Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Kindness ~ Inside Out (Part III)

"There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit distributes them."
1 Corinthians 12:4

"Peter gets a compliment, Daisy gets a compliment, and Ana does, too.
Who else can I give a compliment to?"

This is the way I begin each of my classes on any given day.
We have a "Walk In" routine.  As students complete their routine, I'm scouting the room to give compliments for those who are complying.

Interestingly, the words "you did well" have immense power.
As I publicly reward students for doing a job well done, other students incorporate themselves quickly in order to receive the same validation.  Classroom routines are relatively easy to accomplish, therefore pretty much everyone gets a compliment.  When the task, however, is not so easily achieved, competition is born.  Academic competiton can spark interest and increased effort,
it can also go south with the same intensity.

There's a fine line between healthy and unhealthy competition.

Just like middle schoolers we can go either way.  Someone else's accomplishment can inspire us or dissapoint us.  We view their experience in light of our own.  Our lives, things, experiences may fall short in comparison.  Their attainments can become a real problem for us.

Truth is,
someone else's win is not our failure.

Think of driving down a main road, there's so much to see. Your eyes automatically drift to the sights and without noticing you're distracted. Before long, you pass the street you were supposed to turn on, you find yourself too close to the wrong lane, or worse, you run through a stop sign. Paying attention to unnecessary things can take us off course.  Sometimes, the consequences are small, sometimes they're not. 
Then we wonder, ". . . what happened?"

We can't appreciate the beauty of our own story
if we measure that beauty by the lives of others.

There will always be others who have succeeded beyond us.  
And, that's OK.

Contentment comes in the acknowledgement of our own strengths and maximizing that potential, rather than trying to replicate someone else's success. In the same manner, acknowledging our limitations without self-condemnation also brings peace.
Our weaknesses help us to remember we need His help,
we should not allow them to keep us from moving forward.

Our lives were not meant to be identical.  Gifts are uniquely and wonderfully distributed by our creator.  Realizing and using our gifts for Him in whatever capacity He allows, without comparison or self-criticism, brings freedom. 

What's the difference between a critic and an encourager?
A critic will amplify your negatives to highlight his or her own interests.

Sounds like the enemy.

He magnifies what we don't have like a bacteria under a microscope, tempts us to sin, then accuses us for messing up.  Making his wish for us true, keeping us unproductive.

 The ark of the covenant had returned back to Israel after being held by the enemies of God.  The joy of this victory filled King David's spirit to the degree that He could not restrain his worship.

Michal, King David's wife, was mortified as she watched her husband dance and worship His God publically and unashamedly.   She was embarrassed with her husband's outlandish, public display of Godly affection. Perhaps, his worship jeopardized his, and mostly her, royal image.  Classic critic.

An encourager, rather than magnifying the impossible, will help us focus on what is possible. Encouragers motivate us to use what we already have more than we already have. Encouragement is not flattery, or sugar coating.  Sometimes an encourager has to show us some difficult realities about ourselves, not to tear us down, to lift us up.

That same king who worshiped like there was no tomorrow, was the one and the same who fell from grace.  When the prophet came to confront him, he did not come with a critical attitude, he led King David to repentance so that he could fulfill the call of God upon his life for the nation of Israel.

Yes, may the Lord surround us with people that will encourage and enable us to do what He wants us to do.  Most importantly, however, encouragement begins inwardly.  For what does it profit us to be surrounded by encouragers,
yet we're our own worse critics.

We can change the way we feel if we change the way we speak to ourselves.
Let's think kind, encouraging, productive thoughts.
Let's believe that God can turn our sorrows into joys.
Let's believe that He will turn what was meant for evil for our good.

His plan for us goes beyond this moment,
beyond our limitations and our mistakes,
beyond ourselves.

Like the hot summer sun, imminently waiting on the clock for its turn to to bring heat and burn everything in its path, is failure, unhealthy comparison, self-criticism, and self-rejection.  Kindness, inside-out is like the fresh morning dew moistening our insides,  allowing His promises and His truth wash over us and make us whole again.  

= Credits =
Drops of Dew
Dreamstime_free 15669070


  1. Hi Damarise,
    There's so much truth in this post! I've been trying (not always successfully!) to change the way I talk to myself because I know those words I say to myself can spill out onto others. Love the reminder to be an encourager! Thanks for stopping by my blog today! :)


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