Beauty regimen

Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart
Be acceptable in Your sight,
Lord, my strength and my Redeemer.” Psalm 19:14 (NKJV)

I found a graphic on Pinterest awhile back and haven’t been able to shake it. My mama had a saying: “Beauty is as beauty does.”  (I’d guess all the mamas I knew while I was growing up had that saying!) It took me quite awhile to fully appreciate the truth of it, but these days seems more on-target than ever.

In this world where we are more likely to share our lives online with more people than we actually see in person, our lines of right and wrong, our filters for kindness and civility,  and our boundaries of what is real and what is virtual have a taken quite a hit.

Freedom of speech is such a precious gift! What a shame that we’ve used it to cheapen ourselves by sharing our deepest hurts and joys along side photos of what we’re having for supper and attacking others for having the temerity to use that shared freedom of expression to disagree with our political opinions. It makes all of those things seem equally important…and they are most definitely not.

Earlier this month, those of us in the United States celebrated our nation’s independence. The formation of a single nation created specifically to harness the power of each individual’s right to think for themselves and express those thoughts and beliefs without fear of reprisal:  That’s an anomaly in this world…and an important one. Using the very freedom of expression granted to us by the first amendment of our Constitution to denigrate others with opposing viewpoints instead of using that power to educate, encourage, or entice them to see the merits of your own seems to indicate a lack of character–and that is far more damaging to our society than we can afford. Why wound and belittle when you could bridge gaps and find common ground for a common good? Why not become a person of influence for unity rather than one who divides and derides? We don’t have to agree on everything to cooperate on a lot of things!

I don’t mind people disagreeing with me. In fact, there are days I relish it. I’ve even been known to argue the side of the opposition just for the fun of it. The ability to see both sides of an issue helps me make better choices and it helps me to pray more specifically as I seek to do what God wants me to do.

More than ever I find that He asks me to speak words of encouragement. He asks me to look for the positive. Sometimes, He just asks me to be silent and extend grace…and grace is never easy…except when you’ve found that you’ve needed so much of it yourself.

I love the black and white of an issue and I love “being right” (who doesn’t?!) and I love that we have been gifted with both words and the ability to share our thoughts. This is not about being silent when we need to defend. I wonder about this though…and I think I want to be beautiful.

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For your weekend…

I was reading through and praying over our church prayer list this morning when a portion of a request seemed to jump out at me. Out beside the names of several people it said, “needs encouragement.” Honestly, my first thought was, “Who doesn’t need that these days?” My second thought was, “Good for them! How wonderful that they recognized their need for it and asked!!”

It made me start thinking about different people who have encouraged me over the years. It is amazing how just a simple word of praise or optimism can make such a difference in people. The words may not change their actual circumstances one bit, but when the people in them are changed…well, it can indeed become a whole new ballgame!

Your “mission” for the weekend is to be an encourager to at least three people. They may be the ones living in your house or just someone you meet at the store, but make an effort to encourage or compliment at least three people before Monday morning rolls around. It doesn’t have to be big or complicated: “That color looks great on you!” “That was a really good meal!” “I appreciate your hard work around here!” You can even send a short note in the mail to someone or leave a sticky note in a place they’re sure to find it.

Here’s a bet (yes, this is one even good Baptists can take!): You can’t deliberately encourage people this weekend without becoming more encouraged yourself. This is a win-win assignment!

Who knows what God will do with your encouraging words?! You could be the start of a revolutionary change in someone you love! At the very least, you’ll have taken a small step toward making your world a little bit nicer place to be.

See you back here on Monday!
Grace & Peace!

*photo by Becky Childs