It's no secret that I'm a huge advocate for living a well balanced life--both emotionally and spiritually. That's why today we are getting back to our Joy Series! There's nothing like a spark of inspiration in the spur of the moment, and you know. I really don't want it to go to waste. :) So here we go!
Compassion. Compassion is one of those things this world can definitely use more of, wouldn't you agree? Quite surprisingly, the word 'compassion' doesn't equate to sympathy, which is what most people feel when they see a hurting individual. Sympathy is great and all, don't get me wrong, but if I were to be super accurate about it, I would say that it's more like pity. The interesting thing is that sympathy can only go so far, as it's merely an emotion projected unto the hurting individual.
We all know Webster dictionary is almost always right. This time though, I beg to differ on its definition of the word 'compassion'...with all due respect.
Compassion (n): "sympathetic consciousness of others' distress together with a desire to alleviate it."
I don't think it's simply a consciousness of others' suffering. Rather, I think true compassion requires action no matter how small it may be. In other words compassion=action.
I understand that we all hurt at one point or another, and perhaps YOU ARE facing some obstacles as we speak, but I think that far too often we escape the idea of serving others by resorting to justifications such as, "I myself am hurting, so I can't extend a helping hand right now". Or how about this one? "I'm just a small little individual with no talent, and you expect me to bring change into someone else's life?" And here comes the big whammy..."God helps those who help themselves" But you know what? All of those excuses are probably some of the biggest lies we're told! And I've been there too. We've all thought that way at least at one hurting point in our lives, so when I write these things I'm reminding myself too.
So what to do when we are faced with circumstances that practically cripple us, while still showing compassion? Ask God to give us the strength to overcome, and while so doing to put ourselves out there and love others. For example, do you see that person behind the cashier register emanating sadness? Ask how they're doing and genuinely listen to them. Browsing the aisles of the Vortex, aka Target, and there are people passing right by? Be mindful of them and give them a word of encouragement.
Now, my point isn't that we should force ourselves to do these things...especially if we're oozing with hatred for others, though sometimes those things do take more work if we have nothing left to give...but what I am saying is that joy comes from the inner being. I mean, it just can't wait to break out of the core of our hearts, because compassion and loving others is one of the things we were made for! Just the fact that we are being intentional and mindful of others makes us ALIVE. And because we are living our purpose--THE PURPOSE--we know we're right where we're supposed to be. Also, if we really think about it--when was the last time we felt crappy after feeding the person asking for money? Yep, my point exactly.
Finally, even though we may all not share the same faith/beliefs, I wholeheartedly stand firm on the fact that our purpose in life isn't about US, but putting God and others before us. So...How do we do that when our love tank is empty? We ask the one who IS LOVE, and the only one who can mend a broken heart. I really hope that we will make it a point to ask for a heart of compassion, because if we do that even when our world is caving in, God will make sure that we are blessed. When we help others heal, whether it's by listening to them or buying them a cup of coffee, we ourselves heal along the way (if that's what we need). It's strange science if you ask me, but from my observation it's preeetty accurate. :)
So let's spread compassion because it produces joy within our hearts. As much as it was devastating for God to give up His life on behalf of us, it was that much more satisfying to see the fruit of it--seeing His creation have a fulfilling and unbreakable relationship with Him.
When was the last time someone showed you compassion and it changed your day, or even your life?
In what ways do you need to show more compassion?
-I know for certain that I want to and need to go to the women's shelter, and have been meaning to. But since time and taking care of Selah comes first, I haven't found a solution. See? An excuse, but I'm working on it. :)