“Kindness is love reacting to those around you. Goodness is love choosing to do what is right…in God’s eyes.” — Charles Stanley
Often when we visit a cemetery, our mind is flooded with memories of loved ones who are no longer with us. There are inevitably thoughts of those we wished we had known better and appreciated more. We imagine what it would be like to have them in our lives now and how we would cherish every moment we could spend with them. We realize how precious they were to us but regret being so selfish and taking them for granted. We think of all the ways we should have been more loving, more attentive and more thankful for the blessing they were in our lives. Though these reflections may be painful, we can garner so many life lessons from the past if we are willing to learn from them and allow them to dramatically change our present and future relationships. We need to ask ourselves daily, “What are tangible ways I can show appreciation to those who impact my quality of life?” One of these ways would be to clearly communicate to our loved ones how much richer our lives are because they are in it. It is imperative that we find ways to stress to them how very special they are to us. We shouldn’t ever presume that anything is automatically understood or goes without saying. The truth of the matter is that we can never show too much appreciation toward those we love.
Some of the other lessons to be learned that can make a huge difference in our relationships are to take the time and make the effort to: get to know others better, understand and be more responsive to others needs, find ways to minister to them and really be there for them. As we look back and reflect, we often regret how busy and hectic our lives were and as a result how much we missed out on valuable quality time with those we loved. We need to slow down and purposively focus on the moments of each day with those who bless our lives. It’s important for us to realize that time is a commodity that we will never get back!
There is an ever more significant application of these challenges for those who may languish daily with mental and emotional pain. Those in pain should not be exempt or excused from expressing their gratitude and appreciation to those who make a concerted effort to reach into their suffering and bring relief. They shouldn’t have a sense of entitlement as a result of their struggle to simply survive daily. Pain and suffering sensitizes us to our deep need for those in our lives who sacrificially love us and bring comfort during our darkest hours. As a result, sufferers need to give heartfelt praise to those special ones who ease their pain of feeling alone in their anguish and struggle. We all need to learn, before it is too late, to lavishly show appreciation to those who’ve graced and impacted our lives for the better.
“In a word, what I’m saying is grow up. You’re Kingdom subjects, now live like it. Live out your God-created identity, live generously and graciously toward others, the way God lives towards you.” ~ Matthew 5:48 (MSG)
Reflections on ART OF APPRECIATION
Too often life is full of regrets for the things we realize later we wanted to do but never took the time to accomplish or experience. We need to focus on the things that have eternal value instead of “putting out fires” all the time and taking care of the urgent needs that others love to press upon us.
As we mature, we realize the importance of relationships and the eternal value that they bring, not only in memories later but in experiencing love and sacrificing for each other right now. How many blessings are we missing by allowing busyness to rule our lives and squash the good intentions that the Holy Spirit has implanted in our hearts? Let us decide and commit to making relationship building an integral part of our daily schedule.
No one ever says on their death bed, “I wish I had worked more” but most people do say “I wish I had spent more time with those I loved. I wish I had told them how much I loved them.” You can change now…before it is too late.
Starting today you can express to those who really matter to you exactly why they are so special to you. Share one reason you cherish them each day with one of those special people in your life who have impacted you for eternity. They will be encouraged and you will find that your heart is warmed by the remembrance of their love and support.
Prayer for the hurting person:
Help this one who wants to develop an “attitude of gratitude” for the people you have brought to walk life’s journey with them. Enable her to be able to put into words the reasons that these people matter to her and to discipline herself to take the time to verbally share with those who mean the most to her. May she be encouraged by Your love, support and provision sent to her through these other lives that you have intertwined into her life and may she seek to be that type of person in the lives of those You send her way in the future.
In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Prayer for the helper:
Help me to let this person know that she truly matters to You and to me. Help me to lift her up in prayer and to verbalize the reasons why she matters to me for eternity. Help me to affirm the gifts that You have given her spiritually that she is using for Your glory and for my eternal good. May I remember all the reasons that she is special to me and may I express them in such a way that she feels cherished. May we both look for others in whom we can invest our lives and our time to continue the circle of Love that You began when You created us and sent Jesus to die for us.
In Jesus’ name, Amen.