish way, it is almost like we are taking a brick and casting it down. We are sometimes our own enemy! We might put one brick up today because we reacted in patience; but later, we might loose our temper and say some harsh things and just cast down 4 bricks! Think about how many bricks you build when you react in a calm, loving voice, or when you have a compassionate, understanding heart, or when we choose to bite our tongues and reply with grace. I am not saying these things are easy. I believe building a "home sweet home" is very hard work! It takes dedication and determination. Learning to respond with calmness and kindness instead of rage is very hard and it takes purposeful discipline. Ask yourself, "How bad do I want it? How bad do I want my home to be a "safe haven".  How bad do I want my children to have the confidence and ability to face the mean world?" You know, I believe, the "mortar" to our bricks, is to be able to admit your own faults and failures. I have young children, but when mommy looses her cool, I try to apologize to them. They might not understand it now, but it will be something I instill in them at a early age. The thing I want my children to remember most is not that Mommy was perfect; but that Mommy could admit when she would make a mistake. I want to instill in my children that God doesn't expect perfection; He expects a mold-able heart. And, what better way to demonstrate God's Love to them, then to be "real" with them. Let them know, God loves us and forgives us when we make a mistake. Start your day out by praying and asking God to help you build bricks not cast them down. I know from experience that this is no simple or easy task. I am challenging myself to a 30 day  Kindness challenge. I am going to try to not loose my cool and to respond with kindness for a whole month! {GULP!} It is going to be hard - I know (I have already had to choose kindness over anger before I was even finished with this post)! I will post next month how it went! I would love for others to join me, and then let me know how it went for you. Responding with kindness instead of anger takes discipline, prayer from yourself; and encouragement and prayer from close friends around you. Let's offer encouragement to mothers around us - we don't know their story or their struggles; we all could use a kind word! 

For another great article with some great tips read: Don't Lose Your Cool As a Mom- 10 ideas to help you diffuse your anger when a child misbehaves