“Someone you know needs a hug today.” — John William Smith
Nick Vujicic is a Christian author, motivational speaker and director of the nonprofit organization, Life Without Limbs. Nick has lived a very challenging life as the result of having been born without arms or legs; in spite of this he’s lived a very active life. Nick is able to skydive, scuba dive, and dive off a diving board into a swimming pool but he is unable to reach out to hug someone. As Nick meets new people wherever he goes he graciously and lovingly makes people feel at ease by asking for a hug from them. He is unable to initiate giving a hug but must be a “collector” by asking for a hug. Time after time through his vulnerability and humility, Nick shows sensitivity towards those he meets. Both Nick and the hugger are blessed! The example set by Nick Vujicic can lead us to take a deeper look at what a hug is and what it can mean to us or to others. What does a hug mean to you? When are the times that you need a hug? Do you look for a hug or do you look for opportunities to give a hug? Do you feel free to ask for a hug, or do you just sit back and resent that no one gives you a hug? Do we take for granted the ability to hug those we love or care about?
Charles Swindoll writes, “When your heart is right, even though the bottom may have dropped out of your life, it is remarkable how sensitive you can be to somebody else in need.” Nick Vujicic is a perfect example of this. Who around us may need a hug? Is it the shut in who doesn’t see anyone for days? Is it the single adult who lives alone? Is it the widow or widower who’s recently lost a spouse? Author Barbara Johnson has written, “The next time you give someone a hug of encouragement imagine the love of God filling your heart so that it overflows from your heart and moves out through your arms to soak right into the person you’re embracing.”
We need to have the mindset of being “hug collectors.” If we need a hug we can be sure that someone around us needs one even more. We need to take the initiative and be proactive about seeking out those who are hurting or struggling and are in desperate need of a hug and, in the end, we will realize how many hugs we’ve “collected” as a result.
“Love each other with genuine affection, and take delight in honoring one another.” ~ Romans 12:10 (NLT)
Reflections on HUG COLLECTOR
There is something about a hug that just makes my day better. I’ve discovered from reading a book by Gary Smalley called The 5 Love Languages that one of the things that makes me feel loved is physical touch…a hug or squeezing my hand or even a pat on the shoulder. They have done research about babies and have discovered that children in orphanages who were left in cribs for hours with little physical interaction later develop separation anxiety and have emotional problems as they grow up, all because of the lack of physical contact and nurturing as infants when we really don’t even have a recognizable memory as such.
As adults, we still need to be affirmed. We still need to feel needed and wanted and one of the ways that we can feel that is through a hug or a pat on the back or some sort of physical interaction that makes us feel more like we are a part of the group and not just a spectator. I don’t know if it is the physical touch itself, or really more the message of being included that the touch sends.
We need to be especially sensitive to those who may not have much interaction with others. People who are single without children don’t have nearly the interaction that a married person or even a single parent does. Their only opportunities to feel accepted and included are in the interactions at church or work or while shopping. We need to be on the watch for people who are not visibly engaged with others and help “bring them into the fold.” We need to do things that make them feel like they would be missed if they were not there. Words are good but the old saying “actions speak louder than words” is still true. A hug can make the difference between feeling included or excluded.
Prayer for the hurting person:
Help this person who is feeling isolated to be able to reach out to others and include them in her life. Help her to have the courage to invite others to share her space and to give to others the emotional and spiritual support that she needs herself. Bring people into her life that will love her and include her and accept her unconditionally through Your love.
In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Prayer for the helper:
Please help me to not just enjoy being part of the groups where I feel like I belong but help me to constantly be on the lookout for others who need to feel like they belong as well. Help me be sensitive to those on the fringes who are just waiting for an invitation to join the group. Help me to listen to Your Holy Spirit and to see people with Your eyes.
In Jesus’ name, Amen.