Happy weekend, dear gal! I’m so glad you stopped by Dressed for My Day where on Saturdays we talk about inner beauty. As I contemplate my topics for these weekend posts I try to think about the characteristics I see in the most beautiful women I know. Honestly, I almost skipped today’s topic because it’s something at which I do not excel. But I couldn’t avoid the fact that truly beautiful women are endearingly kind. So let’s talk about kindness…what it is, what it looks like and how we might cultivate this attribute in our inner woman.
What is Kindness?
Kindness is part of the fruit of the Spirit. While we can be kind and act kindly toward others without the Spirit of God within us, we’ll struggle to be consistently kind-hearted without God at work in our lives.
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.Galatians 5:22-23
Kindness is a disposition of thinking lovingly and behaving gently toward others. I think the different elements of the fruit of the Spirit above are listed in the order they are in because they build upon one another. We won’t be and behave kindly toward others without a measure of love for people, a disposition of sustaining joy, an attitude of peace and a little patience.
In the same way, kindness precedes goodness in the list above because being good to other people is a direct outcome of a kind disposition towards them. In other words, if we’re truly kind women we’ll demonstrate that by doing a little good.
All that to say that kindness isn’t just a feeling; it’s a behavior. A kind woman demonstrates compassion through acts of kindness. Recently, two of my dearest friends were kind to travel hundreds and hundreds of miles to attend my son’s wedding. Not only that, but they each showed up with little gifts for me. They didn’t have to do that. Their simple presence blew me away. The little gifts they gave me took my breath away.
How to Cultivate Kindness
Like I said, kindness is not my strong suit. So I don’t offer this advice from experience, but from a personal plan. If you take my tips to heart you can know that I’m working to implement them in my own life, too.
While the Holy Spirit will supernaturally produce kindness in our lives if we walk with Him and stay sensitive to His prompting, we still need to water the seed He plants in the fertile ground of our tender hearts. How can we cooperate with the Spirit so that we become kinder?
- Contemplate kindness. Think of the women you consider to be kind. What acts of kindness have you seen them do? Take note of these and decide to follow suit. Acts of kindness to do not come naturally to all of us. We’re just not wired that way. But we can learn to be more aware of what kindness looks like and decide to pick up the mantle.
- Prepare for kindness. I was raised to take a hostess gift when invited to someone’s home, but I realized that I was often forgetting to buy one before the time came to arrive at my hostess’ home. So now I stock up on hostess gifts ahead of time. I have to plan to be kind. Otherwise I just end up feeling kind, but not acting kind. Kindness requires action, so plan ahead for acts of kindness.
- Listen to people. Kindness isn’t always convenient. And acts of kindness can’t be about me; they must meet another person’s need. So that means I have to pay attention to the people in my life. What acts of kindness does my husband really need from me? Mine needs a word of encouragement, an ironed shirt, my companionship and a glass of water after mowing the grass. These needs don’t always come at a convenient time for me. But kindness is going out of my way to consider another person’s needs.
- Practice kindness. Set a goal to show kindness to someone daily. When we put it on our to-do list we’ll be more aware of opportunities for kindness and “strengthen our serve.” Begin with forced acts of kindness such as picking up the Starbucks tab for a young mom finishing up her Target run or taking soup to a sick friend. As we practice kindness daily we’ll become more accustomed to using this muscle.
Do you have tips for cultivating kindness? I suppose more than anything we just need to be more aware, less self-centered. Today, let’s ask God to give us a heightened awareness of other people, their needs and how we can serve them with kindness.
Do you have thoughts you’d like to share about today’s topic? I’d love to hear from you today! I tend to take as much time off from work as I can during the weekends, so I may not reply to your comments unless you ask me a direct question. But I’d love for you to carry on this conversation in the comment section below. And you can know for certain that I read and value each and every comment.