I must admit that this post is very late in its coming. I was going to save it for Monday, but as I should have written it months ago, I figured I'd just post it up before the weekend! Today will just be double-duty.
Many of you have commented here, sent me texts, "liked" my posts, and encouraged me in my writing over the last few months. I cannot tell you how much your kindness has meant; I do not have the words (which is saying something, cause, you know--I'm a writer). Frankly, on days when I would prefer to just give up for the afternoon and build LEGO or sleep, your unexpected but ever-welcome words have struck a nerve in my soul and assured me that my efforts have not been in vain, that this journey of writing has had kingdom value, and that God is using me as I am and in the life situation in which I find myself. You have inspired thoughts, posts, and found your way into my writing in more ways than you know.
I hope you feel a great swell of joy knowing that you are a source of encouragement and blessing to another human being, whether doing something as simple as clicking a button on a social network or sending an e-mail in response to a thought I shared. You have shown love and affection when neither were required of you, and you have made my life better in the last several months as a result.
That being said--and it was very brief given my gratitude and excitement for your kindness--I must exhort you to continue in your noble efforts, not merely toward me (though I greatly value them) but to others (even when they do not value them). I write this having just received a text from one of you. I was immediately filled with gratitude to God for our relationship and moved to pay it forward, which I did, but I also felt it necessary to extend the kindness to greater lengths by calling us all to consistent, further action.
Encouragement should be part of our daily routine. I am not referring to meeting a quota but rather to cultivating a lifestyle of meaningful interactions intended to bless. I know this is not a new sentiment, but it is certainly one of enough value to bear repeating. Let us be people of sincere, forthcoming love through consistent uplifting words. I am reminded specifically of a Scripture I memorized in the last 6 months in Colossians 3,
Put on then, as God's chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another; and if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so also you must forgive. And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.
Oh, how I want my thoughts to be like that--like so many of yours have been! What a calling we have been given, to be told we should live in such a way. I once heard a sermon by John Piper wherein he defined true freedom as "wanting to do what you should do, and then being able to do what you want to do". I think that is a fine definition. If we should do the above, and we come to want to do the above, and we are able do the above, are we not free? And if we are indeed free, should we not exercise said freedom with constant, great zeal? I know that I should. I know that many of you have. And I know we can all continue doing so together, not only to each other but to those who will never repay such kindness--who will think us daft or conniving or insincere or false or foolish--but we can and should let such cynicism fall forgotten and let encouragement be our standard.
A kind word cannot change a fallen world, but a culture of encouragement can dim its sting and bring us one step nearer to the kingdom we all crave so deeply. I ask you all to join me in taking that step. Today. Tomorrow. Always.