Saturday, September 19, 2015

Go ahead...say it!

A few weekends ago, I decided to head to a neighboring town to run some errands with just my two children. My hubby was busy, and I was tired of being home. So, I decided to go it alone. The first stop went pretty smoothly, but by the second, my kids were at the height of their orneriness. It's not that they do necessarily bad things when they get going; it's just that they goad each other and tune out my voice more and more until something does happen that is naughty.

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?

Who cares?!

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


  1. Absolutely, Kristen! "Just saying it" when we have a kind or encouraging thought about someone is a gift we can choose to give that may stay with them for a long time. Just yesterday, a wonderful woman from our church called and left a message telling my daughter and me how much she and her husband had enjoyed the song we sang in church. She specifically commented on our harmony and said they had talked about it when they got home. What a gift...we'll probably leave it on the answering machine forever! :) My teen daughter was so built up by that gesture of "just saying" something kind and encouraging, rather than just thinking it. Thank you for sharing your spot-on thoughts today at the Reflect Link-Up!

    1. Absolutely! Kind words make such a difference! Thanks for visiting!

  2. I am a huge fan of wandering around Target, and yes I know exactly how kids decide it's a playground just when you are trying to accomplish something. And surprisingly, some of the most encouraging words spoken to my by strangers have occurred in the aisles of Target as a result.

    Thanks for sharing your experience. I'd love to invite you to join in my weekly link up on Thursdays, we share anything that is on our hearts, minds and bookshelves. So this would be a great addition to The Cozy Reading Spot . I hope you'll be able to join us this week!


    1. Thanks for the info, Marissa! I'll do that! Thanks for visiting!

  3. I love this and that you shared this you felt about someone saying something nice, something small and genuine. I like to do that, especially to families in restaurants whose children are delightfully polite at the table next to mine. Once I speak, the parents light up. You are making me want to be sure to take note and make a comment to people on whatever God places on my heart.
    Visiting from Intentional Tuesday.
    Caring through Christ, ~ linda

    1. Keep it up Linda! We all need to hear the good things! Thanks for visiting!

  4. Those kind words can make all the difference in a tough moment! I think God uses people when He knows we need it most! Just in the nick of time! Great post!
    Blessings and smiles,

  5. Great and encouraging post! I love those bible verses!!! It's so important to care for each other. We are called to love and care!