Tag: affirmation (page 1 of 2)

Use Your Words

We make a lot of runs to our Twin Cities airport, so I’m used to passing the sign that says:

This is a caution…a warning we’re all familiar with since 9/11.

If you see something suspicious, say something and keep us all safe, right? Speak up!

“Use your words.” as we say to toddlers.

But I thought of that sign yesterday as I was leaving Starbucks. The barista paid me a compliment and I was beaming.

He didn’t need to say anything, and it cost him nothing. It made my day.

I thought of all the times I see someone wearing a top I think is cute, or I observe a teen being kind and polite, or a mom being uber patient with her littles… I want to be the person who always speaks up.  The one who says something positive to a stranger or a friend.

I heard a wonderful story the other day about Mohamed Sanu, an Atlanta Falcons football player who received this note from someone who took the time to speak up –  a family sitting behind him on a flight:

This family used their words to affirm someone they would never see again.

Life is hard. There is so much to discourage us out there, right? Let’s use our words to be each other’s best cheerleaders!

If you see something (positive), say something today.

Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing. 1 Thes. 5:11

One Prompt and Three Ways to Become More Like Jesus

I really hate the term “spiritual discipline”.

To me it sounds legalistic and rigid and joy-less and not very Jesus-y. Which is ironic, because “spiritual discipline” is about becoming more like Jesus.

Though I don’t like the term, I love the reality that there are little experiments and experiences, prayers and practices and prompts that we can use to help us become more loving. I’m grateful that God is at work transforming us in our everydayness when we pay attention.

Since 9/11 this is a common sign to see around airports or subways.

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I’ve been thinking…What if we use this as a prompt to help us become more like Jesus?

Jesus was a noticer. He looked people in the eye. He saw, He affirmed, He named what was wrong, He questioned.

So how about… 

  1. If you see something positive, you say something positive  When you observe someone (yes even a stranger) doing ANYTHING you admire, if you hear them affirmed in a conversation when they’re not around, use that as a prompt to say something or write a note telling them specifically what is awesome about them. Don’t let affirmation go unsaid.

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2. If you see someone overlooked, say something. A friend was sharing the other day, how she is trying to “see” the unseen – the grubby guy at the car wash, the old lady with a walker – and say something. Engage them in conversation. She sat down on a bench with an old scruffy guy and just asked him a question, so he felt seen and valued.

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3. If you see something wrong, say something is wrong. I was walking with a young woman recently who shared the pain of being shamed loudly in front friends and no one named it. No one checked in to say, “You know that thing that so-and-so said? How are you feeling?”  If you see injustice or unkindness, say something. Don’t let the elephant in the room hang around. 

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If you see something, say something. Write a note, ask a question, say “Way to go!” or “That was wrong.”

 

 

Stay Woke

“Stay woke” is a phrase I wasn’t familiar with until recently. Now it seems I see it everywhere I turn. It’s a phrase used by much of the African American community.  And it’s a spiritual practice I’m passionate about – that is, “Pay attention to the world around you!”

I think that “staying woke” often comes when God’s Word collides with our everyday lives. We see the Gospel being lived out and are inspired, or we are prompted by the Holy Spirit to do something unnatural to us, but common to Jesus.

This morning I thought of it as I was reading James 3:17 which is describing a Holy life.

It is gentle and reasonable, overflowing with mercy and blessings...treating each other with dignity and honor.

This was timely as God’s Word often is, since you know…He’s God and all.

Anyway, it brought to mind two recent “snapshots”.  In each instance I observe friends who “stay woke” and treat those who are often “invisible” with the dignity and honor of men and women made in God’s image. Continue reading

How to Make a Difference Today

I’ve been a little “off” lately.  A bit of a cranky pants.  And as I examined why, the thing that I noticed was that I’ve really been neglecting the soul rhythm of time in God’s Word.  So this morning I started on a new Bible reading plan, breathing in Genesis 1.

And two things clicked together – God’s words for me, and words for others

First, when I read… I read, pray, & meditate (RPM).  Actually it’s not usually in that order, but RPM is catchy :).

I read the passage and meditate on it.  And what I mean by meditate is that I try to pay attention to verses God quickens my spirit to, and specifically I ask “What does this passage teach me about God and about myself?”

Then I pray the passage into my life. Continue reading

Three Ways to Choose Life When You’re “Stuck”

This week has taken on the theme of “stuckness” so I thought I’d continue it on this One Word Friday.  

When we’re stuck, “LIFE” often seems to be a choice hiding like Waldo at a convention of clowns.  It requires determination and intention.

Again, this is not a magic formula, but here are three things I do to try to “choose life” when I’m stuck:

1.  Affirm the LIFE in others.  Write notes of encouragement and blessing, noting the value you see in others.

2.  Pray LIFE for others.  Take time to lift up others who are struggling in challenging circumstances.

3.  Practice gratitude for the LIFE around you.  I love the theory that I just read in Rhoda Janzen’s memoir, “Menonite Meets Mr. Right”.  She tells of a jar of water representing discontentment being displaced as we drop in rocks of gratitude.  The waters of discontent are forced out by the rocks of thankfulness.

What are some ways you choose life when you’re feeling stuck?  Consider posting in the comments below!

Here are just a few of the things I’m grateful for today.  I wish there was a way to waft the aroma of barbecue and lilacs and clover and to record the squeals of the kids on my block playing in their wading pool!

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Three Ways to Choose Woohoo’s

I shared last week that my One Word for 2014 is LIFE (as in “Choose Life!”).  

I think LIFE is a really great One Word. (Woohoo for me!) I think it’s at the root of following Jesus.  I’m not saying my One Word is better than yours!  Noooooo!  That would be soooo foolish.  Like watching a Bachelorette marathon and eating a bag of Oreos foolish.

I love all the One Word’s you’ve shared here that you are prayerfully living into this year.  (If you want in on the fun look here or here and add your Word in the comments!).  But I also think that a case can be made that whatever word you’ve chosen, it’s about choosing life – the capital “L” life that God made us for.

Ok, I know some of you are reading this in California, or Bali, or Singapore.  The palm trees are swaying and you call a day of sweet warm sun and tropical flowers “Tuesday”.  Your Word may seem easy and your burden light.  You may have a hard time relating to a picture like the one below, but it exists.  Trust me.  I know it too well. Continue reading

The Words you Hear

This past weekend my husband John and I preached together at our church.  It’s always such an overwhelming and…sobering (?), scary (?) privilege to preach and ask for God’s voice to drown out anything of “us” that might distract.

We spoke on Mary and finding joy in the midst of any circumstances.  That was all fine, but then God totally messed with me.

In our sermon I shared about an experience I had had the night before.  I went to a dinner celebrating the birthday and an anniversary of sorts for a dear friend of mine.  Each of us gathered there brought a word or words to share that communicated some of the incredible value our friend has brought into our lives.  As we shared, our words were written in gold marker on a glass hurricane with a candle inside to be a reminder to her when she lights it, that words like beautiful, effervescent, intentional, and wise advisor describe how God is using her in the world.  It was a privilege to speak these words of truth to my friend.

In our sermon I said that most people don’t get to hear words of value and affirmation spoken over them by friends like that, but God desires to whisper His words of love to us every minute.  Mary’s joy and peace came from the fact that she knew who she was and whose she was.

Continue reading

Tucking in Courage

“She tucked belief right into me.”

A few years ago I read this lovely line written by Ann Voskamp who was talking about a grandmother who called out gifts in her that she was afraid to believe.

In my life, belief has been a synonym for courage.  Like a toddler at night, with Mama tucking covers tight, I’ve had many snug courage right into me and our family.

When our youngest daughter, Maggie, graduated from college she accepted an internship with the International Justice Mission.  She prepared to leave home and live in Guatemala City for a year.

The transition between college and “the real world” is a scary one.  Like jumping off a cliff and hoping you hit the water and remember how to swim.  A time of hard decisions and what-if-I-don’t-make-it fears.

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To launch Maggie into this new season, we invited a group of women for brunch.  Women who had loved her, and prayed for her, and poured into her for many years.

I asked each of them to bring a word for Maggie, accompanied by a blessing, a prayer, encouragement, or advice. Continue reading

One More Gift…or Two

At our house the carols have been sung, candles lighted, cookies eaten, snuggling done by the fireplace.  The tree has been given multiple compliments so that it feels secure in its loveliness, and bags of festive crumpled wrapping paper and shiny bows carted out to the trash.

Yes, the gifts have been opened and oohed and aahed over, but there are a few more…A couple I didn’t get delivered to friends and tennis coaches, and Christmas cards still to mail.  Maggie’s fiance, Austin arrives today and his gifts are still waiting under the Christmas tree.

All this gifting focus has prompted me to think about several other gifts that are there every day, but may sit around un-given or unopened in the new year.

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Games With Points and Spiritual Practices

A Spirit-stretch Friday re-post as I’m enjoying the spiritual practice of a short Sabbatical… 

Spiritual practices are usually kind of like workouts at the gym.  They’re supposed to stretch the spiritual muscles that need stretching…to practice what you hope will one day come naturally (like running a mile on the treadmill so that if one day you’re being chased by a bear you won’t collapse in a heap after 15 yards).

But that can sound a little…intense, so a couple weeks ago I decided to make a little game for myself.  In our family we LOVE games, especially games with points.  (In case you’re worried about my theology about now, I know discipleship isn’t a game and it is about grace and cooperating with God’s work in our lives.  Just give this a chance! :))

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