Breath on Paper small group is taking a break between semesters. For the next few weeks we will take advantage of a little time off, we hope you enjoy revisiting our favorites. We’ll be back June 12th.
Love is patient, love is kind.
Everyone you meet is fighting a battle you know nothing about. Be kind. Always.
Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible.
In a world where you can be anything, be kind.
If you can’t be kind, be quiet.
Be kind to everyone, including yourself.
Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you. Ephesians 4:32
God has a way of opening our eyes to see what has likely always been in front of us. In thinking and praying about kindness, our topic this week, I noticed placards in random places that spoke of kindness. Seeing these signs brought to mind other sayings about kindness that I had seen or heard. And since God is not random about anything he does, I took note.
Yesterday, a friend and I got together to have lunch and catch up on our lives. Although we’ve spoken by phone a few times, we haven’t seen each other in 4 or 5 years. Through the years we’ve developed the kind of relationship that allows us to pick up where we left off as though it was yesterday. She is a psychotherapist and that coupled with having known me for almost 30 years is a blessing. We remind each other be kind to ourselves.
I know. The scripture reads be kind to one another. And we should. But, I believe we won’t be able to fully carry out the second greatest commandment of loving our neighbor as ourselves if we don’t practice being kind and compassionate to ourselves. Researcher Kristen Neff says when we give ourselves compassion, gentle touch and soft words, oxytocin and opiates, the “feel good” hormones, are released in the body and we feel safe. And when we feel safe and comforted we are in an optimal mind state to do our best. Self-compassion is a stepping stone to our best selves.
Women are particularly adept at not seeing the greatness God has placed in us. We can be quick to pick out and magnify our flaws. Our hair, our lips, our hips, our dress size are all targets for why we don’t feel good about ourselves. Maya Angelou wrote a poem about being a phenomenal woman.
I’m not cute or built to suit a fashion model’s sizeBut when I start to tell them,They think I’m telling lies.I say,It’s in the reach of my arms,The span of my hips,The stride of my step,The curl of my lips.I’m a womanPhenomenally.Phenomenal woman,That’s me.
To be kind to others we must love, accept and be kind to ourselves. God says we are redeemed, adopted and given access to Him. We have been forgiven and are free. We are enough, just as He made us. Therefore, we can generously offer kindness and compassion to everyone. Selah…
Hey there friend! Andrea McCaskey here. I believe everything happens for a reason, life is meant to be lived in relationship with others and there is beauty to be found everywhere if we look. I am a friend of God, wife of Jamal and mother of Brandon and Madison.
To read more of Andrea’s Breath on Paper bio, click here.