Meaningful, Valuable & Impactful – Words Have Meaning

How do you feel when someone acknowledges a positive characteristic in you?  You’re elated, right?  It’s like they’ve become the wind beneath your wings.  I sincerely hope that each of you has someone in your life, that gives you the gift of encouragement.  Now, I challenge you – be that person to someone else.  Give the gift of words that are meaningful, valuable and impactful – words that lift up.

It is pleasant to hear that someone likes you or even loves you, but when they are specific as to why they feel this way, it takes you to a new level.  Put some thought into your admiration and let them know what it is.  Put a name to it.  Following are some examples but don’t stop here – add the how, when and why that you’ve noticed this about them.

>You’re kind.

>You’re observant.

>You’re sensitive.

>You’re cheerful.

>You’re charming.

>You’re joyful.

>You’re wise.

>You’re gifted in the area of ….

>You’re talented in the area of ….

>You’re an encourager.

>You’re generous.

How about when someone has a deep impact on you?  Have you observed that they smile and lift the spirits of others?  Are they a musician who impacts you with their music?  Did they teach you or exhort you and open your eyes?  Did they sweep in and help you to improve your living conditions?  Does their gift give you joy?  Do their writings inspire you?  Has their input into your life, made you a better human being?  Has their encouragement lifted you up out of a pit and put you upon a rock?  Tell them.  Write your thoughts down and give it to them.  Your words have more meaning than you might realize.

One last thought, don’t overlook that person that appears to be confident.   They are mostly self-assured but all humans need to receive encouragement and many long to know that they are positively impacting the lives of others.    Life has a way of demoralizing even the most self-assured people.  Your kind and thoughtful words, might be the boost that they need to continue on.

Be a characteristic specific encourager, and be sure to tell them the how, when and why.  You might be the person that brings sunshine into a gloomy heart and mind.

She’s a Rock

There’s this woman that we know.  She’s rock candy.  Solid and strong as a rock but sweet as candy.  She appears to be self-assured.  She is a ray of sunshine.  From the outside, it looks like her entire life is peachy.   She notices when others aren’t coming around and she checks up on them.  She senses when others seem down or burdened and she offers help or encouragement.  Others rely on her and she seems to have the time to come to their aid.  Since she’s a rock, people assume that she has no emotional, physical or spiritual needs but I assure you, she is human too.  She’s a flesh and blood woman with challenges, struggles, pain and heartaches.  She doesn’t always have her life, emotions or health in order?  Sometimes she feels like everything in her life is falling apart.  Sometimes she feels like she is falling apart.

 

What makes her different?  Why does she appear to have life under control?  How does she have spare time and energy to reach out to others?  It’s simple – she just makes a moment by moment choice to focus on working hard and conducting herself with excellence and integrity and she reaches outward to others in lieu of becoming overly self-focused.  She is strong, caring and compassionate but her life is far from perfect.  She has the same challenges in her faith and trust, marriage and children, job and home, health and beauty, as every other woman.

 

She is trusting, patient and forgiving but when she reaches her own personal limit of hurtful, disrespectful, rude or careless behavior from another human being, she will draw the line.  Because of her authentic character, she won’t always merely distance herself.  Her strength causes her to confront the situation but her kind nature causes her to choose her words very carefully.  She will keep the majority of the details to herself, only telling the bare minimum of what she has experienced and she will trust that God will handle the rest.  If this woman decides to confront, she has considered the circumstances carefully.  A wise person will listen and consider what she has said for she has already proven her integrity.  It is most likely the truth and even though there is much more to the story, out of politeness or consideration of the feelings or reputation of those who are involved, she won’t discuss it.  Don’t talk behind her back or blame her for the wrongdoings of someone else and don’t try to influence others to think badly of her.  All of this adds insult to her injury.  Instead, remember how this woman gave generously and realize that she simply reached a point of self-preservation.

 

Lastly, realize that this woman needs care too.  Ask her about her life.  She’s not strong all of the time.  Sometimes she is exhausted.  Sometimes she is crippled by fear.  Sometimes she is in physical or emotional pain.  She gives her love freely but she still needs to receive love.  She needs to know that others genuinely care about her too.  She needs to know that she has positively impacted other lives.

 

Would you be the one who cares for her?  Make today the day or let her wake up tomorrow with a message or phone call from you.  Ask her how she slept, or how she’s feeling, or ask her about her life, or just let her know that you’ve been thinking about her.  Let her know how she has impacted you.  These might seem like small gestures, but her heart will soar all day long.

Mom, I Love You

When Jesus saw His Mother and the disciple whom he loved, He said “Woman, behold your son” and to the disciple, He said “behold, your mother”.  Jesus was dying on that cross – His own weight crushed His lungs and He was suffocating.  Even worse, he experienced the emotional and spiritual darkness of separation from His Father.  Why at that moment did he give his mother to a trusted and loved friend?  Why did He not make these arrangements previously?  Why not during supper in the upper room?  Why not during the days after his resurrection before He ascended to heaven?

Christ, during His most physically, mentally and spiritually demanding experience took a moment to tell His mother, “Mom, I love you, I care for you and I have provided for you”.  He demonstrated the commandment “honor your father and mother”.   Why did he choose this moment?  Could He have been communicating a message to us?  No matter how demanding and crazy our lives get – is it possible to still spend time and effort to honor our parents?

You might live near your parents or far away from them.  They may be healthy and active or their health may be failing.  Some have a great relationship with their parents and some are estranged from them.  Many of us have lost at least one parent to death.  No matter what conditions exist, there is a way that you can honor them or their memory.

>Call to catch up or fondly remember the past, or just simply listen to them unload – aging parents are dealing with challenges that sometimes overwhelm them and they need the support.

>Give them a new photo of their grandchildren.  Don’t send it electronically unless they specifically want that format.

>Write a heartfelt letter telling your parents what they mean to you and how much you appreciate what they have done for you.  Now would be a good time to thank them for their wisdom.

>Ensure that their memory will live on and tell your children stories about their grandparents.   If you don’t have children, tell others about your parents.

>Give them a special gift.  Something that they would never buy for themselves.

>Treat them with respect and don’t steal their dignity.  Although there may be areas where they will need help in making decisions, allow them to continue making decisions.

>If you live nearby, give them practical helps.

>If you are estranged from a parent, now is the time to cast aside your pride, if that has been the problem.  This is the parent that God gave to you and even if they are abusive, you can still honor them without allowing the toxic behavior to enter into your life.

>Remember that your parent isn’t only a parent.  They are a man or woman with human needs and unique gifts.  You will send their heart soaring when you take the time to get to know them as this wonderful creation and acknowledge what you see.

On this Mother’s Day, put your heart and mind into the gift that you give to her.  What would she cherish?  Flowers are nice but eventually they wilt and will have to be thrown away.  Lunch out is a treat to her but it only lasts for a little while.  How about also giving her a handwritten letter, expressing your appreciation for her?    Happy Mother’s Day!

Living as a Pauper

I’ve been a Christian for over half of my life – shouldn’t I know better by now?  I know that God isn’t a liar, so why do I live my life as though I don’t always believe Him? Why do I live as though I am destitute, when God tells me something very different? According to God, the same riches that He has given to Jesus Christ, are available to me.

I am a life-long people pleaser and it occurs to me that in my people pleasing, I am like a pauper standing on the road-side, begging for a scrap of something from other human beings.  Love, acceptance, respect, friendship – all good things but when I elevate them above God’s opinion of me, I am stuck in a cycle of elation to despair.

When someone treats you badly, do you begin to view yourself as a devalued human being? Sometimes we disrespect others and sometimes we are disrespected.  According to God, this is unacceptable and He doesn’t give us any exclusions or exceptions.  We are to esteem others as higher than ourselves but too often, the opposite occurs.  Here are some examples.  A loved one or friend who fails to take the time to understand you and instead tries to change you, rather than valuing your unique gifts. Someone who blames you for their relationship problems with someone else. A jealous or insecure woman who judges or dislikes another woman, simply because of her appearance or bubbly personality. Someone who spreads lies and damages a reputation. A friend who is willing to accept kindness but does not reciprocate care or concern.  A woman who is pleasant toward someone in front of her husband but at other times communicates disdain.  A wife that is jealous or possessive and requires that her husband not show kindness to another human being.  A group of men or women who exclude someone from their clique.  How about the woman who treats another woman cruelly because her husband admires this woman?  Teenagers – they can be crude and cruel and their jealousy toward another teen, can cause them to behave and speak in a horrible manner.  Teasingly referring to body part size, facial features, hair, skin or clothing can send a young person into despair.

If you are capable of living out the “haters gonna hate” and then shake it off method, you are very fortunate.  For others, these rejections lead to despair. Dear tenderhearted one, if you are in Christ Jesus, you will need to continually remind yourself of your identity. Your identity is in how God views you, not in how other people treat you.  If you have trusted Jesus for the payment of your sins, this is what God says about you: you are no longer condemned, God adopted you into His family, God has given you an inheritance of spiritual riches, God showers you in kindness, God sees Jesus’ righteousness when He looks at you, you are His beloved and all of this gives Him pleasure.  Simply put, you are very wealthy.

If you belong to Jesus, take the wealth of love that God lavishes upon you and then love others – just don’t make them an idol by elevating them above God in your life. If you have not made Jesus the Lord of your life, you must start there. With Adam and Eve, sin entered the world and God’s required payment for sin is spiritual death which is eternal separation from Him. Thankfully, God didn’t leave us there – He made a plan for us to be reconciled to Him. His Son paid the penalty on the cross, for your sin. All you must do to receive this salvation from spiritual death, is simply accept His gift to you. Place your trust in Jesus’ finished work on the cross.

God adopted me and this gave Him great pleasure. Ephesians 1:5