Would you consider yourself an introvert or an extrovert?
Sometimes when we hear about steps of faith or missional living, we can be tempted to think it’s something for the outgoing people of the world who thrive on time with other people. But Jesus’ instruction to “love your neighbor” is not just for the extroverts. Introverts have neighbors too.
If you’re an introvert like me, missional living is something that takes consideration and preparation — especially approaching the holidays. To tell you the truth, holidays actually scare me. All of these people coming together to do nothing but talk, eat and then talk some more is intimidating.
A Thanksgiving meal can make me want to say, “Goodbye everyone, I’ll be upstairs eating turkey in the attic.”
For all of you introverts — and you extroverts can listen in too — I want to explore some ways that we can share our faith with whomever we’re spending time with this holiday season. There are things we can do this Thanksgiving to express our faith and talk about Christ with those we love.
Prepare for Thanksgiving
A Thanksgiving meal takes a lot of preparation. We brine the turkey and cook it for hours. We peel the potatoes and decide what pie we will make or buy.
What if our hearts need as much prepping as what’s on the table? What if we need to consider the ways we’re going to interact with family and friends gathered for the meal?
Here are a few suggestions for how you can prepare to take a step of faith this Thanksgiving:
- Pray. Take time to thank God for each person you’ve identified in your MissionHub app. Ask the Holy Spirit to direct what you might do with them next as a step of faith. Thanking God for these people strengthens your love for them. That love can prompt reserved people like us to take simple actions.
- Make a list of 10–15 reasons you are thankful to God this year. Be specific. These can be what we consider big blessings, like a relative recovering from illness. But smaller, daily blessings are just as appropriate. Making the list helps prepare you to share about these blessings with others.
- Spend time reading Psalms and list ways the psalmists offer thanks. Do a quick search using the word “thanks” to find psalms about thanksgiving. A great place to start is Psalm 107. This prep will put you in touch with the broader ways the people of God gave thanks for God’s amazing works. It will fuel your courage.
- Use MissionHub to create a step of faith with someone in your life in which you ask what the person is thankful for. Asking others a question like this often creates opportunities to talk about why you are thanking God.
And MissionHub can send you reminders about steps of faith we suggest to you, or about steps you create yourself. Just put a star on that step as you focus your week.
Plan your step of faith
Thanksgiving, and the holidays in general, creates unique opportunities to serve others. For example, my family has two particular neighbors we’ve been trying to connect with — and my daughter loves to bake.
So this year we plan to visit those neighbors before Thanksgiving and take orders for baked treats. This gives me a chance to connect with my daughter as we buy the supplies and do the work. A reserved person like me finds courage as I model love alongside my daughter.
What might you do? Take a little time to discuss with your family or a friend how you’d like to serve your neighbor or your neighborhood.
Maybe you could rake a neighbor’s yard. Or you could take 30 minutes to list people you love and care about who do not know Jesus. Then text, call or message them via social media saying why you’re thankful to God to have them in your life. Or maybe you could do a little baking like my daughter and bring something sweet to share.
Demonstrating the gospel over Thanksgiving
In a lot of homes the routine is to let the one, or the few, do most of the work. The many will rest, eat and get lulled to sleep in front of a football game. Have you ever been one of the many? I know I have.
This Thanksgiving is an opportunity to take a step of faith in serving others. Show those you gather with that the One who “came to serve, not to be served” is first in your life, by being the chief servant on that day.
Here are three simple ideas:
- Be ready to help prepare the meal, set the table and greet anyone coming over. If you are going to another person’s home, as you arrive ask how you might help.
- Make a commitment to yourself to serve others before, during and after the Thanksgiving meal. And if that’s not usual behavior for you, that’s okay. In that case even more people are likely to notice your service.
- Think of someone you can invite to share your meal who may have never experienced Thanksgiving. Maybe you know someone from another country who would love to know what all the fuss is about. Include them in your celebration and make sure to explain the story of Thanksgiving.
Whether you take one of the ideas above or create your own, be sure to record your step of faith on the MissionHub app. It will notify you to help you remember what you wanted to do. And it enables you to stay focused on the people you’re reaching out to, their responses and how to pray for them.
And remember, if anyone asks you why you’re going out of the way to serve them, give God the credit.