Are you listening?

Are you listening? is a post by Dawn Michelle Michals at www.dawnmimchellemichals.com. Follow her on social media at @dmmwrites
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So, I’ve been thinking about something. The fact that I don’t always listen. I discovered this more recently. A few days ago while chatting with my Mom, I “woke up” in the middle of our conversation. I didn’t know a thing she’d told me. I’d been looking at her the entire time and couldn’t recall a single word she’d said.

Sorry, Mom. I immediately apologized and came back into the present conversation.

Have you ever done that?

Or, am I the only one whose stresses and worries keep me so distracted that I fade out during conversations?

If so, then I guess I need to end this blog post here. But, if not…

Let’s keep chatting!

I need to employ active listening. In essence, active listening “requires that the listener fully concentrate, understand, respond and then remember what is being said.” (Thank you, Wikipedia!) To actively listen means I take part. I fully engage. I’m not concocting grocery lists in my head while you are trying to share with me about your day.

But what if active listening is even more than that? What if active listening means I must do something.

Something outrageous.

Something life changing.

God showed me this scripture a few weeks ago:

Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like.

James 1:22‭-‬24 NIV
https://bible.com/bible/111/jas.1.22-24.NIV

To turn away and forget what I look like? Could you imagine it?

To mean this is like reading the bible as a book. A normal ol’ every-day book. Not the living, thriving, active word of God.

And, this hurts my soul.

For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.

Hebrews 4:12 (ESV)
https://www.bible.com/bible/59/heb.4.12

The word of God is “living and active.” It is as alive today as it was thousands of years ago when it was spoken then put on paper. Our God is alive and well today, as well, working on our behalf, holding us in His powerful right hand, and loving us through our days that He created for us. Trust Him.

If we don’t adhere to His word, we are destined for failure. If we don’t listen. If we don’t take it in. If we don’t actively listen to what He is telling us. I ask you to read Deuteronomy 28. Here’s a link for you.

God’s love is so easy. Like a loving Father who gives us the world, He offers us blessings or curses depending on our “listening.” If you have a chance to read, Deuteronomy 28, you’ll see.

God only wants what’s best for us. He laid it all out for you since the beginning of time. Trust Him. Listen to Him. You can’t go wrong.

5 ways to use your gifts to help others during COVID-19

We all have gifts. Those special talents and qualities that God has given us to get through this life.

Each one of us was blessed with a gift. Do you know what yours is? Do you write? Draw? Love to drive? Adore keeping things clean? Is digital nomading your passion? Can you build things? What are YOU good at? But, most importantly, what do you love to do?

This is your gift. And, we will find a way to use your gift to help someone else during COVID-19.

Next, do you have a burning in your heart to help the homeless? Do you love dogs? Is saving beached whales a dream you have? Do you have a passion to see that every man, woman and child on this planet of ours has healthy food to eat every day?

What makes you mad and gets you feisty and ready to don your super hero cape and get to work?

Now, let’s do this! Here are 5 easy ways you can serve right now to help make humanity better during this totally unpredictable and—let’s face it—scary time.

Make phone calls. Okay so seriously. I’m not a big phone talker. I am definitely a prolific texter, though as my friends will attest. But, since the pandemic began—I don’t know about you—but I have this undeniable urge to actually hear my people’s voices. If I can’t see them in person, I at least need to hear them. Is there a person at your church, school or work who needs someone to talk to? Do you know someone who is living alone during this time? I am blessed with several people in my household, so the thought of being alone is an delusion, but to tell you the truth, I couldn’t imagine being confined to my home for long periods of time alone without depression trying its best to seep into my psyche. Call someone. At least text. Your call or text may be the thing that brightens that person’s day.

Schedule video chats. Each Friday, a friend of mine and I meet at 3:30pm on our smartphones. We call each other using Facebook Messenger Video Chat for a virtual “coffee break” so we can discuss our weeks, veg, rant; whatever. It’s good for me, good for her, and it lets us see someone besides the people we are sheltering in place with. Win-Win.

Post. Post. Post. Social media is our friend. Seriously. If used for good and not evil, it can spread peace, love, kindness and important updates and information. Posting a video, going live, or simply sharing a quick story on Instagram helps us all to know we are not alone. A quick post to your friends and followers encourages them that we will make it through this. Not keen on posting a vid? Maybe post a scripture image to your feed and share God’s word. Is writing your gift? Email, direct message or even mail a letter to someone who needs you.

Lend a helping hand. Okay, so going out in public is not recommended, and I definitely want you safe and healthy, but right now there are so many people in need. According to The Washington Post, more than 20 millions people lost their jobs since the pandemic began. There are numerous ways you can volunteer yet remain socially distanced and safe. Deliver meals or groceries for people you know or for an organization such as Meals on Wheels. Many local food pantries need food boxes assembled, dogs walked or homebound seniors or clients with special needs called and checked in on. Google organizations in your town and discover how you can serve. The National Council on Aging has ways you can help, as well.

Put your money where your mouth is. I love this saying. And, if you love an organization and can’t donate your time right now, donate some money. Food pantries can provide four times more food by purchasing it from a food bank with our donations than we could buying it at a grocery store. Due to safety concerns and shutdowns, some organizations simply can’t reopen, but they still need us to see their missions fulfilled. And, with so many in our country and throughout the world unemployed right now, we must come together and help any way we can.

Your gifts are amazing. I bet you have more than one. And, God’s intent was for us to use these predestined gifts to make His world a better place, to help His children prosper and to show His light on this earth.

Don’t let your gifts be wasted. There’s a story that Jesus shared about this very thing known as the “Parable of the Talents.”

Still not sure what your gift is? Sit back and chat with God about it if you need some insights. He had it all lined up for you since before time began.

What if you woke up tomorrow morning with only the things you thanked God for today?

I first posted this on April 19, 2012 on my Christ-following Minimalist blog. My writing has changed, my life has changed, but these fundemental truths stay the same.

As I continue my walk on this journey into minimalism, I still need these gentle reminders that God provides for my every need.

Do you?

💖

My aunt attended church on Sunday, and the priest asked the congregation:

What if you woke up tomorrow morning with only the things you thanked God for today?

Think about it. It sure made me think. Have I been grateful for the gifts God has given me? Or, do I go through life like the spoiled little brat I never intended to be?

Our Father gives us everything. As a fellow blogger commented on this blog earlier this week:

From My Lenten Challenge…still Lenten Challenging

Let them [your books] go. You have not needed them for the past 40 days, you are not going to need them. And if you do…He will provide them again.
m. (m. writes at amomentinmyday.com)

He will provide them again. I am so thankful for that. Our Father never let’s us be in want. He provides everything we need with abundance. Not always what we want, but always everything we need. As Psalm 23:1 states:

The LORD is my shepherd, I lack nothing.

As a shepherd provides for his sheep, so our Lord provides for His.

Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? ~Matthew 6:26

Which of you, if your son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him! ~Matthew 7:11

Our God loves us. He wants us to trust. Trust Him with every ounce of our beings. Are you trusting in God today? If you’re not sure, ask our Father to show you. He will let you know kindly and with His great love.

Soak in His love today and be thankful of the things He has given you.

With much love and thanks to God and you,

~Chelle

P.S. If you’d like to follow my minimalism-influenced journey, I post regularly on Instagram at @cf_minimalist and on my writing account at @dmmwrites.

I see you… Happy Mother’s Day

Happy Mother’s Day to YOU, the…

Bio Moms 

Adoptive Moms

Soon-to-be Moms

Someday Moms

Praying-for-babies Moms

Not-able-to-be Moms

Don’t-wanna-be-a-mom-but-love-other-people’s-kids Moms

Fur Baby Moms

Dad’s who are great moms, too. (I see you, single Dads.🙋‍♀️)

Have a blessed and joy-filled day today.

I love you.

~Chelle 💖
Dawn Michelle Michals
 

To Being Famous

For years I struggled.

My writing was going nowhere. My singing and song writing was–well, let’s just face it–a hobby.

All I wanted in life was to be famous. Do you? I know…I know…

It sounds petty and diva. But, I’m being truthful here.

I wanted the whole world to know my name. For the spotlight. For the fame.

I’d wanted it since I was a little girl filling notebooks with song lyrics, going to college for a music degree, and buying a sound system (Thanks, Mom!) so I could get out there and live my dream.

But, you know what?

Nothing. Happened.

Have you ever felt the disappointment of a dream that won’t come true?

Yeah, me too.

And, it doesn’t feel so pretty does it?

It’s raw and humiliating and…UGH! And, you find yourself avoiding extended family at holidays because they frankly know just the right words to make you go cry in the bathroom before dessert.

I wanted my dream.

Then one day, I read this scripture…

Commit your work to the Lord, and your plans will be established.
~Proverbs 16:3 NRSV
https://bible.com/bible/2016/pro.16.3.NRSV

My wheels were spinning with no traction.

I’d work all day with nothing to show for it but frustration and wasted time.

Everything was going nowhere.

Until that day…

When a friend at a writer’s retreat gave each of us this scripture packaged in a little red plastic frame for us to remember.

Now, I’m not saying everything is perfect, and I am by no means famous…yet! But, I am on my way. At least to what God has for me. And, I feel His traction.

Now to him who by the power at work within us is able to accomplish abundantly far more than all we can ask or imagine,
Ephesians 3:20 NRSV
https://bible.com/bible/2016/eph.3.20.NRSV

“Far more than all we can ask or imagine…”

So, God, what you’re saying is that You, the divine creator of the universe, can do way more, think way higher, do things way cooler than my feeble little imagination has ever thought about?

For me?

Really?

So, these desires I have had from childhood are only the beginning?

Yes! Yes, they are!

God has you and has had a plan for you from the start. He placed you in “such a time as this” for His exact reason. You matter.

And, your dreams matter. He placed them in you for a reason–not to torture and frustrate you–but to build up the person He needs you to be.

Live your dreams. No matter how crazy they may seem to you, your friends or your family. Commit them to Christ today. And, see what happens.