Routines have begun to be so important to me. In the past few months of trying to get my life together, I’ve started to value the importance of schedules and planners and adjusting my daily routine. I’ve started to develop a nightly routine in the last few months, and every night is always the same for me now. I put down my phone first, as I reflect on the day. Then, I talk to God about it, as well as the day that’s to come. I talk to him about my friends and family, about what’s on my mind and what’s on my heart. I ask him to bless my sleep. And always always I end my night reading Psalm 4 (so much different than my old nightly routine, but so much better). One thing that I always speak to God about is being a light.
I have a good friend who always told me to be light, be a light, be a light to everyone around me. I had heard it before, but the way this person reminded me almost every day really changed something in me. When I added this to my nightly conversation with God, I began asking him use me as a light to anyone who’d need it the following day. I started praying to be put into situations to show his love to other people. As this became more and more of a routine conversation, I started noticing changes in my life. Last week, for example, eight of my friends either called or texted me asking for prayers for certain situations taking place in their lives. I really felt like God was answering my prayer to show his love to others by this, as well as preparing my heart for leadership. Taking on people’s burdens is tough when they’re all placed on you at once. It becomes twice as hard when you’re also going through something. But I tried to accept this with as much grace as I could.
Fast forward to last night, when I prayed that prayer again to be put into situations where people could see God through me. And fast forward to today, when I had one of those days that is full of tiny frustrations. I’ve always struggled with patience, so no surprise that when I realized this was an area to focus on, my patience has been tested tremendously in the last few days. Today though, I was in the worst traffic going to the bank because my card wasn’t working (found this out the fun way- with a basket full of groceries at the store) and they couldn’t fix it over the phone. You know those days when people on the roads are just all absolutely crazy? Well, that was today. And people I interacted with today were all so rude. When I walked in the bank extremely frustrated, God spoke to me. Actually, he convicted me.
All this time I’ve been praying to “be a light” and “show other people his love through me” and thinking that I was doing such a great job because my friends were coming to me and I was helping them. Or I wasn’t being impatient (or as impatient as I used to be) with my mom. But what about the guy who cut me off in traffic? What about the rude lady on the phone from the bank? What about the man walking across the street who made me slam my brakes so I didn’t hit him? These were the people God was sending me to be a light to, and I was failing miserably. Was I mean to them? No. But was I Jesus to them? No. Just because I wasn’t having road-rage or cursing at the woman on the phone doesn’t mean anything. There are lots of people in the world with no connection to God that do this on a daily basis. But me, a person with the Spirit living in me? I believe I’m called to a higher standard. Simply not being rude back is not enough – all that shows is self-control. So what to do? Smile at them. Speak kind words to them. Pray for them. And thank God for putting them in your path so that you can pray for them. Rude people expect people to be rude back. Or, they expect people to be tolerable back. They do not ever ever ever expect overwhelming kindness back. This is what will make them question, make them think, make them feel something good. It might be the only good thing they feel all day.
My challenge to myself this week, on this gloomy Monday, is to look for these people that God is putting into my days that I’ve neglected to see. To find at least one person every day to go out of my way to be kind to and to pray for. To truly see what it means to be a light to others.