I have had these thoughts rolling around in my head for a really long time.
I decided to write them out after I heard a message this past Sunday challenging me to encourage others.
I think that a lot of times, we don’t even have any idea how our lives, our decisions, our actions…affect others.
This has obviously been more in-your-face since facebook came around because all of a sudden we can see pretty much every choice people are making (at every passing moment, for some!)
I know that people say we should be careful how we live because our kids are watching us.
But I want to take it a step farther.
We should be careful how we live, because we have NO IDEA who is watching us.
Here’s what I mean.
Let me ask you a question.
Did you know that when some of the people I know make bad choices, it totally discourages me?
I mean the kind of discouragement that affects my thought life in the way that I have to literally picture myself taking my thoughts captive so that I don’t just start crying?
I bet you didn’t even know that.
See the thing is…we are used to making choices and thinking that WE are the only ones who are affected by them. We think if we decide to miss church over and over that it’s between us and God (and it is!!) and doesn’t make a difference to anyone else. That is wrong. Totally wrong. The times that I am feeling discouraged and alone, I need to see that others are in this with me and that we can live this life together! We think if we make a decision that goes agains the Bible, that no one really notices. But that is also wrong. I need to see that people are going to make good decisions even when it’s hard.
This goes both ways, of course. I am not trying to just focus on the negative.
When I see people (who I may not even be *close* friends with) making right choices, it totally encourages me! Like the kind of encouragement that keeps me going on and feeling like I am not alone when I feel like quitting!
While I am a very verbal person, and I believe my spiritual gift is exhortation, I do not even say close to the things that I sometimes feel I should.
And what makes it worse sometimes, is when I do actually say the things I feel people need to hear to encourage them to do the right thing, and they do the wrong thing anyways! It discourages me so, so much.
It’s weird that it even affects me and I can’t explain why it does, but it just does, and I have to think that the reason has to do with the fact that God desires us to have community to encourage and build us up. And when it’s not working properly, we feel it.
With that being said. I want to publicly thank a few women that probably have no idea how their choices have affected my life in a positive way. ( I will leave out the part to the few people in my life who have no idea how their choices have affected my life in a negative way..haha!) and this is not a complete list, obviously.
I am blessed and I mean totally blessed to have 3 women in my life who are incredible sources of encouragement to me just by the way they live their lives. They are my mom, and my 2 sisters. Watching their commitment to God and the Bible through good times, and some really bad times has kept me holding on more times than I can count. I always know that when I talk to them about my own issues they are going to give godly advice. Always. Just watching them live inspires me.
Another person is Ruthie. One of the very few people in her age group who is actually serious about her relationship with God in EVERY area. Not just the easy areas. She has encouraged me to stay committed and faithful in serving and ministry no matter what. I wish there were more people her age who were this serious about making right choices!
Carrie Smith, Jennifer Gage, Kristin Wall, Melissa Jackson. These women are the real deal. I can see that they are serious about life. Serious about raising kids to be godly, and serious about their relationship with Jesus.
Their lives have affected me more than they know.
Thank you. Thank you to the ones I listed, and many others who are consistently making godly choices. Who have made a decision that God will come first. Before feelings, before friends, before anything…and STUCK WITH IT! Thank you for the way your life has affected me.
So the next time you are about to make a choice.
A decision that you think is about you. About your life. And no one else’s business.
Stop and think.
Maybe it’s not just about you. Maybe someone else is going to be discouraged and feel like quitting and feel like they are totally alone all because of your choice. Maybe someone is so close to making the right choice, but then they see you make the wrong choice, and so they falter.
Change it! Do the right thing.
Maybe that right choice will be what helps someone to keep holding on!
Your choices affect me.