Since God chose you to be the holy people he loves, you must clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. – Colossians 3:12
For as long as I can remember, I’ve felt the need to make a difference in the world. I was “raised in the church” and attended Christian school for most of my education, so hearing things like “you were called for something big”, you’re going to be a “radical world changer”, you have destiny and purpose, God has called you to do a “great and mighty thing for your generation” were instilled in my brain for many, many years.
I don’t feel like I’m doing something big. I wouldn’t say that my life is radically changing the world. And I don’t know that I even want the “fame” that would come from doing a great and mighty thing for my generation. Most of the time, I’m in love with my life. I enjoy my career, love my family, I’m grateful for my church, I’ve got a few good friends, life is good. I’m incredibly blessed. And yet, more often than I’d like, I get the feeling that I really was called to do more than just enjoy my amazing life.
Am I the only one that feels this way?
And I think this goes further than my career. I truly feel that the work that I do is important and I am helping people every day. I know that I’m putting people on the path to changing their world and some people will go on to make a difference in many lives because of the work that I do in my career. But I feel like I should be doing more outside of the 8-5.
Don’t get me wrong, this isn’t a feeling that stems from guilt or obligation. This stems from the fact that I have been blessed beyond what I could ever hope to deserve. It comes from a place of knowing that for some reason, my life is amazing, but also seeing that there are millions of hurting people all around me. I feel like I should be doing more because I have more excess to give than others could ever hope to have in their lifetime. I want to bless the socks off of someone else because it’s the right thing to do and they need it more than I do.
But, the reality is that I’m a working mom. I have a career, a family, friends, laundry, dishes, books to read, blogs to write, and hundreds of statuses to read on Facebook! Time is limited. Energy isn’t always available. Money is tight. I don’t know how to fit “radical world changer” into my schedule.
I don’t know if I will ever become a “radical world changer”. I can’t see the depth of the calling that God has placed on my life. But I know that I can do more than I’m currently doing. I want to change one person’s life, at the very least. So I’ve realized that I can’t just wait until I figure out “my destiny”. My prayers for wisdom and direction are great, but “action speaks louder than words” applies to my prayers too. Sometimes I just need to stop talking to God about what I can/should/would do and just start doing things for Him and trusting that He’ll lead me as I go.
Is anybody with me?
So what does it look like to just start doing? I think it starts with small steps in our daily actions.
Since God chose you to be the holy people he loves, you must clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy…
Tenderhearted: easily moved to love, pity, or sorrow
Mercy: compassion or forgiveness shown toward someone whom it is within one’s power to punish or harm
A few small ideas for showing tenderhearted mercy in our daily lives:
- The next time you see a man standing on the street corner with a sign, stop yourself from judging him and assuming he’s a drug addict or con artist. He very well may be. But extend mercy anyways and hand him some money.
- When your employee, boss, or coworker fails to do their part of a project, misses a deadline, or completely misses the mark on one of their goals, pick up the pieces, cover over their faults and grant them the grace to start fresh tomorrow.
- If your child disobeys one of your requests, sit with them and talk about mercy and grace. Explain to them how God extends mercy to us, even when we don’t deserve it. And then extend that same mercy to your child to reinforce how amazing God’s grace and mercy really is.
- As you begin your Holiday shopping, there is bound to be a hurried co-shopper who cuts you off, speaks rudely to you, or grabs the item you were aiming for…buy them a Peppermint Latte and bless them with a genuine smile and a “Merry Christmas!”.
- While you peruse your Facebook News Feed and view the 3,564th status for the week from that girl who always seems to have disasters and drama filling her life, stop and spend a solid 5 minutes praying for God to bless her more than she could ever hope or imagine. And if you have something to bless her with, make arrangements to give it.
- When you drive home and see that your neighbor has forgotten to close the lid on their trash can again and garbage is covering your lawn. Enjoy the beauty of fall as you pick up all the trash, then head inside and bake that neighbor some cookies. You have no idea what they might be going through.
- If your husband forgets to put his dishes in the dishwasher, leaves his socks all over the living room, falls asleep while you’re talking to him, or brings home a bad attitude from work, take a deep breath. Kiss him. Hug him. Smile and tell him you love him. Load up the dishes, pick up the socks, cover him with a blanket, and serve up his favorite meal for dinner.
What else can we do to clothe ourselves with tenderhearted mercy each and every day so that we can truly become radical world changers?
Additional Posts To Check Out
The Truth About the Love of God
52 Bible Verses for Working Moms
Janine Castleberry says
Love your Blog today Tracy. I’m proud to call you my niece, and I believe you ARE changing the world every day! You are an amazing mother and wife, sister, daughter, and yes — niece! Your words in this Blog will encourage others to be aware and BLESS others as well. It’s all about the “Butterfly Effect” Our small actions make an Eternal difference.
Tracy, you have Blessed me today with these word. Thank you
I have been working my way through this verse, trying to spend one focused week on each trait to live my life better. In searching for tenderhearted and mercy I came across your blog post. I feel this way all the time, and while I actively try not to let it be a cop out, I do take comfort in the stories of so many people that had no idea the kingdom work that had been done when they shared the gospel with just one person. I also believe that one of the biggest ways we can impact the world is by pouring into our children. That can have generational and exponential impact. So, know that six years after you wrote this little blog post, it’s still making an impact—not only in my life but hopefully in the lives I come in contact with, that I would treat them with the utmost tenderhearted mercy. <3
Modupe Ehirim says
Thank you for this post.
Like Michele, it came up as I searched for the meaning of “tenderhearted mercy”.
The practical examples you shared have greatly helped me to get it.
Your post is still being used by God long after you wrote it.