How do I know what counts?
Authentic Activation is the most complex part of Holy Mischief. Deciding what to do , when to do it, and with whom can be a stumbling block for many people. The truth is that no one is counting. If you have the nudge from the Holy Spirit telling you that God might have been present in your connection with another person, then it probably was Holy Mischief. If you’ve prayed about this first then perhaps God has given you the answers already, but God doesn’t always work that way. Sometimes you just need to be attentive in your every day life to be open for times of possible connection with others.
I recently interviewed Janis from my church. She listened to the Holy Spirit and was convicted to do an act of Holy Mischief at a time when she wasn't even thinking about it. You can watch her tell the story here:
Did you hear what Janis' daughter Marcy said? Sometimes we feel guilty about doing Holy Mischief because it makes us feel good too and we if we feel good about it we question if it counts. There's a lot of science behind Holy Mischief. A phenomenon known as "volunteers high" can happen when we do acts of kindness in the world. But when we do them with Authentic Activation, we can transform the world because they are covered in prayer with the power of the Holy Spirit.
You may have seen these steps before but I believe they are important to review. These are the steps to making your act of Holy Mischief authentic and ready to be acted upon. While this system has its faults, these steps empower you to authentically activate God’s love in the world:
Steps to Authentic Activation:
- Pray - You aren’t doing this just to check a box but because of your relationship with God. If you need inspiration on how to pray, check out one of my favorite articles from Crosswalk.com or my article on Prayer Basics.
- Truly set your intention to love your neighbor. When you do that you open yourself up to see where God is working in the world.
- Pay attention. There are people in need all around us but each person’s need looks very different. Sometimes people need to eat. Sometimes they need to know that another person sees them So for one person you might buy them a cup of coffee or breakfast sandwich because you’re not sure when they’ll get their next meal. For another person you might buy them a cup of coffee or a breakfast sandwich because you see them and it doesn’t matter what they’ve done or who they are… but they matter. Both people do.
- Don’t throw away your shot. If you get the nagging feeling that you missed an opportunity, you probably did. But don’t dwell on your lack of follow through. Instead reflect on why you missed it. What were the clues that this person was someone who needed Holy Mischief? How can you be more aware next time?
- Reflect. Where did you see God in your Holy Mischief encounter? We often forget to reflect. If Reflecting allows us to be attentive to how the Holy Spirit was working through this so that we will be more aware the next time an opportunity is before us.
- Rinse and repeat.
-Rev. Dr. Shannon E. Karafanda
P.S. - Your challenge for this week: pray for God to let you know who needs to hear from you this week and write them a letter the old fashioned way - with pen and paper.