Working with a missions movement on a large campus, I get to wet my feet with a lot of different departments. My main role is to offer sound Biblical teaching and training to missionaries, leaders and pastors both locally and overseas. However, because the YWAM campus is run completely by volunteers, it means that sometimes I get to do what some might consider a practical or logistical job. I’ve spent many hours helping to cook meals for the hundreds of students on campus and had countless conversations while serving lattés out of our Coffee Bar. Just recently, I was asked to serve in the Admissions office which basically acts as a call center contacting potential students.
Inspiration is only true inspiration if we take action…
My first day in that office, I noticed that another fellow missionary would constantly be asking on the phone how she could pray for the person on the other end of the line – and then she would stop right there and pray for them. I’ve always felt uncomfortable talking on the phone, and even more so receiving prayer over the phone. I never imagined that I could actually pray for someone I couldn’t see. But this girl really inspired me and I told her so. Inspiration is only true inspiration if we take action, so with this conviction I spent my second day in the Admissions office determined to press through my awkwardness and pray for someone on the phone.
But this isn’t about me and how I made a change because I was inspired. Rather, this got me thinking about how often I notice others. I’m usually so busy in my own world, thinking about what I’m doing and what I want to do that I don’t bother looking around to really see others.
When was the last time you smiled at someone you didn’t know?
I want you to pause and think about the last time you offered someone outside of your typical social circle a compliment. When was the last time you noticed someone wearing a frown and gave them a hug? When was the last time you smiled at someone you didn’t know? When was the last time you asked someone how they were doing, and listened to their answer instead of wishing they would ask you about the hard day you’re having?
I’m constantly guilty of living in my own world. I drive to work, walk to my desk, stare at my computer screen and interact with the same people every day. I follow my routine almost to a T, walking out of the office at 5pm before I go back home where I typically throw on my pajamas and curl up with a good book. My daily life doesn’t naturally warrant a lot of time around people outside of my social circle and, unless I choose to look up, my life is essentially spent looking down.
I am going to take a wild guess and suggest there are others who can relate to my life. I’ve found this very challenging and, because I’m someone who is all in, I decided to face this challenge head on. And you know what? It’s amazing how simple it is to smile at someone or say hello or encourage someone with how you witnessed them do something they thought had gone unseen. It’s also amazing to witness the change come over people as they realize their small and humble act of kindness or hard work has been truly seen.
We need to notice those around us and make a commitment with ourselves to take the time to acknowledge others.
Not too long ago, I had the honor of welcoming leaders to a youth convention where they had committed to mentoring teenagers over a holiday weekend. For many of those leaders I took half a minute to thank them for choosing to spend time discipling youth over what could have been 3 glorious days of rest. Often, these leaders had looks of trepidation when they arrived to check in with me for the weekend, but their uncomfortable looks quickly turned to hope and relief when they recognized that somebody had noticed them – even if it was for a brief second – and acknowledged the work that they put in to ensure youth are loved by Jesus. While I was welcoming those youth leaders, I was reminded of the phrase by Bob Goff when he says to “spread kindness like confetti.” The thing is, in order to actually accomplish this, we need to look up. We need to look out. We need to notice those around us and make a commitment with ourselves to take the time to acknowledge others.
A few years ago a friend of mine asked the question, “Is my life interruptible?” Or am I too busy with my agenda that I can’t stop to affirm someone even if God dropped that person in my lap?
Who have you noticed recently? Who is it you welcomed with a smile? Whose efforts have you acknowledged and affirmed because you noticed their hard work or their kind interaction with someone else? Who is it you wrote a note to, asking how they’re doing, just because? If you can’t think of a single name, then I challenge you to take this on. We’re all in this together and when we notice others we bring a little more Jesus to this world.
Interested in missions? Learn more about our Discipleship Training School (DTS) at YWAM Montana!
DTS is a 5 month missions and discipleship program. The first 3 months you’ll go deeper in your relationship with God and the last 2 months will be spent with your team on an overseas outreach making God known in the nations.