Friends, I am going through something deep right now. My heart is changing. It is being transformed. In the midst of stress, anger, disappointment, and sadness, I am realizing that I am not the only one hurting.
People are hurting everywhere. But in my specific season there are people who are hurting in the same way, if not more, right beside me. I can choose to continue to be bitter and sulk in my own sadness. Or I can choose to lift up the people around me that are hurting as well.
Because when I stop looking at myself and see others around me, it is in lifting their spirits that mine start to lift as well.
I am reminded of my own words that I have preached before (I literally preached about it in college)--that my words can either bring life...or they can bring death (James 3).
And friends, people need LIFE in our words.
Today at boot camp at the gym I met Ruth. She was the sweetest older woman who could barely keep up with us body obsessed young people. We were doing some jumping jacks, as we always do, and I threw in some air jacks.
She literally stopped what she was doing. Looked at me. And started clapping. She was applauding me. It was the funniest, sweetest, and slightly embarrassing thing to happen to me at boot camp!
She went on and on to tell me I was amazing. I was dying. And perhaps my ego got a little stroked as well!
We later chatted during our break between workouts and she started to tell me how fantastic she thought I was. She asked me how old I was and she guessed 17. I laughed and told her I was 30. She went on to tell me to never let a man keep me from being amazing. I laughed again and told her not to worry because I had a very supportive husband and he is my biggest cheerleader. She looked at me with the biggest of eyes. And all she said was, "you are so blessed."
I tried to thank her. I told her that she made my day. That we as women all show up to the gym struggling and she reminded me that I am strong and have something to offer this world. She would not take my thanks. She told me no and instead told me, "thank YOU."
I may never know what Ruth's story is and why she dragged herself in her 80's workout clothes to boot camp that day. But Ruth cheered me on. She saw something in me that I often don't see in myself. And she did not hide letting me know. She made sure I knew just what she thought of me.
I don't share this to brag. But instead I share this to say I want to be more like Ruth. I want to stop competing with the person next to me and really see the people in my life. I want to be wowed with others that I stop in my tracks and applaud them.
It is so easy to get caught up in myself and my own thoughts about who I am. But it is people like Ruth who encourage me to stop believing the lies I have been telling myself for so long and be reminded how amazing and blessed I really am.
Friends, YOU are amazing. YOU are blessed.
Let's be a little more like Ruth today and breathe life into those around us. We just don't know the life giving effect we will have when we are generous with our words and hearts.