Last week’s post entitled Crushed Confidence, received feedback that revealed the existence of many people who have been wounded and are in need of appreciation, affirmation and encouragement. Some of these people, are within our sphere of influence. We shouldn’t underestimate the power that we have to bring relief, hope and joy into their life. We shouldn’t allow ourselves to think that someone else will come along and do what we should have done. Is God placing us in the right place at the right time?
Your comments on my previous post are very appreciated and they really caused me to consider a few questions. How is it that hurting souls are all around us and we sometimes don’t notice them? Why do we hold ourselves back from engaging with others? How do we let these opportunities to help someone pass by? This happens for many reasons. Maybe we are too busy, in a hurry or didn’t even notice the need. We might be fearful of saying the wrong thing. We might doubt that a simple gesture will be enough. Maybe we are too self-absorbed and rarely reach out to another person. Maybe we genuinely believe that we have nothing to offer. Sometimes, these situations are complicated and messy and we would rather not invite complication or mess into our lives. My hope is that all of us will be motivated and encouraged, that we will be willing to slow down and notice the needs of others, that we will organize our lives in a way that it will free up extra time or resources and that we will go into action. For the individual who has been a bit self-absorbed, it’s time to get off of the me-me-me-go-‘round. Blessing someone else is gratifying and there is definitely no shortage of opportunities.
Who would I reach out to? Think about those who are in your circle. Each one of them is good at something and has special gifts. Now, tell them all about the positive things that you notice in them. Think of the many people that in some way, serve you. Is there someone who remembers you in their prayers or follows up with you on something that you previously told them? Is there someone who is thoughtful or someone who shows concern and checks on you? Is there someone that is constantly caring for others? Have you noticed a person who often seems alone? What about the elderly person at the grocery store or in your neighborhood? How about the person that you walk past that looks sad or bitter? If you attend church, how about the ministry workers that work behind the scenes cleaning, praying and protecting or that teacher that is faithfully there to receive your child, week after week? Don’t forget those that serve right in front of you, but put in hours of preparation each week behind the scene, such as the teachers, music team and media team. There will be a wounded person who will push you away. In this case, you might try being a little sneaky and doing some secret kindness. They won’t be able to push you away but they will be blessed immensely by knowing that someone truly cares about them. It might be the very thing to penetrate through that thick wall that they have built up around themselves.
Some might ask, “What do I have to give?” There are no skills required to say hello and offer a smile, a kind word or a sincere thank you. Try breaking away from your normal group and go say hello to someone new. Buy a package of beautiful blank note-cards and start writing notes of sincere encouragement, affirmations and appreciation. Ask an elderly person or person in a wheelchair or motorized cart, if you can help them by reaching for an item placed out of their grasp. Help a mom with young children, by offering to return her shopping cart, so that she doesn’t have to leave her children unattended. If you notice how well someone is parenting, let them know. Take a plate of your dinner over to a lonely neighbor or invite them over and get to know them. Take some valuable garden produce (not just your abundance of zucchini) over to a neighbor that doesn’t garden and let them know that you were thinking of them. Offer to help an elderly person to learn how to use their smart phone, tablet or computer. Take the time to listen to someone who just needs to talk. Do you have a gift for noticing great qualities in other people? Tell them what you see. If you have a friend or loved one, who lives in a critical eye environment, be sure to encourage them by acknowledging their good qualities. The purpose of all of this isn’t to solve the problems of other people, it is to demonstrate that you value them as a human being. Remember, the value of a person is so much more than the tasks that they complete – the value of each person is their essence. It’s their intrinsic nature and indispensable qualities, as a created human being.
We live in an era where personal interaction is becoming rare and there are too many people that rarely receive warmth from another human being, so there is no shortage of opportunities to bless, and even a small simple gesture will impact a wounded weary heart. Every human being needs to feel appreciated and valued. Be the person that brings hope back into someone’s life today.
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