I wonder how many times we miss out on something special because we don’t listen to that nudge in our spirits urging us to do something that seems crazy or awkward. Do you know what I’m talking about? An inner prompting that feels like the Holy Spirit is calling you to action in a way that may make you uncomfortable but could bless another?
While on a mini vacation with my husband, I asked a friend familiar with the area for her favorite restaurant recommendations. Wanting something casual, we chose a place known for its local sourcing and exceptional wood-fired pizzas. We arrived just ahead of an evening rush we had no idea was about to hit, a good indication the food was going to be delicious.
The hostess seated us beside their large street-side window. A big group could fit nicely in this small nook by pushing all the two-person tables together, or, as was the case the night we were there, they could be separated for couples or paired for groups of four. One long bench provided seating on the interior side of the glass while chairs lined the far side of the tables.
A retired couple to my left was already enjoying their salads when we arrived, and right as we got settled, two young women snagged the table to my right. It was close seating among strangers, the kind that made drifting in and out of each other’s conversations impossible to avoid. I wouldn’t call it eavesdropping exactly, but it was hard not to hear snippets of chatter when there was a natural lull in our own conversation or when we were stuffing our mouths.
Because we were in a college town, it was natural to conclude the girls were students. They also seemed to be good friends. Their energy and enthusiasm was palpable, and their joy and affection warmed my heart. My mind slipped to thoughts of my own college best friend, and even to my daughter and her BFFs. The rarity of friendships that last a lifetime make them a treasure to be cherished.
I was intentionally trying not to listen to them, but as we were finishing our pizza, I couldn’t help it. They began “arguing” over who was going to pay for their appetizer. “I’ll pay for the poutine,” the first girl announced, and her friend just as quickly said, “You can’t do that, we’ll split it!” As they were going back and forth about how to divide their check, out of nowhere, I heard this voice in my spirit insist, “You pay for the poutine.” It was as loud as it was outrageous.
I argued with the voice inside my head, but it was emphatic, and I remember thinking, “Really, God? Poutine??” I considered paying for their whole dinner, but this holy nudge was that specific — poutine only. I had cash in my wallet — a rarity for me — and before I chickened out, I blurted, “No, I’m going to pay for the poutine!” and I slipped the money on the table. I told them I had never done anything like this before, but I felt a holy prompting I couldn’t refuse. Tad and I hadn’t even had time to discuss it, and I wondered if he thought I was as crazy as I felt.
Their gracious response was a far greater gift than the few dollars I doled out. The one right beside me, Amber, touched her heart and said, “Can I hug you?” and the one beside Tad, Rae, following Amber’s lead with a hug of her own said, “I can’t believe you did this!” Their gratitude was sincere and heartfelt, and even though I was self-conscious and it didn’t seem like much, I believed I was being obedient to a holy prompting.
Sometimes the best part of a meal has nothing to do with the food (unless the meal includes my apple pie, which some maintain is the best in the world).
Later, I wondered if this was something of my own doing, a random act of kindness I misattributed to God. That’s entirely possible. While I believe in this instance I was being obedient to something small He was asking of me, I know there are times when we’re mistaken. Regardless, I know I offered it with the right heart, in the spirit of 1 Corinthians 10:31:
So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do everything for the glory of God.
Whether or not God was the initiator, my motive was to glorify Him.
Even a modest offering sown in joy and love can reap abundant blessing, and in this particular exchange, I think I received a greater gift than the girls. My experience also makes me want to ask the Lord to sensitize my heart toward the needs of those around me. I don’t want to miss another opportunity to encourage someone who might just need to know God is active in this world and interested in their lives. As Mother Teresa said, “Not all of us can do great things. But we can do small things with great love.”
My Canadian friends have always behaved as if eating poutine — French fries and cheese curds covered in brown gravy — is a spiritual experience. I guess they weren’t kidding.
Have you ever been on the giving or receiving end of a holy nudging? Will you join me in praying for God to make our hearts tender so we’re ready to give whatever He asks?
Even a modest offering sown in joy and love can reap abundant blessing. - @robindance: Click To Tweet Leave a Comment
Joining you in prayer that God will open our eyes to the needs of others around us and for us to discern the voice of the Holy Spirit and God that we recognise when we receive a holy nudging and comply.
Robin Dance says
I love the idea of us joining our virtual hands to pray this sweet prayer. Where two or more are gathered — offline or on — God is with us! <3
Such a timely moment and love this part —> “Lord sensitize my heart to the needs of those around me!” In a world that is inundated with selfies, twitter, cell phones and driving fast to the next “whatever” thing is on our to do list, this poutine grabbed me in a place that needed watering and reminded of what matters, (Soli deo Gloria) and sensitized me. Open the eyes of my heart so I can walk in all of the nudges He has for me. Praying with you ladies, and Robin this was oh so timely. Bless you all! -Mikki
Robin Dance says
Mikki, Yes, friend–to God be the glory! <3 Your words bring a large circle of encouragement that I can only hope keep getting larger :). What would our world be like if more hearts were sensitive to the Spirit's leading? What a wonderful thought! xo
Thank you for this reminder and to pay attention to those feelings. The hardest part is listening and putting action into what you feel. On a very cold, windy night in the fall several years ago while getting gas at a full station gas station the attendant pumped my gas. I could easily tell he was so cold and busy with a lot of cars pulling in. I believe God prompted me to buy the frozen gas attendant a coffee at Dunkin Donuts down the street. I asked him if he would like a hot coffee. I would buy it for him. He looked so surprised. He agreed. So I drove down the street and purchased his large hot coffee. When I returned I handed it to him and said God put it on my heart to buy it for him. He thanked me. I am not sure to this day if he thought I was crazy but at least I listened to God. That one action could have planted a small seed in that young man’s heart.
Robin Dance says
Oh, Amy…what a beautiful story!! It gave me chills! I have NO doubt you impacted him in a huge way! I bet he tells the story again and again. What if that gesture planted a seed of faith? Of course, he may already know the Lord, but I sure hope these are the kinds of things we get to know in Heaven :).
ANNY EVERAERT says
Love and Gods blessings
Robin Dance says
Lara Sadowski says
Wonderful post, Robin! I just prayed this same prayer for The Lord to sensitize my heart to the needs of others around me. Thank you for this awesome reminder!! <
Praise God from Whom All Blessings Flow!
Joy in Jesus,
Robin Dance says
Lara, you’ll have to tell me if you act on any Holy nudges :). You can always come back and reply to this post and I’ll receive an email :). That would be AMAZING if lots of (in)sisters rose up to “buy poutine” for others. Of course, the gesture could have nothing to do with food, lol, so how exciting to see many versions of this same thing?
Sherill H. says
Sunday blessings to you ladies & Robin. This is a timely & ripe reminder that “We are God’s workmanship, recreated in Christ Jesus, unto good works, which God has already ordained that we should walk in them (Ephesians 2:10). The Lord knows who will come across our paths & He graciously enlists us in his work of revealing his love, grace, and goodness to others. So they may see our good works and Glorify our father in heaven. Rejoicing & expectantly joining in prayer that we would be sensitive to the holy nudges his sweet spirit gives us towards others. Blessings to All!!
Being Canadian I understand how Poutine falls into a category of it’s own, but yet with God’s nudge you made the effort to make it even more so. Thank-you for sharing this God inspired story with us.
In Jan. when we brought our black lab puppy home for our son, he named her Lily. After two months he was dxed with T1D at age 11. It just so happened that some of his supplies are manufactured by a company with the same name. I believe God nudged me to find her knowing what was in store. I am thankful for her and that my husband was on board.
Have a blessed day all,
Kim Hyland says
Robin, I had a nudge like that just today! I almost ignored it, but instead I went with it. And just a few minutes later, I saw the subject line of your post in my inbox.
A sweet and timely affirmation from you and God. Thank you
Beth Williams says
Thank you for listening to the Holy Spirit’s prompting. You just never know what your good deeds mean to someone. My elderly neighbor lost her only living son. When I heard about it I quickly got food together & took it over. I spent time with her. Then I found out her granddaughter, only one caring for her, was going to be out of town for one week. I got a bunch of food together she could easily microwave. I wanted her to know that I care & so does God. One of our local Christian radio stations has a “drive-thru difference” first Monday of each month. When going through the drive thru you pay for yours & the one behind you. We live in a fast paced world. Each day we rush from here to there. Sometimes never noticing anyone or anything. It takes practice to slow down & listen for the Holy Spirit’s prompting. The more we do this the more we are sharing Christ’s love with this hurting world. You never know how a small act will impact a person’s life.
Kathleen Bailey says
I’m Canadian and YES, eating poutine is a spiritual experience lol. That’s nice that you paid attention to your nudge and made them happy. Nice story.
Sweet Robin. When my daughter was very young, she and I had a similar experience. Ours was being led to leave a larger tip and a note expressing our joy in having her as our waitress. A great moment for all involved. My daughter learned how to treat those who work in a service industry to make a living and we also learned that a kindness and/or a token of appreciation does much to uplift all involved. Sweet memory.
I could oh so relate to your article. I’ve had a couple instances of this recently and paying for someone is very difficult for me. Mostly because I’m not just rolling in the dough and also because I have to tell my husband where our money is going! A few weeks ago I was walking out of the ER after dealing with a health crisis involving my father (he was fine PTL!), I saw a women from the previous church I attended and called out to her. Long story short – she had been there because she had pulled a muscle in her back. She said “I don’t have the money to get the script” so I offered to pay and said she could pay me back and asked what pharmacy to meet her back. Honestly… I was worried that she didn’t have insurance and how much the 2-3 scripts would be… and selfishly wondered if I would ever be paid back…. But I had felt the Holy nudge and there was no turning back at that point…. Went to the pharmacy and it rang up at $5 for all of the scripts. LOL
A few weeks later I came upon a young lady, early 20’s who had clearly been in an accident and she had kids just standing around and she was bawling and pacing. Someone had stopped and was talking with her. Normally, I’d think this isn’t my business or someone else is helping her but I was absolutely compelled to get out and see what was going on and what I could do to help. This girl had gotten in an accident and drove off because she was scared. She had her 4 brothers and sisters with her whom she had picked up from school and her mom had a CPS case on her so she was afraid that if she stayed at the scene of the accident that it would hurt her family so she just drove off. I don’t know how she got as far as she did, the car was in rough shape! Yet some how she’d made it to our neighborhood and was in our entrance to my subdivision.
It was the most amazing thing… I wasn’t supposed to be there. I had plans that night but had gotten sick that weekend so I canceled. I stopped even though she appeared to being helped by another neighbor (the neighbor drove off before I got out of my car) and this girl was just in real need of guidance. I told her that I would have to call the police because it would be worse for her if not reported. Her mom showed up and took the kids, left and never came back to assist her daughter.
I called the police and they extended grace to her and only gave her a ticket. She couldn’t pay for a tow truck and I felt a Holy nudge to pay for it myself. She couldn’t understand why I would do that. I had a Christine Caine book in my car that she picked up and looked at the back of and asked me if I believed in God. We waited for TWO hours for the tow truck and in that time I was able to share my faith with her and talk with her at length about her life. I do not say this to pat myself on the back or take any of the glory. Undoubtedly, I completely choked when trying to share the gospel but even weeks later – I still can’t believe that God gave me the opportunity to do so.
Maybe the girl was just overly emotional and caught up in the moment but her mother called me later and said that I had opened a door for her. I’ll probably never know what that means for her this side of heaven, but it was really meaningful to me. I felt needed as a daughter of Christ. I felt like I could useful as part of the church, that for a moment I was not less than and that I was right where I needed to be. I LOVE those moments. I pray for more Holy nudges and the obedience to respond in faith!