We just keep truckin’ right along, don’t we?! We’re more than halfway through this twelve month challenge (of finding the bliss in our lives!) and I can’t believe it. I’m SO happy to be doing this with you all – thank you to everyone who has joined me each month! **If you are interested in joining me and the rest of this fabulous group of bliss seekers, it’s not too late! January’s challenge will be announced here at Ember Grey on Monday, January 4th!
December’s challenge was titled “Pay Bliss Forward” and can be found here.
While I could sit here and tell you all the ways I found myself paying it forward this month (because there really were some special and sweet moments, my gosh!), I’ve decided not to share them publicly. I think part of what makes “paying it forward” so great is that you don’t have to tell anyone for it to mean something – you don’t have to announce it from the rooftops or get likes on Facebook for it to have been real or to have mattered. Paying it forward isn’t about doing something to in turn get something back or some sort of recognition, it’s about being a decent human being. Well, scratch that – it’s about being a GOOD human being. (Because ‘decent’ is so half-ass, am I right? It’s so mediocre. I’m through with decent.)
Something incredible happens the more you “pay it forward” – when you focus on it every day, it slowly starts to become a part of you and your life (a true lifestyle change!), and I think that’s when real worldly change happens. Call it hippie-dippy but I have always believed that we can change the world if each of us would focus on having a heart of a servant that asks NO questions upon serving vs. a mind of “you scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours.” (There are many words for the latter… entitlement, greed, score keeper, etc. etc. – all of which I believe leads to anxiety and the lie that says we ourselves must control every aspect of our lives, as well as the lives of those around us. Talk about one slippery slope that leads to the division – rather than unity – of mankind.)
One of my favorite commercials this past holiday season was the one where the girl notices that the man who lives across the way from her is alone on Christmas, so she takes the lights she’s put up in her own home and decorates the outside of his. The look on his face when he arrives home to see the lights on his house makes me tear up no matter how many times I’ve seen that commercial! One of the best things about “paying it forward” is that both sides actually do get something out of it – JOY.
Being present and awake and outwardly aware is all we need to have to see the need for kindness around us, and it’s something I believe we need to “train” ourselves to do on a daily basis. Mother Teresa and Princess Diana didn’t just do good things or show kindness to others when it was some sort of holiday month or challenge; they made it a part of their daily lives. They made it their lifestyle to do good things for this world and the people of this world… for complete strangers, yes, but also for their very own neighbors. And that’s one of the greatest things about this whole concept of paying it forward – we don’t have to look far, or even hard, to do nice things for others or to be a good person… it can start even within our own home. We can start today, right now. And we can keep it up, years from now we can still seek out ways to help others and to show kindness to others – yes, even if it inconveniences our plans – and we can still be kind to each other no matter what is going on in our lives. I believe that these are the things that truly matter… these are the things we’ll remember at the end of our lives: human kindness that asks no questions and keeps no score.
I hope this challenge might have encouraged you to think about and ask God how He might help you grow throughout this new year by serving others and to make it a part of your every day!
*Note: While I chose not to share my ‘forwards’ publicly this time, there is also nothing wrong with doing so! Just as I loved watching the Christmas commercial, I love learning about how others have paid it forward and have shared kindness with the world, and I think there is also something really special about being able to make note of all the sweet “pay it forward” moments. Sharing those moments with others also shows that there is still goodness in this world! This post was just my personal reflection and shared thoughts from this month’s challenge. 🙂
Now it’s your time to share your feedback from this month’s challenge. Link up your thoughts below & don’t forget to check the Twelve Months of Bliss page in a few days for next month’s challenge!