Wednesday, December 24

Five Ways Acts of Kindness Will Grow Your Grinchy Heart

"The Grinch Who Stole Christmas" is one of my all-time favorite movies. I love how he starts out so cold and bitter about Christmas, is a bit mischievous in his attempts to foil Christmas for Whoville, and then, once he realizes the true meaning of Christmas, has his heart grow three times. That’s a simplistic synopsis of the movie, but I’ve realized how much like the Grinch I can become.

It’s easy to be overwhelmed by all that goes on around the world. The coldness, and even the ugliness, is effortless to find. It’s enough to make me want to tuck my head down and walk hurriedly through life, attending to my needs and my family's needs, building walls around our hearts and shutting the world out.

And it’s in this place that I can often find myself at the beginning of each December. Ready to dive in to the Christmas season by focusing on family and gifts, goodies and parties -- yet Advent Acts forces us to stop, to notice strangers, and to offer kindness to others.

And as each day passes, I’ve noticed that just like the Grinch, MY heart has begun to grow.


Remembering what this Christmas season is really all about.

Just last week after delivering gifts and offering a heartfelt thank you to our local grocery store cashiers, I texted Kristin and Julie, “How can I be holding back tears just saying thank you to a cashier? Sheesh. #softie"

I find myself looking for ways to be intentional. Not just in the big things, but in small ways, too. Slowing down. Saying hello. Stopping to talk to the bell ringer. Stopping to greet and visit with the elderly folks who are waiting in our grocery store for the bus ride back to their assisted living. Smiling at strangers.

And this all brings me back to thinking about the Grinch and how my heart, too, has grown three sizes this year.

How Advent Acts of Kindness grows your heart:
  • By saying Thank you. It’s incredible how these two little words can have such a huge impact for the person saying it and the person receiving it. This month I think I’ve said thank you more than I have the past six months combined. Looking and finding all the ways people are doing good and taking a moment to say thank you for that makes me appreciate life so much more.
  • By helping someone else out. This is not about having a Superman complex. If anything, helping others reminds me of my own humanness and frailty. It holds a mirror up to all the ways I am so grateful for others who have helped me and my family. And it reminds me, we’re all in this together.
  • By listening to others. This month, I’ve stopped many times throughout my day to listen, to greet another, to offer a word of cheer. You would think adding acts of kindness would add to the rush of our days, but surprisingly, things have slowed down when we've taken the time to be with those we come across each day.
  • By looking for ways to bless others.  I've found that I've begun to look for ways to be a blessing, sometimes without even realizing it. I’ve noticed people's faces and expressions this past month. I’ve prayed for others as I’ve passed them in the store. I’ve watched for ways I could help, even in simple ways like opening a door, getting something down off a high shelf, letting someone go in front of me in line. 
  • By giving and receiving grace and love. The more you give out grace and love, the more you have to give. When we try to hold all the love we have for ourselves and our loved ones, it’s almost as if there isn’t enough. It’s in the giving away of love that we receive more than we thought possible. It’s in the graciousness we extend to others that we realize the grace that’s been given to us. 

So, maybe you're like me. Maybe you rush through this season, maybe you’re looking for something more.

It’s simple, really, this truth we learn from small acts for others. That kindness is just like love: The more you give, the more you have. The more you hold onto, the less you’ll actually keep. Kindness begets kindness. Love begets love.

So try it, one little act of kindness today. And watch, your heart grow three times (or more!), this year.

Today we are once again linking up with the lovely Holley Gerth at Coffee for your Heart and Kelly Balarie for the cheerleading link up.

6 comments :

  1. Such great ideas! It's so easy to get caught up in all the hype and busyness and see our hearts shrink like the Grinch, but how wonderful it is when we do things like your ideas and see our hearts swell instead. My favorite moment this year was dropping off a special gift to a friend - something I thought would be meaningful to her - but leaving it unsigned. Didn't want her to feel any obligation to get me a gift - just wanted to bless her. And I got to share the moment with my little girl.

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    1. I love this Kathryn! We too tried to do some things anonymously to just bless others without expecting a thank you! Thanks for sharing your story!!

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  2. I love your tips! We get so caught up in our lives, but choosing to focus on other people's needs brings that cheer back!

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    1. You're totally right! Thanks for commenting!

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  3. Kendra, love the heart behind all the ideas you give in this post for random acts of kindness...you encouraged and inspired me today to do more :)

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    1. Beth, I'm so happy to hear this, thanks for stopping by!

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