We were at that point in Target, one of my favorite stores to just stroll through. But when your kids have turned into Thing 1 and Thing 2, that is impossible. I was on a mission for a portable bag chair. Having lost all reasonable thought when my kids started picking at each other, I was struggling quite a bit to find one. My brain did not tell me the logical place to look (the camping section), so I was wandering here and there. I was also failing to locate a red-shirted savior in the form of a Target employee.
I ended up in a giant display for the new Star Wars movie. It looked like Halloween for adults on steroids. Of course my kids were intrigued, but I kept pushing on, all business. There was an adult male in the same area, just browsing. He was alone and in his forties. I didn't really pay much attention to him. I was too busy navigating my kids out of the costumes before they started trying them on.
In the main aisle now, I concentrated on the next area I should check to locate the bag chairs. Coming out of another aisle was the same man. The one that I had barely noticed. Do you know what happened? It was amazing and attitude-altering.
He told me with a smile, "You're doing a good job."
I looked at him and smiled and said, "Thank you." Emotions flooded my heart and mind. I appreciated his kind words beyond belief. I was so grateful someone had noticed. I was so grateful that someone had told me that. A stranger, none the less.
This incident got me through Target, and it made me think. What a simple gesture, and look how much it blessed me! Why don't I do this more? It's so easy, so simple.
I live in Minnesota now but was raised in Kansas. We have this thing up here called "Minnesota Nice." It's where no one really says how they feel because they don't want to hurt other people's feelings. It sounds kind of good, right? Like maybe less people get hurt?
No, I've decided it's not nice. No one says anything rude, but then you know what? Sometimes people don't say anything nice either. (NOTICE: This does not apply to every Minnesotan. It's just a stereotype of our people. It may apply to people in every single state!)
Why are people apprehensive about saying compliments? More specifically, about giving compliments that really matter. It's easy to tell a friend, or even a stranger for that matter, "I like your shoes. They are so cute!" In reality, those shoes probably have nothing to do with the heart and soul of that person.
Why is it harder to tell a person, "You are doing a good job at raising your kids, or "You are being so faithful in your service to the children of this church," or "I appreciate you're hard work at keeping the school clean"? We just don't say those things as often as we should. We think them, at least I do. But why is it hard to just put it out there?
Is it time? Really, it doesn't take any extra time at all. We say so many useless things with our mouths sometimes. It shouldn't take much effort to throw out something that is kind. Are we afraid what other people will think? Not necessarily the one we give the compliment to, but others around us. Will they think us over-sensitive? Nosy? A gooey, gushy goody two shoes?
In 1 Thessalonians 5:11, Paul writes, "So encourage each other and build each other up." This was written to the church in Thessalonica to encourage them in their faith. Isn't easier to grow in your faith, or in any activity really, when you have someone encouraging you?
Paul knew encouragement. He even selected such a man for his travels. He knew he and the other believers/apostles might need someone with the spirit of encouragement. "For instance, there was Joseph, the one the apostles nicknamed Barnabas (which means 'Son of encouragement'). He was from the tribe of Levi and came from the island of Cyprus (Acts 4:36). The man was called "the encourager!" Literally! What a nickname!
I have decided that we all need to be more like Barnabas. We need to do more of what Paul instructed the Thessalonians, and us, to do. We need to build each other up. We need to be more encouraging.
Maybe you're too embarrassed to say it. Maybe you may think that a person probably doesn't need to hear it. Well let me tell you friend, they do. You do. We all do. Go ahead...say it!
Linking up most weeks with these encouraging blogs: #soulsurvival, #intentionalTuesday, #RaRaLinkup, #threewordWednesday, #livefreeThursday, #belovedbrews, #dancewithJesus, #fellowshipFriday, #graceandtruth, #coffeeforyourheart, #TellHisStory, #Reflect, #livefreeThursday