I know we all had that lesson in first grade about what kindness looks like, but we often have many other things that come before kindness on our list of priorities. Looking back on the way I was in first grade, being kind seemed so easy and fun. I think if you look at who you were back then, you’ll see the same beautiful picture that I do.
As kids, we included everyone. If someone walked up to us and asked us to be their friend, we would say, “yes, of course.” without thinking twice. There was little to no exclusion and everyone had a seat at the table. Forgiveness came easy and grudges were never held. Second, third, and twentieth chances were freely given without question. There was never great animosity that couldn't be resolved with a little candy or a hug. We complimented others without hesitation. Back then, we were so kind to ourselves. When we looked in the mirror we liked what we saw. Negative self-talk wasn’t in the back of our minds and we hadn’t let the world influence the way we view ourselves. There was no comparison; we thought highly of who we were. We were quick to be vulnerable and show our deep emotions without the fear of judgment or rejection. We cried when we needed to cry and laughed as loud as our little bodies would let us.
I think we need to live like that — pure and lovely. Friends, I encourage you to include anyone and everyone. Be open to new and different people, you never know what may come out of it. Strive for reconciliation in broken relationships and see the goodness that comes from that. Be there for people and be vulnerable with them. Make those around you feel seen and heard. Don’t be a doormat, but give people second chances. Forgiving someone doesn’t mean you have to forget, but don't harbor bitterness. Love people despite their wrongs or differences. Be sweet to yourself and know that you are strong, beautiful, and capable. When you look in the mirror, see that you are made in the image of the Creator of all that we do and do not know. Live like Jesus did, advocating for those who don’t have a voice and seek out the lost. The Lord has gifted you with great joy, so share that gift with the people around you.
I know your life looks different today than it did back then. Life has come and had it's way with you, but there is so much ahead of you. Your feet may literally be too big for the shoes you once wore, but they are big shoes to fill. So, step into what the Lord has for you there and see what follows.