I think God told me to make a bunch of phone and Skype calls over the holidays. I can’t say for certain that the idea came from God, but it bears signs of His style of communicating (see below: “Signs That It’s God and Not Just My Imagination”).
The idea was simple: There are 12 days of Christmas—so make a list of 12 people you haven’t talked to in a long time and give one a call each day. There doesn’t need to be an agenda—just listen, affirm, and bless people.
At first I wasn’t even sure I knew 12 people who would appreciate a call like that. But I asked God for a list, and started jotting down names. Pretty soon I had the list.
My next challenge was figuring out when the 12 Days of Christmas actually are. Turns out they are the period between Christmas Day and Epiphany (January 6). Well, that wasn’t going to work too well for me, as I headed back to work on the 27th and had commitments many evenings. I needed to start before Christmas and probably I won’t be finished until after Epiphany. But I was pretty sure God wasn’t trying to hold me to the letter of His idea—just the spirit of it. So I went ahead with it anyhow.
I tracked down phone numbers, Skype handles, and WhatsApp addresses. I started checking to see when folks with super-busy schedules could talk—or if they even wanted to (one didn’t, and that’s fine). But then the fun began. And, even for phone-averse me, it has been fun!
I called my seventh-grade Sunday school teacher. I “WhatApped”* an international college student I knew from my late husband’s teaching days. I phoned a friend from high school. I Skyped a former colleague who moved cross country. I rang up my old fifth-grade school teacher. And there are still more to go.
It’s been meaningful to catch up with these old friends and mentors. I’m pretty sure they enjoyed the contact, too. And it seems to me that God is smiling on the whole thing because it was His idea, after all.
*WhatsApp is a nifty way to make free phone calls to just about anywhere in the world using WiFi and a smart phone.
Signs That It’s God and Not Just My Imagination
Sign one: The idea came from left field. I was just having my regular morning quiet time. I wasn’t thinking of a project. I wasn’t thinking about people I haven’t talked to in a long time. I was just reading my Bible and praying through the needs that were closest to my heart. But there, out of the blue, came this idea.
Sign two: It wasn’t my own wishful thinking. On the face of it, it didn’t sound very appealing to me. I often worry that I’m mistaking my own little pipe dreams for God’s voice. But trust me, this is not the kind of thing I long for in my dreams. I’m not a fan of the phone. I call my mother once a week—and often that’s the only phone call I make all week. So I don’t think I made this one up.
Sign three: It was an answer to prayer. Christmas as a widow is always hard. I’d been asking God to make my holiday meaningful this year. And this was part of His answer—even though I didn’t recognize it at first.
Sign four: It had great fruit-bearing potential. I realized that if I were to follow through on God’s idea, others would be blessed. I could be a conduit of God’s love to them.
Sign five: It aligned with Scripture. The New Testament is full of verses about loving one another, listening to one another, and remembering and honoring those who have had impact on our lives.
Sign six: It lined up with God’s character. God is all about reaching out to people, pursuing them, taking time for them.
Sign seven: It was much better and more creative than the ideas I typically come up with.