I have recently developed a bad habit that I couldn’t shake until this last weekend. The habit is a trap you can fall into when your vision and focus is too narrow (and selfish). I was stressed out and so bogged down with my immediate stresses with work and life that I began moping around the house looking for ways to feel sorry for myself. It wasn’t even one thing in particular… just a pile of meaningless baggage that continued to manifest itself into something bigger than it needed to be.
So sometimes in order to appreciate the immense blessings you have, it requires stepping outside your tiny little bubble of self-pity to see things through a different lens. Some people I know actually do this quite a bit (in the form of community outreach or even traveling to help others in need during a mission trip).
I’m not one of those people. Melissa and I are inspired to change that though.
Last weekend through our church, Church of the Resurrection Downtown, we had the opportunity to play a part of something outside our own world of problems. For me it meant getting invited to move desks and furniture into a brand new Charter School in downtown KC called Crossroads Academy of Kansas City http://crossroadsacademykc.org (check out their site they have a great mission and story).
I know our helping hands meant so much to the staff and teachers, but I ended up helping myself more than anyone else.
I met many people from different walks of life who were all there to help. Throughout the morning I began to listen to some of their stories. Everyone has stress, but we all have something more powerful to defeat the slump- a choice. A choice to shift your focus onto something other than yourself. And be happy with it.
What gave me the ability to choose to focus on something other than myself, specifically the blessings God has given me, was surprisingly simple and unexpected. Smiles. Yep, just a smile. The hundreds of folks I rubbed shoulders with throughout the day were just smiling and laughing, even dancing in the street outside the new school. Just happy to help! I’m not naive enough to doubt some of them (maybe all of them), are battling their own unique circumstances that can break you, hurt you, or stress you out. But they chose to embrace happiness- living in the moment, living for something bigger than their own problems.
So when I think about last weekend, I smile, too.