On Wednesdays we are thrilled to fling open the doors to all of YOU! We love hearing your dreaming stories…the lessons you’ve learned, the roads you’ve walked, the dreams He’s planted in your hearts! Today we welcome back Regan Seward to God-sized Dreams. She shares how God has helped her to see the value of investing in kindness, even when others can be hard to love. Thanks for being here today, Regan!
When she speaks she has something worthwhile to say, and she always says it kindly.
Proverbs 31:26 (The Message)
I stood there waiting at the deli counter for my two pounds of shaved turkey, just like I do every other Saturday. We all get into a routine and most of us find ourselves shopping at the same grocery store, and we begin to see familiar faces each time we go. Some weeks it’s the cashier or the door greeter, but this week it was the lady working behind the deli counter God chose to put into my path.
The store was busy, and she was left all alone to do the job of three or four people. As I walked up, I could tell this was going to be a testing of patience on my behalf if I wanted to get my lunch meat. I could tell the employee was not having a good morning; she was stressed and short with the customers in line ahead of me. I could see the women in front of me were put off by the employee’s bad attitude, and they began to snap back in their response.
I stood there and watched as I waited my turn, and I quickly knew that, even though I was about to be greeted by a woman who was agitated and frustrated and what others might call rude, God was opening my heart to see myself in her.
How many times in my own life had I brought my bad mood and baggage to town or work and taken it out on those around me?
I began wondering what this woman may have dealt with hours before she came to work. Was she struggling with a sick child, maybe an unhappy marriage or battling a disease of her own? Had her finances failed her or had her brokenness from the past gotten the best of her this morning?
I knew in my heart she was hurting; the only thing I had was my words, and they needed to be real and they needed to be kind. I couldn’t fix or change her circumstances, but God was asking me only one thing, “Do you see her? Do you see yourself in her?”
The thing is, we as women have a hard time showing kindness when we feel offended or put off. When another woman speaks in a harsh tone to us, we instantly put up a brick wall of standoffishness. I am going to be even more honest here and say that we would rather not put ourselves out there because our own insecurities keep us in chains. Our hearts may be telling us to give this woman a compliment or offer her a kind gesture, but we believe our fears are bigger than the blessing.
Are we really called to be timid and just walk away from the chance to lift the spirit of a sister in need?
Not according to Matthew…
Jesus looked hard at them and said, “No chance at all if you think you can pull it off yourself. Every chance in the world if you trust God to do it.”
Matthew 19:26 (The Message)
What if, before we left the comforts of our own homes, we prayed for a heart wanting to BE the blessing and not looking to BE blessed? We should be asking God to fill us with the ability to see ourselves in other women and to realize that, at the end of the day, we are all the same.
What if we lived everyday desiring to uplift and empower the women we do life with? And maybe we should be walking through the doors of our offices and department stores telling the woman next to us, “I see you.”
The truth is we are all battling something, and if we see each other as a vision of ourselves then it’s pretty difficult not to choose kindness.
That day the woman did sharply greet me with a not-so-friendly tone, but the moment my words to her were gentle, she began to let her guard down. She even thanked me for my patience, and I walked away from that meat counter with a changed heart. The truth is we are all going to have bad days but what I learned that morning was…
If we are walking close enough to Jesus, then we can be brave enough to lay aside our own insecurities to invest kindness into others.
And in that moment, God will strengthen us from the inside out.
Proverbs 31:25, She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come.
Proverbs 31:25 (NIV)
Regan Seward is wife to Russ and mother to three wonderful kids…Bailey (20), Macie (17), and Cole (15). She and her husband own their own insulation business and work together every day. She strives to live in freedom from her past and encourage others who are trying to overcome guilt from their failures and mistakes. She knows firsthand what it feels like to fail in life but hopes to share with others the only true way to overcome it: by living in God’s grace. Then I acknowledged my sin to you and did not cover up my iniquity. I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the Lord.” And you forgave the guilt of my sin. Psalm 32:5 (ESV)
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