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Leave Others Very Encouraged

Once upon a time, I was walking out of a studio and was met by a familiar man sitting on the bench just outside the door. The bench was surrounded by fresh flowers, hanging vines, and the smell of blooming Lugustrum. There was no more traffic exiting the studio, I was locking up and the only one left to leave. Dressed to impress and topped with a hat, the elderly man asked if he could share something with me. Having seen him before I knew he owned the business next door and was known for sharing words of wisdom.

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“Sure,” I said, “I’ve got a moment.”

“This’ll be quick.” He said. And the man proceeded to ask me if I knew what the letters in the word “love” meant. Distracted by my next obligation, I quickly replied with “No, tell me., stirring slightly with impatience.

“Leave others very encouraged.”

Have you ever been zapped by a Tazor? Me neither, but it probably feels similar to how I felt when I processed his reply. It took me a moment. Repeating it back to myself, I felt the words leave an imprint on my bones. “Leave others very encouraged”, I repeated back. “I like that. Do you mind if I borrow it sometime?”

The man encouraged me to share and bid me farewell as he walked into the shop. Since then, the way I value the word love has been forever changed.

Love has always been a part of my vocabulary. There has never been a shortage of the word “love” in my family, almost to the point where you would wonder sometimes if it’s just a habit to say it or if that person meant it.

Do we really know what love means?

Love is massive in its meaning. A God-given resource that is infinite in supply if you know where to mine it.

I’ve talked to students, grown adults, and family members who have no problem talking about how BAD things are going. Dwelling on what’s hard, who is mean, or how things could be better. At what point did we get so focused on what isn’t good? Has it always been that way? We miss opportunities to see love in action all the time. On the contrary, I’ve got another group of students, adults, and family who seem to pick up on love or constantly pour out loving action. Your ability to love is not genetic or dependent on your status. Love is available to all of us, some of us are just quicker to pick it up than others.

Leaving others encouraged with love can start simple.. here are a few ways you can try;

  1. Tell someone they are doing a great job.
  2. Smile more. Wave to a stranger. Give a high five to a coworker.
  3. Tell the people you love that YOU LOVE THEM.
  4. Be generous with your time and/or treasures.
  5. Take care of yourself.

Number 5 may be the most important way that we can LOVE well. God commands us In Luke 10, verse 27 to ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’”

Luke 10:27 NLT

When we recognize the fullness of our own cup, we better understand our capacity to love others well. Our cups will fluctuate in fullness throughout our lives based on different circumstances and life events.

This impactful shift in my perspective was inspired by a single holy moment in time. God has the power to use moments like this to change the way we see things.

That’s often how it happens, right? The moments that impact us don’t have to be long and drawn out. God can stir the storm or calm the seas whenever he’d like.

My hope for you this week is that you see love a little differently, for you to take inventory of how good you are loving yourself, and leaving others very encouraged from your available capacity.

Sending all my love to you.

Local Pulse Writer & Holy Moments Columnist, Makenna Curtis