When I first moved into my apartment complex last year, I met a couple in the gym.They had just relocated from New Jersey to the big state of Texas! What I admired about this couple was the way the husband would take his time to train his wife in the gym. Each night, he carried a small notebook with various exercises for him and his wife to complete. With each movement, he would record the number of reps and sets she had accomplished. To me, it was the sweetest thing to see. One of the exercises that she absolutely loathed was jump squats. She would feel so intimidated by them but he would always encourage her and remind her that she could do them. No matter how little or how many she attempted, he’d always say “ok good…let’s move on.” No matter how defeated she felt about her performance, it was “good” to him so he never allowed her to stay in that moment of defeat.
I continued to see this couple for about 2-3 more months until I joined a gym down the street from the complex. A few months later, I was on my way to church when I bumped into the wife. She yelled “heyyyy, I haven’t seen you in a while!” I was so excited to see her and replied “tell me about it!”! She proceeded to ask “why are you so dressed up?” I explained that I was on my way to church and she replied “awww, that’s so nice. I should go to one day!” I thought to invite her the following weekend but I thought it was too soon so I never followed-up.
Every once in a blue moon, I’d see her walking the dog in the morning. But again, I reasoned “it’s so early in the week to invite and plus I’m heading to work right now” so I never stopped to make conversation. Over the holiday season, thoughts about the wife continued to cross my mind. I wondered about her and her husband so much. I thought about that invite that I failed to extend and said “that’s it…the next time I see her, I’m gonna stop and say hi!”
The opportunity to become more than a passerby finally came this morning. I saw the wife walking her dog just before I excited our complex. I hurried to pull close to her and bellowed “heyyy, how’s it going?” I was so excited to see her but she seemed to be so sad. She had small bags beneath her eyes and her face appeared to look long and gloomy. I asked about her husband and she told me they were in the process of splitting up. My heart sunk and I suddenly began to realize why she had been on my heart for so long.
Like me, sometimes we are so caught up with the tasks of rushing to work, hurrying to the gym, and planning a to-do list for ourselves that we often forget to do the work that matters most. The work that matters most, is the work that touches God’s heart the most. It’s the work that uplifts and edifies others. It’s those small things such as: writing a thank you note, calling a family member, visiting an old friend, taking a co-worker to lunch or volunteering to mentor a young child. These small acts often feel like inconveniences when we look at our “busy” schedules. However, these are the things that allow us to stay busy about doing our Father’s work.
Making time to encourage and bring hope to others is such a joy and a blessing to God. Those brief moments of love and support hit the core of His heart because they allow others to see that He lives in our hearts.
Are you allowing others to see the God in you?
Many times, our small act of thoughtfulness may be the only God that person will ever see. Like the wife in my complex, that person may be facing heartbreak or struggling to overcome feelings such as depression and loneliness. It doesn’t matter how “messed up” you may be or, how little you think you have to give. God knows that your love, time and encouragement are more than enough.
I challenge each of us to make time and show God to someone else this weekend. For me, I’ve decided to invite that woman to church. Her entire face lit up after I invited her and I know it will only get brighter once we arrive to church on Saturday. =)
Allow others to see the God in you today =)