This season has just been full of exciting news and events to share with you, my friend. First, the rebranding of the podcast about a month ago from Let’s Encourage One Another to Journal Gently. And then the holiday workshop that my business coach Danielle Roberts and I led together last week. (Which, if you missed it, you can still grab the replay if you go to lovedoesthat.org/holidayworkshop!)
And today, I have another announcement for you: I wrote a book. Now, I already have a devotional that is available as a PDF download, and you can find that in my shop at lovedoesthat.org. But this is an actual book that you will be able to buy in paperback form, and probably ebook, as well. I’m still debating the hard cover copy. What do you think? If you’re interested in that, message me and let me know.
But I plan to launch this book later this month, right as we’re going into the holiday season. Because holidays can be hard, and I know you. You want to find ways to serve and care for those who are struggling this holiday season. And this book will help you do just that.
It’s called Courageous Care: Helping Others Even When You’re Afraid. Throughout the book, I teach my C.A.R.E. framework for discerning how to support loved ones who are struggling, with C.A.R.E. being an acronym for each part. We explore those obstacles that often get in the way of taking the first step, we discover how God has divinely designed each one of us with specific skills and personality traits to care for others, we practice listening for God’s guidance in each situation, and we end by looking specifically at our friend and what she needs.
One of my early readers said this about it: “The C.A.R.E. concept is such a creative and impactful way to invite us to be more intentional about reaching out to the hurting people in our lives. I, myself, felt very convicted and encouraged as I read through it.”
And so today, I wanted to share with you a chapter from my book, one that focuses on recognizing those sacred nudges from God to reach out. You know the ones. That thought inside you to send a card, to stop and say hi, to bring over some groceries.
Be sure to stay around until the end of today’s episode to find out how you can join the launch team and share the book with those looking for this kind of practical support and training.
Chapter 16: Recognizing God’s Invitation to Reach Out
Remember, the reason we practice hearing God’s voice (besides getting to know Him more intimately) is so we can begin to sense those nudges from Him as to when to reach out to a friend, how He wants us to schedule our week, what words to write on a card, etc.
There was a lady who had several health issues and who was losing her eyesight. I didn’t know her very well at all, yet had visited her with a friend. When I heard that one of the things she missed the most was being able to read the Bible on her own, I almost instantly felt that nudge in my spirit (you know the one).
I thought about the audio/CD Bible I had in my car. I liked to listen to it during some of my longer drives. Yet in this instance, I knew I was being invited to pass it along to her instead. It was a nudge from God that I had come to know because I had learned to recognize His voice.
I also think about the time when I was completely exhausted and worn out and then my phone started ringing. I decided in my mind to not answer it, knowing I needed the rest. While that’s okay on many occasions (please hear me that the need for rest is okay!), this was a time when God asked me to answer the phone anyway. It ended up being someone who needed a ride.
It was then that I relied on 1 Peter 4:11: “Do you have the gift of helping others? Do it with all the strength and energy that God supplies.” I took a deep breath, asked for God’s help, picked up my purse, and went to pick her up.
The truth is, she didn’t have anyone else to call in that moment. She felt bad for bothering me, and I assured her she wasn’t a bother and I was happy to help. It was a chance to minister to her when she was in a difficult situation.
My husband often senses when people need help with food or groceries. His years of experience in grocery store management has given him a good awareness for this. But even more important than that, he knows when he senses that nudge from God to help pay for someone’s food at the store, and he listens. I’m never surprised when I get a text message from him sharing that he helped someone else.
How do you sense God’s nudge to help? What does it feel like?
Now, friend, I’ll be honest: there are times when I sit down to write a card to a friend, and I don’t feel any particular inspiration from the Holy Spirit, so I just write a message. Afterward, I’ve had a friend tell me it’s exactly what she needed to hear, down to the verse that I “just happened” to include.
God can be working in you and through you without you even realizing it. But it’s as we practice hearing His voice and seeking His presence that we can intentionally seek Him for guidance in how to reach out and care for our friends.
God will let you know when to reach out, and He will also let you know when to stand back and let someone else help. If we’re not gifted in a particular area, we can take away the ability of those who are gifted to use that in service to others. It’s okay to step back and let others move forward.
Plus, there are times when our hurting friend needs to take action on their own. Because sometimes our help actually hinders someone from taking a step they need to take.
There are also seasons of service and seasons of rest. We need God to guide us here!
Journal Prompt: Have you ever ignored a prompting from God? And if so, what made you do so?
So as we talk about recognizing those sacred nudges from God to reach out to someone who is hurting, our journal prompt is this: Have you ever ignored a prompting from God? And if so, what made you do so?
I know, it’s a hard one. When have you received an invitation from God to care for a friend or loved one, and you said no?
Maybe you were too busy. Maybe you were scared to say anything. Maybe you didn’t know what to say. Maybe you tried to talk yourself into thinking it was just your own thoughts, not God.
What happened? If you’re willing, take a few moments to write about the situation and explore what made you ignore God’s prompting to reach out. Try to do this without judgment, but simply with curiosity. And if you’re especially brave and open to hearing from God, ask Him to reveal to you other times you might have ignored His prompting. See if there is a pattern to when you say no.
Alright, so that was chapter 16 from my book, Courageous Care, along with a special journal prompt for this episode. I’ve intentionally kept the chapters short and focused, and there is a lot of practical information and examples woven throughout the book. Because I don’t just want you to just read it; I want you take action. I want you to reach out to those around you who are hurting, even when you’re afraid or anxious about it.
If this chapter from the book has encouraged you or inspired you, I invite you to keep a lookout for the Courageous Care book launch later this month. If you want to join the launch team, it’s pretty simple. Just pre-order the book from Amazon once it’s on there and email me a picture of your receipt, I’ll send you the PDF in advance so you can be ready to leave a review shortly after the book is released. That will help others know if the book is a good fit for them. My email address is firstname.lastname@example.org, and remember my name is spelled K-A-R-I.
A Prayer to Obey God’s Sacred Nudges
God, You care so very much about Your people. And because of that, You often invite us to be part of caring for them when they are hurting, to be Your hands and feet and expression of love to them. They see You through us. Yet there are times when we let fear or anxiety interfere and prevent us from reaching out in the way You’ve called us to. Forgive us, Lord, and give us the courage to step out in love and compassion, obeying the sacred nudges we receive from You, knowing we can trust You each step of the way. In Jesus’ name we pray, amen.
RELATED EPISODES + RESOURCES:
- Pen Your Way to Peace Holiday Workshop: http://lovedoesthat.org/holidayworkshop
- Imagine Devotional: http://lovedoesthat.org/imagine
- Episode 5: Discerning How to Help a Grieving Friend
- Episode 43: When Helping Hurts: Establishing Boundaries When Caring for Others with Counselor Nicole Fryling
- Episode 81: Encouraging and Caring for Others as an Introvert
Learn more and register for Journal Gently, an 8-week program designed to help you use writing as a way to process hurt, grief, and trauma with God.