Monday, July 22, 2013

Life Giving Perceptions

People often see things in us, that we don't see in ourselves...

Last week I had a jewelry party. It was fun, because what about jewelry isn't fun? My guests had only two things in common: an enjoyment of jewelry and me. So we played an icebreaker based on this common ground. What kind of jewelry do you wear and give one positive word to describe your hostess. (me) (This ice breaker was not my idea btw. I was not fishing for compliments.)

People described me as loyal, focused, organized, a good cook, and athletic. I hmmmm'd, and was touched and surprised on a couple fronts. I wouldn't describe myself as loyal or athletic and I am beginning think I am less organized that goal oriented. This was my ah-ha moment this week. While I am organized, I am not as organized as some. As a goal setter I am more into logical and organized processes than organized drawers and cupboards.

People perceive me differently than I perceive myself. And that can be a very life giving, challenging and encouraging thing.

My own mother called me focused. This was a polite and positive way for saying strong willed and borderline stubborn. But, it also describes my goal setting personality. I have been a goal setter since 5th grade. (maybe before) I see the end result and then I break the big picture down into doable steps. My goal isn't always practical, but it is always doable. Step by step. Goal by goal.

My bff's mom called me athletic. I have to say this one was the most surprising. I think of myself as someone who needs to move or I get in a bad mood. I like to walk. I run, swim, and bike. I do it for fitness and to rein in the flab. I write stuff on FB to keep me accountable even when I don't feel like moving. I compete in events, but I am nowhere near the fastest. I see all the "buts" in my exercise. But, the bff's mom sees the positive. Mr. Hippie gave me a high five when I told him this. I am happy to embrace this descriptor, though it isn't what I would have said of myself.

I wouldn't ever use the term loyal to describe myself, but Mr. Hippie always says this about me. Loyalty is giving or showing constant support. I am loyal to businesses and products. I had the same dentist my entire life for cryin' out loud! I've used Loreal mascara since I started wearing makeup. I always buy certain things from certain places because I know the product and service are dependable. But, that is kind of a mutual relationship. It is loyalty, but??? Am I loyal in my relationships? Mr. Hippie feels I am loyal to him and to others. If he thinks that, then I guess that is good enough for me.

I have been thinking about these 5 words for the past week. They have been encouraging my heart. They have challenged me. They have inspired me.

They have challenged me to keep on keeping on.

And they have challenged me to speak life and encouragement to others. What good things do I see in someone else that they may not see in themselves?

I am not a Pollyanna. As a matter of fact, I am fairly cynical and pessimistic. I have a hard time forgiving people, giving second chances and seeing good things in them.

Our words have such power. Power to build up and spur on. Power to discourage and dismay.

Which is the better plan? I know which put a glide in my stride for the past week. So, why should I not do that for someone else? Speak life into their hearts. Be a breath of fresh air. A cooling breeze.

When we say the Bible is inspired, we are saying that it is God breathed. God's breath gave physical life to Adam. God's words still change lives. Our words should do the same. In a good way.

I have a two prong challenge for you right here at the beginning of this week...

#1-ask a couple people to give you one word to describe a character or skill strength in you.

#2-pick at least 2-3 people and share an encouraging word with them.  _____, I admire you because you______.

How will you breathe life into someone else this week with just one word?