About two weeks ago we finished up our 21 day Love More challenge and we had such an awesome response to it, especially on Google+, we are moving on to our next 2015 Resolution with another 21 day challenge, this time to Serve More.
As a reminder, here are the goals we set out to improve upon for 2015:
In 1 Peter 4:10 & 11, Peter tells us that we all are blessed with different gifts and that those gifts are meant for serving others & speaking the Words of God. Not only do we obey God’s commands by doing this, but by helping others and sharing His Word, we praise and glorify God.
Much like step one of our Love More series, I created an infographic of Bible verses for you to read each day over the next 21 days since it takes 21 days to make a habit. Please print this out, display it somewhere that will be an active reminder to you, or tuck it in your Bible if you do daily devotions. After reading the verse for the day, pray about as it pertains to your life.
You can head here for the free PDF version of this printable.
I also wanted to provide you with 21 Ways to Serve More, beginning today.
- Present Prayer: If someone is struggling, rather than saying you will pray for them, ask if you can pray with them right then and there. Where two or three are gathered, God is there.
- Love Languages: If you are married or have a significant other, take the time to learn what their love language is and work at “speaking” it. This contributes greatly to feelings of connectedness and reduces conflict.
- Love Languages for Kids: Speaking in someone’s love language isn’t limited to your partner, but also can empower your children. Learn more about children’s love languages here.
- Household Chores: Each day during this series, pick something to help with around the house that you wouldn’t normally do. Take the trash out for your hubby or do the dishes for your wife. Whatever you do, do it joyfully and without expecting anything in return.
- Love Connection: Kiss your spouse at least 15 seconds a day for the next 21 days. It doesn’t sound like much but there is magic behind it! Seriously, make this a priority.
- Quality Time x2: If you have kids, no matter what their age, spend at least 20 minutes with them, two times a day, doing what they want to do. Don’t lead the activity, but instead follow their lead with play, reading, talking, etc. Again, it doesn’t seem like much, but it has a huge impact on connectedness and reducing problematic behaviors.
- Weekly Date Night: Once a week, set aside a night where you and your spouse completely unplug and focus on reconnecting. No phones, no TV… Pull out the board games, do a volunteer project together, take a class together, give each other massages, look through old photo albums. Remember why you first fell in love.
- Neighborly Love: Next time you shovel or plow snow at your house, help your neighbor out too. This also works in warmer months or climates with lawn mowing or raking leaves.
- Visit Shut-ins: Most churches have a list of people that aren’t able to go out into the community anymore and can get very lonely. Also, many nursing and assisted living homes appreciate visitors. This is a great family-volunteering activity and a good way to introduce kids to serving more.
- Grab Bags: If you live in or near a larger city where you tend to see a lot of homeless people, make up bags with ready-to-eat prepackaged foods, water bottles, warm socks and gloves, and information about local shelters, vocational services and soup kitchens inside. They are easy to hand off if you see someone in need and can help guide them to additional help.
- Promote Literacy: Ask your local library, children’s museum, churches, schools, and vocational centers if they need someone to read at story time. Roughly thirty-two million adults in the U.S. can’t read. The gift of literacy is one that keeps on giving.
- Appreciate Employees: We get so caught up in our own lives, we rarely take the time to notice someone doing their job well. If you are out at a restaurant, a store, the library, school… wherever it may be, if you notice someone doing their job well, point out how much you appreciate it to them. Even if they’re struggling, take a moment to lift them up. It could change their whole day.
- Hospital Help: Gather toys, coloring books and stuffed animals to donate to your local hospital. Not only does this brighten the day for many children, but it takes a load off their parents and hospital staff. Another great family oriented activity.
- Clean-Up: God gave us a beautiful earth, help keep it that way. Keep gloves and a garbage bag in your car to pick up trash when you see it, or make a day of it and help clean a local park or playground. Make sure if you involve kids you educate them on not picking up anything sharp or dangerous.
- Mentor a Child: Fewer and fewer kids have a positive role model at home and struggle with learning at school because they are starved for healthy love and attention. Check with your schools, churches, or Big Brother, Big Sister programs to “adopt” a child.
- Start a Bible Study: You don’t have to be an experienced theologian to do so and it doesn’t have to be a big group. You can do it with your spouse or a handful of friends. There are many free or paid options to guide you. YouVersion offers a wide selection of free plans for you to follow. The two most recent paid ones I’ve done and would recommend are: “The Truth Project,” and Beth Moore’s, “Believing God.”
- Provide Encouragement: Reach out to someone you know has been struggling lately, and send them a note or small gift, encouraging Pinterest pin, etc. to let them know you are thinking about them and care about what they are going through. If they want to talk, listen. You don’t have to provide advice, just let them know they aren’t alone.
- Organize a Volunteer Day: Whether just with your family, through your church or place of employment, start a group that volunteers together regularly. It may just be once a month or a quarter that you join together to do it, but the more you do it, the more you’ll want to.
- Bake & Take: Make some goodies and take them to a family in need, your local police or fire station, leave them as a gift for your mail person, or bring them to work.
- Animal Shelter: Set up time to volunteer at a local animal shelter pound. Many shelters have age restrictions for volunteers, so call ahead if you want to bring children. The animals will appreciate the love and spending time with animals has therapeutic benefits for you as well!
- Teach Life Skills: Volunteer outside of normal school hours to teach kids life-skills. Home economics and basic life skills aren’t taught at most schools or even in many homes, so organize a group with other parents to take turns teaching things like cooking skills, how to change a car’s oil and tires, CPR, interviewing skills, etc. The possibilities are endless but so beneficial!
As you read through this list, you’ll notice there are several family-oriented suggestions that don’t involve service outside the home. When we think of serving others and volunteering, this is an area that is frequently overlooked. But a heart for serving starts at home and while volunteer work outside the home is very important, it shouldn’t come at the expense of your family. Make sure your service starts with God, then your spouse and children, and that everything else comes after that.
I wanted to add this precaution because for someone like me, it can be easy to get carried away with helping others as I have a hard time saying no when someone is in need, but anything, even something good like serving others has to come with balance because the enemy is always looking for ways to create division. A healthy home aids in a healthy relationship with Christ and provides the best environment for training up our children. Keep this a priority as you serve more this year. A great way to avoid this pitfall is to volunteer as a family! Begin this process early in your children’s lives and it will bless them and so many others for the rest of their lives.
Be sure to follow Finding Our Feet on social media, especially Google+ and Facebook, over the next 21 days for updates and encouragement with this 21 day challenge. I look forward to checking in with you three weeks from now to see how these scriptures have impacted you and where you are at with your efforts to serve more.
God bless and get to work! 😉
How do you serve in your own home? How do you serve outside the home?