If you’ve read my blog you know that this is kind of a life goal of mine: to live generously. And while I often fall-short of that goal, even fail completely, I am always trying to understand better how that can play out in my life. (Thank goodness for new days and new weeks and new months and new chapters too!)
I’ve been thinking lately about how generosity takes the form of a compliment. I’ve been thinking about it because, lucky me, I’ve been on the receiving end of some pleasant emails. There’s one gentleman in particular that I look forward to corresponding with because he is always so warm and positive. I don’t mean that he is gushing or disingenuous in any way. On the contrary his seems simply to see the best in the situation and to take the time to speak it into the lives of those around him. I come away from conversations with him standing a little taller, seeing the world as a little brighter. He is winsome.
So I have been looking for ways to add that into my own life. After all, there are so many things that I think I should do that are hard or actually hurt. This is not one. It costs me nothing, pains me not at all, takes nothing away from the task at hand. So when a customer turns in a file with a really great design, when a student responds with a particularly insightful comment, when the clerk at the grocery store manages to smile and welcome yet another customer, my new goal is to acknowledge that, to offer an authentic compliment that builds someone else up and acknowledges their contributions, to live generously.
I just finished reading Girl Meets Change: Truths to Carry You Through Life’s Transitions, by Kristen Strong. It feels kind of like the last three years of my life have been non-stop transition so this book was perfect for me.
This is a good book. The writing is well-done without being stuffy, conversational without being fluffy. Each chapter addresses an aspect of change with thoughtful encouragement and scriptural examples. While none of it was earth-shatteringly new, it was filled with sweet reminders and pointed me back to faith and trust and building altars to mark God’s presence in my life. Who can’t use a little bit more of that? For example:
“The point of our breaking points? They are the perfect place for Christ to come and be what we cannot. They are the perfect place for us to remember we have a Savior who identifies without weaknesses. He is not unfamiliar with what makes us wring our hands with worry.”
Her writing is so read-able that each chapter moves quickly. Each time they end with a prayer so this would be a perfect book for a devotional.
Here’s another quote:
“Jesus knows weakness. He’s felt weakness. And He isn’t turned off by our weakness.”
Yep. The older I get the more I am struck by the remarkable kindness of a God-that-came-down.
A dear friend of mine is facing a particularly challenging and un-wanted change so this book will go next to her. I love thinking of these words of courage and comfort going to her as she faces the unknown of her future.
Another favorite quote:
“He [God] stopped my downward spiral with plain truth: gratitude is the way of hope, especially during seasons of difficult change. When change wipes all the natural light from the rooms of my heart, being thankful is the way to usher it back in.”
Kristen Strong’s sweet spirit comes through clearly in her words of encouragement. She challenges us to be women of God–strong, brave, determined, though broken, scared and flawed. Yes and amen.