For the first time since coming to Australia over 15 years ago, I had the privilege of driving from Gold Coast to Canberra to visit some friends over the Christmas break. Flight options to Canberra proved to be quite expensive during this holiday season hence the decision to drive.
It was such a long journey (almost 1,130km) but with such a pleasant reward. It was wonderful to catch-up with my friends after so long. At the end of the visit, my friends expressed just how grateful they were that we travelled such a long distance just to see them. It felt great to be able to put a smile on their faces.
Forgot who I am
I returned home feeling exhausted and with a case of the holiday blues. With the new year looming, I began to ponder on the year gone past and tried to imagine what 2017 had in store for me. I thought about the challenges I faced personally, at work and church and how those challenges had gotten the better of me on numerous occasions.
I realised that my attitude had changed in 2016 and not for the better. It was a lot harder to truly smile. More so at work than in any other environment. I was reluctantly helping people instead of assisting with gladness. Helping but not really caring. Somehow, I had forgotten who I really was.
That long trip to Canberra reminded me of what it is to be a loving, caring person and friend. It became quite clear to me that I had to change. What had happened to that person that smiled and was always eager to help others and go the extra mile? As a Christian, was I reflecting the love of Christ with such a bad attitude? Was my attitude pointing others toward Christ? Was I being a good ambassador for God?
I was reminded that to live as a child of light (reflecting the love of God) means putting God's word into action in my life. Conducting my life in such a way that will be worthy of the gospel of Christ [Philippians chapter 1 verse 27]. Understanding that my attitude needs to be the same as that of Christ Jesus [Philippians chapter 2 verse 5]. Showing genuine love, mercy and kindness to others.
I know I am only human and will never be perfect but it is my desire to reflect the love of God to others so His name can be gloried. So, I have decided to make every effort to change my attitude this year. To use the word of God as my guide to help me stay focused on Him. Strive to genuinely be a blessing to others and focus less on self. To watch my words to ensure that they are good, helpful and an encouragement to those who hear them [Ephesians 4 verse 29]. To look past the problems and issues that are beyond my control and focus more on the blessings.
Word in action
There are so many practical ways we could share the love of Christ. Being a shoulder to cry on or simply being willing to listen. Making time for friends and family. Buying or making a meal for someone. Visiting the sick and elderly. Helping those that are in need. Praying for one another. Sharing the gospel.
If a work colleague or friend needs a ride home but are going in the opposite direction, why not go the extra mile and offer to give them a ride home? Or just smile :-) it's amazing how such a small gesture can mean so much to so many.
So, this is my prayer this year - that I will get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, and slander, as well as all types of evil behaviour. That I will instead be kind, tender-hearted and forgiving others just as God through Christ has forgiven me [Ephesians chapter 4 verse 31 to 32].
Not only do I want to be obedient to God's word but also passionate about doing what pleases Him. I want to serve God wholeheartedly and with a smile.
Kandima Awendila was born in Mozambique and lives and works as an IT Service Desk Engineer on the Gold Coast.
Kandima Awendila's archive of articles may be viewed at www.pressserviceinternational.org/kandima-awendila.html