Now that I walk Hannah to the park 3-5 times a week I have suddenly and shockingly become aware of just how recklessly people drive through residential neighborhoods (have I driven like that? Never again!). Crossing the street is stressful, especially when Hannah wants to walk herself (which she does NOT get to do yet).  

Then, the other day I was approaching a curb with the intention of turning right. But, the curve goes right to the edge of the road and while pulling Hannah's red wagon, with her in it, I have to go right up to that edge before I can turn.  Meanwhile, a maroon SUV approached from my left, also intending to turn right.  Had he been like most drivers he would have gunned it to get around the corner before I got there (you know, just in case).  Instead, he stopped and waited.  This was especially nice since I wasn't even going to cross the street.

For just a moment, I was encouraged.

Then, this SUV pulled up and parked about 5 cars down the road, exactly where I was going to walk.  As I watched, thinking to myself that it was nice to see a good driver, I realized that I had a golden opportunity.  I had been thinking about this post, about being encouraging.  I slowed down and as he stepped out of his vehicle I expressed my gratitude and encouraged him.  He was understandably shocked but also very grateful.

One smile turned into two, and all it took was a moment and a kind word.

A man finds joy in giving an apt reply-- and how good is a timely word!
- Proverbs 15:23
 I know I am supposed to encourage others.  I appreciate it when others encourage me.  A simple phrase, a word or two, really can brighten up my entire day.  It does so for others too.  Why, then, are words of encouragement so rarely found on my lips?

See to it, brothers, that none of you has a sinful, unbelieving heart that turns away from the living God. But encourage one another daily,as long as it is called Today, so that none of you may be hardened by sin's deceitfulness.
- Hebrews 3:12-13
 Maybe you are like me.  When you walk into a fast food restaurant and you have to wait a long time, or a mistake is made on your order at a restaurant, or you are served rudely at a retail outlet, do you complain? I do.  But when things go right, when your food comes fast, your order is served perfectly, or the clerk is especially helpful, do you encourage? Not usually.  Somehow I expect things to go 'right'.  Therefore, when they do go 'right', I just got what I deserved; no action required.  But when they go 'wrong', then I have been slighted.  I must speak up to reclaim what is rightfully mine! And, oh how quick the criticism comes.

Those are just examples of people I don't even know.  What about the people we do know? What about family, friends, teachers, bosses? These are people we care for, aren't they? So why can't we go out of our way, even a little bit, to be encouraging? Somehow this attitude of deserving the best gets transferred to all these people we care about just as quickly as it gets put into the context of fast food.
An anxious heart weighs a man down, but a kind word cheers him up.
- Proverbs 12:25
This whole trend, in myself and others, disturbs me.  It is time we realize that our tongues are the rudders of this ship we call our lives, that our words can bring life and death into the lives of those around us, and that we have a calling as Christians to spread the blessing and life of God.

All it takes is a moment, a simple word or two.  Maybe a hug as well :)

So then, let us not be like others, who are asleep, but let us be alert and self-controlled. For those who sleep, sleep at night, and those who get drunk, get drunk at night. But since we belong to the day, let us be self-controlled, putting on faith and love as a breastplate,and the hope of salvation as a helmet. For God did not appoint us to suffer wrath but to receive salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ. He died for us so that, whether we are awake or asleep, we may live together with him. Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing....Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus.
- 1 Thessalonians 5:6-11, 16-18


kering said...

And you've encouraged another person! Definitely a good reminder.. especially for me right now during stressful crunch time. We had this conversation before about how sleepiness and tiredness bring out all the negativity in me..... hehe. I've been trying to curb my words more lately, especially because I know how much of a lift just a simple encouraging word can really be when you're feeling down in the dumps.. Thanks for the blog! :)

PakG1 said...

Well... if it makes you feel better... or not. :)