It was a typical day for me, I was running late for a gathering and I was feeling rushed as I went over my list of the deadlines I needed to work on. The good thing about this culture is everyone is always late so our gathering hadn’t even started. I stopped to get some hot tea before entering my meeting and there was a mom in front of me doing the same, except she didn’t look as frazzled as I felt. We exchanged smiles and she said, “I remember you from a few years ago.” I smiled and was trying to put a name to a face but I’m awful with names. She then said, I still remember the workshop you gave years ago. I smiled again, not remembering what workshop, since I speak on parenting, mothering, being women, child safety…
She then went on to share how this talk I gave 8 years ago changed her life. She shared specifics about my talk and vaguely I began recalling that particular workshop. She thanked me and we went into the meeting.
I sat down but I was in complete shock. I was amazed at how little it took and how good it felt to not only extend words of encouragement but to receive them.
If you’ve ever done public speaking you know how easy it is not to be too hard on yourself. Sometimes you feel like an impostor as you struggle with the very things you’re about to teach on. Sometimes it’s hard to judge from your audience if you’ve done a good job. Sometimes you have people stop you after a workshop or speaking engagement to thank you but I never know if it’s sincere. Did they really get anything from it? Did it even make sense? Sometimes you have people who feel compelled to tell you themselves what you should of said or done.
After speaking engagements, I can go over and over in my head and think about all the things I could’ve said, should’ve said or done. So, to have someone stop me 8 years later and tell me a talk I gave changed their life–it’s humbling. It’s humbling to think God can use little ol’ me to change someone’s life. It’s scary to think that people really do listen. I
But it’s also encouraging to think–people really do listen. God can use little ol’ me who struggles with the very things I teach on.
Unexpected encouragement is oxygen to the soul! Sometimes it’s like rain on parched ground.
The lovely thing about encouraging words is you want to pay it forward. You want to see speak life into someone else’s parched desert. You want to find the good in someone else and tell them. Last night, at our dinner table we’ve been going through our daily gratitude prompts and the card that was pulled out said, “Say something nice about the person sitting next to you. Love one another deeply from the heart. I Pt 1:22” So we went around the table and shared something encouraging and kind about the person next to us and it was a lovely time. What really got me was how contagious it was, shortly after dinner I heard my son continuing the practice and then another son of mine went upstairs and made me a heart and wrote somethings on it. Their hearts were filled with encouragement and gratitude and so he acted upon it even beyond the dinner table.
Start a chain of “Unexpected Encouragement” today!
Day 9 –Thankful for words of encouragement #10DaysofGratitude