I'm a big believer in supporting and encouraging people. I'm a believer in uplifting one another. And I can't imagine a life lived that doesn't need some sort of encouragement to face the next day. To know what they are doing matters to someone else. Whether it's kisses from our babies, words of appreciation from our spouse, or people just showing up for or celebrating something we are passionate about. Those things matter.
I think sometimes we like to think we believe so much in ourselves and our passions that no matter what anyone thinks, we are doing this to make us happy or to honor the Lord, etc. But the truth is, the support of people helps us make that next move. I believe God created us with the desire for someone to believe in us. That's why he didn't leave Adam alone in the garden. He gave him Eve.
In a world of selfies and instagram photos of everything we do, it seems that the desire for human admiration is evident. That's not necessarily a bad thing. I think it becomes a bad thing when it's all about us and we have nothing to give to others. It becomes a bad thing if we can't see through the fog of human approval and see how much the Lord loves us and how much He desires to give to us, work through us and fill us with his abundance of good things.
But the need for support from others is human nature.
With that said, I wanted to share some tips in supporting and encouraging others. Part of our job as humanity is simply to show kindness, respect and love to people.
This one is easy for me, yet hard for me at the same time. I love listening to people's stories. I love hearing where people came from. I love giving people the opportunity to talk about themselves. A friend and I were talking about women's ministry a few weeks back and we were talking about how we need to give more women the opportunity just to talk about themselves, their kids and their lives and have people really listen. But when it comes to one on one conversation, in my head, I'm always thinking of my response or what I want to say. Sometimes people just need to talk and they need you to listen and hear them. I'm not a fan of when I'm telling somebody something and they interrupt with their thought before I have even finished mine, so doing it to others is something I really have to work hard at. Just listen...
Put down your phone.
I was watching a cheezy ABC Family Christmas Movie the other day, "Holidays in Handcuffs" with Mario Lopez and Melissa Joan Hart. They had this scene where all the cell phones were collected during Christmas Day. The phones were all locked away. And I thought to myself, we need to do that. We need to be present more. I was talking to my hubby the other day, telling him a story while he was playing a game on his phone and he sort of chuckled at the end of my story and said, "Oh really?" I could tell he had no idea what I said. I asked him to repeat back to me what I told him (yes, I did that) and whatever he thought he heard was not even close to what I told him. We are all guilty of this. Scrolling through our instagram, or playing a game, or editing a photo while someone is trying to talk to us or watch a movie with us. Leave it at home. Lock it away if the temptation is too great.
Surprise someone and show up.
We all get invited to a lot of everything, probably. Especially with facebook and the 'event' maker. Suddenly everyone is our close friend and wants us to come to their event. We can't always do everything. We don't want to neither. We'd rather sit home. We finally got the kids settled, we finally have our house clean and the last thing we want to do is get dressed and go somewhere. We have better things to do, like watch netflix or read a good book. But people need you to be there for them. I was invited to a party recently and I was tired~ let's face it, I have 4 kids so I'm always busy. But my mom called me and asked me if I was going and I said "I guess I can go." My mom and I showed up. That's it. My mom and I showed up. And we are glad we did. It's a bummer big time when you have an event everyone is too busy or lazy to come to or people just don't think it's important. Even if it's not important to you, it's important to someone. I'm not saying we all have to go to everything we are invited to, but make an effort to get our of your comfort zone occasionally and be there for someone else. It means a lot to them. Put yourself in their shoes. You will probably be glad you did.
This is easy. Social Media. I'm not exactly sure how much good it does, but it means a lot to the people involved. If you have a friend that owns a shop, writes on a blog, makes music, plays in a band, etc or if you go to a church that you believe in and they are having an event open to the public, or even if someone you love shares something passionate or moving in a status, don't just like it but share it with others. Let that person know you believe in them enough to share what they are passionate about with others. It's easy to share our passions and thoughts, what about someone else's?
Look beyond the noise and see the person.
We all have people we love, people we admire, and people we esteem highly in our lives. But that doesn't necessarily mean we agree with everything they say or everything they do. Sometimes it makes it difficult to find ways to support them or encourage them, but it's those times when it's the hardest for you to voice encouragement, that God will mend those feelings of bitterness or irritation or discontent. Step out of your feelings about what they are doing or saying for a moment and ask the Lord to see them how He sees them. People are not perfect. We all need compassion, forgiveness, understanding of where we are in life and we need to be merciful to others. I'm with everyone else. I get just as frustrated as any other person with people some days, but I ask God to help me overcome these 'feelings' and I can always find a way to bless someone who hurts me, bugs me, or frustrates me.
During the Christmas season, I think a lot about this incredible gift God gave us.
We didn't deserve Jesus. We didn't deserve redemption. We didn't deserve a second chance. But he gave us his only son because HE loves US. The best gift we can give to others is love and one of the best ways we can show it is to be encouraging. The little things really do matter. The things we say or do to love and support one another.
I'm so incredibly grateful for those who have encouraged me in my blogging and writing journey. I've not always felt like I was making any difference and at times I've wanted to believe it was just for myself anyways, but the truth is, it's those emails and comments where people encourage me that helps me continue.