Everyone needs grace, everyone needs encouragement, even you. Often times we are our own harshest critics, but why? What would you be able to accomplish if you believed in you?
What do you do when someone you love or care about is racing into a head-on collision? What do you do when someone is about to make a detrimental mistake?
My first instinct, of course, is to jump in and be a hero, but what if that’s not the right answer? What if, instead of fixing someone, we’re just supposed to love them?
You, with your specific gifting and life experience, are valuable to the Body of Christ. It’s so tempting to look at the gifts of others and become envious of what they have or have been afforded. But that’s the wrong perspective, but an easy trap to fall into. Instead of being jealous of another person, what if we devoted that energy toward practicing and honing the gift that God has given us?
I encourage you to ask the Lord for clarity about what success means for you. What if success looks different than numbers or revenue generated or clicks on a page? What if success looks like connecting with another human being?
Church is weird and church people are even weirder. But, does that have to be a bad thing? Being selfless is weird. Being devoted is weird. Building relationships is uncomfortable. Doing live together and being accountable to someone is just downright strange. Exhibiting the characteristics of love and joy and peace and patience and kindness are all out of the ordinary. But all of these things are desperately needed. In a society that’s hurting and looking for answers, maybe a little of that weirdness isn’t so bad.
It’s my hope and prayer that we would begin to live life with our eyes open, ready to respond appropriately when we see an opportunity to do something little. Your next step doesn’t need to be grand, it doesn’t need to be life-altering or world-shaking, but it has to be a step. After taking one, two, ten, thirty steps, you’ll look around and see yourself somewhere entirely new, all because you endured, faithfully planting one foot in front of the other, encouraging others along the way.
I’m not condoning selfishness, as it flies in the face of everything Jesus taught. Instead, I’m advocating for grace to be shown and self-assessments to be had. I want to encourage you to start by looking more meaningfully at your own behavior. From there, I wonder if that paradigm shift will lead each of us to see other people’s actions in a slightly different light.
What if we tried something new and married creativity and logic or found a way to balance spontaneity with routine? What would the world look like if we began to blend some of these seemingly opposite things? I think we could create something new and exciting and beautiful in the process.
Even if your influence can’t reach the whole world, it can rock one person’s world, and sometimes that can make all the difference.
The only thing that will cancel out the hurt and expunge the record of wrongs is forgiveness. Forgiveness isn’t letting a person off the hook or inviting them to hurt you again, it’s a way of saying “I don’t like what you did, but I’m willing to not hold it against you for my sake and yours”. Let’s do our part to stop the cycle of hurt and abuse. Let’s try a better way; let’s love and forgive instead.