Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Train Up Tuesday: Recipients of Encouragement

Are you one of those people that enjoy doing just about anything for someone else...but you almost cringe at the thought of someone having to help you out? Maybe you think you can handle it or you honestly don't want to burden anyone. Maybe it's that you think someone else could better use the offered help or encouragement.

Can I tell you that it might be pride that keeps you from allowing others to step in? How dare I say it? Oh, because I remember coming to that realization several years ago. And by "coming to", I really mean, having it pointed out. Yeah, it was by my immediate supervisor at a previous job. I was talking about my aggravation at having done something mindlessly stupid (locking my keys in a car hours away from home...and trust me, it wasn't a simple remedy like getting a was in a remote involved being driven home
late at night and having to make arrangements to go back to pick up the car the next day). I mentioned that I wouldn't have minded being the one helping someone in a fix, but I loathed being the one that needed the help IN the fix. Quite gently, my boss pointed out that sometimes not wanting others to help us out is a sign of pride in our own life. Ouchie. He said he didn't mean that was the case in my situation...just a thought.

That could have blown right over...except that same day...literally...same day, I had opened an new book and guess the topic...pride in handling things ourselves. Ugh!

So, all that to say I've been in a process of allowing more people to "help" and to "encourage" me in all that is "life". It's still not easy. I mean we all have ways of doing things in
manners that we prefer. Sometimes we can get caught up in our own ways that we can shut out the offers of others.

But people want to help, right? They don't simple want to be the recipients of love, they want to give love, too. And they are blessed for doing so. We shouldn't rob them of their poten
tial blessings. Nor should we shortchange ourselves the beauty of seeing them as caring for us.

My sister (who was VERY pregnant and I think actually due the week she offered help) organized a week's worth of meals for my family last month, when we had been in the thick of much sickness and doctors/hospital visits. It wasn't necessary, I could have handled it. Others were surely in more need than us, but God knew that WE were in need of seeing our "neighbors" in the light of His love. Everything fromhomemade meals, pizza delivery (with pepperoni shaped into a heart), and a catered buffet of sorts from Panera (the nearest one is 25 minutes away from us!), and giftcards for meals showed up at our home throughout the week. The neatest thing was seeing my boys light up at the deliveries. We talked about the graciousness of the friends/family represented in each meal. It was God's love in action. They witnessed it as recipients so now they know what it feels like to be cared for by a "neighbor" in Christ. My hope is that they will remember this in the future when we are able to care for another.

(oven fresh lovin'!)

(you don't always need a dozen flowers to brighten your day...a dozen sandwiches can do the trick, too)

Throughout that week, I remember asking, "Is it possible to be overwhelmed but not surprised?" We were overwhelmed by the outpouring, but knowing the people who gave of themselves, we were not surprised, because they have often showed their love for Christ in their actions, words and attitudes.

I also was overwhelmed by words of encouragement. A Facebook message. A card. A phone call with my Mom or sister. Earnest prayers. Also that "one" phone call. In the middle of caring for 3 boys, my husband answered the phone. It was a friend from a few years ago. Not a super close friend that I hung out with. One I attended church with for a few years and got to know a little. Although she has a Facebook account, I think the last time she checked it was 3 years ago :) However, she called me. She said, "I don't really know why I'm calling. It may be nothing. But I've had you on my heart for about 3 weeks now. God keeps putting little things in my way that make me think of you. So, of course I prayed for you, but God told me to call you...and now finally I have." WOW! She had not seen any "status updates" and hasn't been in my "circle" for years, yet God spoke to her to pray for me. And she did. And she called to encourage me. THAT is amazing!

So, friend, see someone in need? You don't have to look far to be a help. Most of us want to do that.

Friend, are you in need? Have there been offers to help minister to your soul in some way? Don't shut it out. YES, it will encourage you and let you see them in the light of Christ...but you also afford them the opportunity to be blessed with the "feel goods" or validation that their encouragement to you was a God send.

Hope you allow yourself to be encouraged ;-)

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