Last Thursday I did something odd. I stepped outside of my comfort zone in such an unexpected way. You see as an entrepreneur I’ve become more comfort getting uncomfortable. But it’s usually with things I expect to do such as podcast interviews, doing FB lives (you can like my page to get notified when I go live which is daily Monday-Friday), hosting virtual summits and interviewing other entrepreneurs, speaking on stages, and going to retreats and conferences. This thing didn’t really fit in with any of those things and it wasn’t related to my business directly. Although I can totally tie it into my business in hindsight.
I had just dropped my daughter off at school and grabbed a quick breakfast as I headed back home to get some work done. As I was driving home I cut through the Wal-Mart parking lot and a specific man caught my attention. He was sitting on the curb where the city bus makes stops, his head was down cast, and he had the look of worry on his face as if he was in deep thought about something that was weighing on him. The thought, “Staci, go ask him if he needs anything” crossed my mind.
Again I heard,“Staci, go ask him if he needs anything!”
I quickly rebutted back with wait, what? You want me to just walk up and ask this man if he needs anything? What if he tries to harm me after all he is a man and I’m a woman it wouldn’t take much to overpower me. What if he thinks I am insulting him? I kept driving as I gave myself one excuse after another and then I remembered the Redbox movie in my purse that I needed to return. Wal-Mart had a Redbox inside imagine that. I do not believe in coincidence. I do however believe in being guided by the Holy Spirit or as some call it our intuition.
So I told myself, “Staci, you’re going to park your car and return that movie but BEFORE you return that movie you’re going to go ask that man if he needs anything, got it?”
This man looked to be in his 50s or 60s, he had on a worn-out boot with holes on one foot and a supported sandal on the other, he was wearing a jacket in fairly warm weather and his head was hanging down cast. It seemed to me he had a lot going through his mind like he was dealing with something and it was difficult.
As I approached him I still wasn’t sure what I would say. It’s quite weird for a stranger to just walk up to you and ask if you need anything. It would catch me off guard if someone did that to me.
Well, my moment of truth arrived and I quickly found myself standing over him. I said, “Can I do anything for you?” He raised his head, looked up at me and said no. He had this confused and surprised look on his face. I said, “Are you sure there isn’t anything I can do for you?” Again, he said he was sure. At that point, I did what I felt I was called to do. I asked this stranger if there was anything I could do for him and he replied no.
But the story doesn’t end there. I didn't just say OK have a great rest of your day and go return my movie. Instead, I sat down next to him and explained that I realized how weird it was that I came over and asked if he needed anything. His reply caught me off guard, in fact, he didn’t agree with me. He replied with the question, “Are you a Christian?”
At that moment I thought to myself this could go really good or really bad. I replied, “Yes, I am” and immediately he said so am I. After that we introduced ourselves and began chatting about what church we each attended. Our conversation moved around from scripture and what we are called to do, to him waiting to catch the bus to go to the bank and get a new debit card, to his love of books and him being a writer, to him praying to God about his daily meals being provided.
Out of all the things we talked about the topic of his daily meals caught my attention the most. At first I thought to myself, good, now I know he has had breakfast and I mentally checked that off of my list of things I could do for him. Michael, that’s his name, told me that he told God that if he wanted him to eat then he would provide it for him. Only Michael didn’t stop there, he didn’t just say a prayer sit at home in his chair and wait for someone to knock on the door with a meal, no, he didn’t do that at all. He went into the McDonald’s and asked if they could make him some breakfast, eggs and pancakes to be exact. Now I don't know if he ordered it off the menu or if he just asked if someone would be willing to give it to him. I don't know like the details of it but he said you know they were able to make it for me.
I learned two lessons in him sharing this story with me. Lesson number one is that he went to God first. He talked to God about his need even though God knows all of our needs and he trusted that God would provide as he saw fit. Lesson number two he didn't just sit at home and pray about a meal without taking any action. Instead, he left his house, took the bus, went into a place who served food and asked for what he needed. He ASKED for what it was he needed! That is so powerful to me, as a person who doesn’t possess that as a strength. He needed a meal but first he asked God to provide if it was his will and then he went out and asked people who were in the business of making and serving food. I should not be surprised that he received exactly what he needed! These were such beautiful lessons that he had shared with me and he didn’t even realize it. In fact, I didn’t realize it until after I had some time to process it and bounce it off of a few people.
I walked away from our conversation that lasted about 15 minutes and I was like God I don't really know why you had me go over and check on him. I don't feel like I helped him one bit. Michael said he was ok, he mentioned that he had eaten breakfast, he mentioned he had a home to live in, he mentioned he had a debit card and was headed to the bank for a new one, he was using the bus as transportation, and he mentioned his love of books and writing. He didn't need any help.
When we feel led to check on someone we often feel like we should give them money, food, clothes, a place to stay, or help them find a job. The truth is if I would have bought him some food, gave him some clothes or some cash I would have felt that I helped him and probably wouldn't have given it anymore thought. Instead, I gave him time, attention, conversation, and a listening ear which proved to be quite powerful.
It’s far too easy for us to dismiss that gut feeling to do something or say something at a specific time. I could have kept driving because that would have been the easy thing to do and I wouldn’t have felt like I missed anything. But I didn’t do that this time, I stopped, I followed the directions I was given, and I engaged in a conversation that I walked away from feeling confused. I didn’t feel like I had benefitted that man in any way.
There were more lessons to be learned than I initially realized and there may even be more lessons to come.
I walked away from this experience with Michael having learned the following:
*I’m a good person and I do think about other people. I'm not thinking about myself 100 percent of the time.
*I trusted myself. I trusted myself to go over there and to be of service to someone even though I didn't know what that was going to look like or require of me. He could have asked for anything and I would have had to figure out how to make that happen for him.
*We never truly know the impact of our actions. We can do things with good intentions or even do things that weren’t meant to help someone but yet they do in some way. We don't know how great your impact is when we do things but we really have to trust that we are doing the right thing and walk away knowing that a life was changed and maybe ours too.
*It doesn’t take much to make our day and that of someone else’s interesting. It's not everyday a stranger walks up and ask you if you need anything.
*Helping someone doesn’t have to involve giving in a financial way. The giving of our time, attention, conversation, and listening ear can be so much more valuable.
*When we ask God to use us to bless others he will do so in extremely unexpected ways so it's great to have any open mind and be willing to take action on those gut feelings.
I say all of that to say follow your intuition/gut feeling, divine download when you feel it or hear it. When you feel that nudge to do something or say something or reach out in a certain way don’t ignore it instead lean into it and trust that God is using you to bless someone and grow yourself.
I often pray for God to use me to bless others and for him to use me as a vessel to reach others as I share what he has done in my life. Last Thursday I was able to see him do that so clearly. I get on FB live daily Monday-Friday, I share parts of my personal story, I share tips to help women change their life and keep them motivated and inspired. And while that an example of me being a blessing for people this felt different because it was live and in person and in such an unexpected way!
You have the POWER to help all kinds of people from the elderly, children, your peers, strangers, and friends alike in so many ways. I had an idea why not go through our day, or week, or even our month thinking about a way to make someone else’s day interesting? I feel like a lot of us have had a deep burning desire to truly help but we haven’t allowed ourselves to make it easy. We complicate it, we feel it’s got to be a big project, we have to wait until we have our life together more, we have to be able to give more money or start a non-profit. Just stop, that is not a starting point that more like an advanced level. Before you can get to the advanced level you’ve got to start. When we think about how we can help ONE person in a small but meaningful way that is how change occurs and that is how we fulfill that deep during desire to truly help others.
So this is me encouraging you to listen to your gut feeling and then take action on it. There is a great deal of power in that feeling if it’s acted upon at that moment. It’s powerful for the person on the receiving end and on your end as well. Remember to look for the lesson after you’ve followed through and talk it over with someone who doesn’t believe in confidence either. Plus you experience a great deal of personal and spiritual growth the more you listen to and follow that gut feeling. It also get’s stronger and louder the more attention you being to give it.
Life is about putting our faith into action and that my friend is how great impact is made in the world! If you are an amazing lady who has a burning desire inside of you (I know we all do) to do something more, to live a life that's really alive, to truly make an impact and experience true joy but you don’t know where to begin then this is for you. Maybe you've even started but you're feeling stuck you don't know the next step is I’ll share a little secret on that next step.
The next step is us getting on a call and breaking through that quick stand. Let's work through it together. Click here to book a breakthrough session at a time convenient for you.