Do You Need Encouragement?

I’m an affirmation junkie, almost to making it snare, so I have to be careful about this. As long as I’m careful, compliments can be really energizing & very helpful. I saw this yesterday when my daughter made her first car drive with me. I knew that I needed to keep my own jitters to myself & I also told my boys to keep quiet, as they rode in the backseat. So I looked for everything positive that she was doing & then applauded her for those specific things. She kept her speed down, stayed in the middle of the lane, used her turn signal well & became more comfortable with the break. Of course she was nervous, but she did well – a sigh of relief 🙂
Seems to me that when we find ourselves needing some affirmation, it’s a good indicator that we need to start giving more affirmation! We reap what we sow 🙂

Introvert thinking about extroverts

Straightaway, let me be clear that stereotypes are inherently inaccurate by their very nature. But with that caveat, I’ve seen a fair amount of advice, blogs & comments about dealing with introverts, those prickly & possibly cranky or awkwardly quiet thinkers who sometimes lack diplomacy or communication skills. 
In contrast, however, I haven’t seen much about extroverts & here are some introvert observations about extroverts, who can be very wonderful:

  • They engage rather than evaporate
  • They communicate rather than go silent
  • Often friendly more than sulky
  • They push comfort zones
  • They usually meet people well
  • Have verbal skills that can be admirable
  • Often do adventures with ease & enthusiasm

Suffice it to say that we are each made with divine creativity, fearfully & wonderfully made for fellowship with God & expressing genuine love in our daily living 🙂

Just say NO!!!

There are lots of things in our lives that we should affirm.  It’s super great to be positive and optimistic.  It’s also really helpful to say, “yes” to job promotions, good grades at school, kind offers from friends and unexpected blessings from random sources.

There are, nevertheless, several things that need to always require a “NO” reply.  Here are a few ideas:

  • doubt:  pre-decide that doubt always gets a “no” answer and faith always gets a “yes” answer
  • unforgiveness:  meditating about hurtful words and actions done by others should get a consistent “no”
  • mean actions & words:  give yourself “no” permission to react hatefully or with snarky words to someone else’s mean behaviors or libel
  • insecurity:  sometimes a simple mental “no” is enough to jolt us out of that destructive thinking pattern laced with the poison of insecurity
  • destructive behaviors:  let’s be certain that we’re consistently saying “no” to addictive patterns, an undisciplined lifestyle, debilitating relationships, poor eating habits and unproductive usage of time, to name a few suggestions

What else should we be saying “no” to in our lives?  I’d love to read your thoughts & wisdom 🙂

growing part 2: love is generous

Of late, I find myself being challenged to love more authentically.  To me, this means that I’m challenged to love w less selfishness & with more generosity.  Here’s an interesting example, after church yesterday, Reece took us to a nice restaurant for Easter lunch – the only challenge was that the waitress was having a rough day.  Consequently, our meal took more than 2 hours from start to finish.  So here’s my choice:  be grumpy w the waitress who is already having a tough time or be super kind, generous & helpful.  Hopefully, I landed on more of the “kind & generous” side of the choice, even though I felt impatient, etc. 

I find God challenging me to love people more genuinely & less for what they can do in return for me – to love without expecting acknowledgment, gratitude or even retribution.  Here are some ways that I am being challenged to authentically love:

  • time:  taking time to listen, engage, be present, to be less impatient & worried about being inconvenienced
  • care:  to express care by expressing genuine interest – asking questions that reflect concern, interest & engagement
  • affirmation:  using words that encourage, promote excellence, strengthen a person’s value, brighten another’s day, forgive quickly, validate & affirm the person even when I disagree w their choices or behaviors

I think that God loves the hell out of us in many different ways.  I hope He uses me to make His love a daily reality to those with whom I interact – that’s a tall order that only He can accomplish 🙂