‘So speak encouraging words to one another. Build up hope so you’ll all be together in this, no one left out, no one left behind’~1 Thessalonians 5:11.
We need to high-five each other more. Almost a year ago, I felt God ask me to offer a weekly ‘blessing’ to our pastor. Sending an e-mail each week to him letting him know that something he said resonated with my heart. This exercise is not easy for me on several levels–especially given my track record with pastors. Most of the time I feel like I’m the ‘sheep’ in the flock that pastors want to sell to market…. Fear sometimes grips my soul as I write out a piece of my heart to him. In some ways, I feel healing coming to areas where hurts lie deeply from church experiences. He has told me how much he looks forward to the e-mails, because he questions if anything he says in his sermons has value to someone. Insecurities haunt the best of us.
We need to high-five each other more. A friend has been incapacitated a long time. At times, she expresses feeling failure that she isn’t well yet. I encouraged her that she is moving forward and healing. It just takes time. As she takes baby steps and wills herself to accomplish her physical therapy, I see great courage and at the same time fear in her eyes. What if her current state is as good as it gets? Her insecurities give her one more obstacle to overcome on her quest toward health. Her husband spear-headed a campaign to have 7 friends take a day of the week to text her encouragement. I look forward each week to my day, and I text her ‘Praying for you’ on other days, as I think of her. She has said that those messages all of us send help give her courage and feel less alone.
We need to high-five each other more. I read an article giving statistics of what a mother’s job is worth (about $60,000/year). The comment section was brutal. A lot of people out there have ‘mommy issues’ or just plain ‘woman issues.’ I felt personally attacked as I kept reading (stupid mistake) the vitriolic discussions that claimed that being a mom is a cushy way of life. Wow! My insecurities about the choices I’ve made in life seem justified when I read some of those comments, and I’m tempted to feel like a failure with my life. Thank you, Jud, for thinking more highly of what I do for our family than that! A friend recently moved and said some really wonderful parting thoughts to me. She was shocked (after reading my first blog post that explains the title of my blog) that I think of myself as an ‘extra’ or ‘supporting character’ in life. Her words still encourage me to think kinder thoughts toward myself.
We need to high-five each other more. Our insecurities may remain hidden, but they affect our lives and how we relate to people. All of us need to know there are people who think the best of us and hope the best for us. Are we willing to be brave and open with someone about what their life means to us? A couple of lines in a text, email or note go a long way. A sentence or two face-to-face or in a phone call can strengthen someone more than we realize. In this world where people judge and convict others based on gender, sexual identity, political convictions, race and many other prejudices, may we learn and teach others to give kudos just as loudly when we see the face of God in someone’s character and acts of compassion.
In the approaching holiday season, let us take some time to give gifts of encouragement to others who need to know someone values them.
Have you experienced someone ‘high-fiving’ you? What did that mean to you? How can you ‘high-five’ someone this week?