In the last few months I have found some time in my schedule to become a regular podcast listener. I have a handful of podcasts that I subscribe to and one of those is Andy Stanley’s Leadership Podcast. The man’s a genius and shares a lot of wisdom with his listeners. A few weeks ago, I was playing catch up on a few episodes I hadn’t gotten a chance to listen to in the busyness of the holiday season. Anyways, Andy shared two words that should be in any leaders vocabulary:
He goes on to explain that when we take the time to notice and specifically thank the people in our lives that have done something exceptional, we empower them and encourage them more than we could ever realize. Obviously, in any position of leadership, this a great thing to keep in mind. However, I’m not currently in any type of leadership position but would like to translate this idea into my own life.
A couple of weekends ago I attended the IF Conference at a local church here in Kansas City. If you are unfamiliar with this conference, it is basically a women’s conference that is live-streamed and hosted by churches all over the world. Women get together for a time of learning and sharing. It was a wonderful weekend full of challenging messages and encouraging words from really awesome speakers.
It’s been a few weeks now, so I can’t remember which of the speakers spoke to this point specifically, but it ended up being one of my favorite takeaways from the entire weekend. We were talking about making disciples and sharing the love of Jesus with people in our lives. We were encouraged to reflect on our own lives and remember specific people. The verse that was shared was Hebrews 13:7:
Remember your leaders who taught you the word of God. Think of all the good that has come from their lives, and follow the example of their faith.
In my Bible, next to this verse, I have written the names of the people who have made a lasting impact on my faith and relationship with Jesus Christ. These people not only provide me with an example to imitate, but have taught me who Jesus is.
Natalie Holdren: She gave me an opportunity to influence, encourage and love on teenagers when I was just a teenager myself. Her trust and belief in my abilities stretched and encouraged me more than she’ll ever know. She has shown me what it looks like to be intentional with my questions and how to speak truth into the lives of young people in a loving and graceful way.
Grandpa Bob: He has shown me the importance of being disciplined in the study of God’s word. He is bold in telling others about his faith. He shares Jesus by plowing his neighbors snowy driveways and also shares Jesus with the cable guy who shows up to fix his TV. My grandpa never passes up on an opportunity to speak encouragement into my life. “I’m so proud of you.” is a phrase that I will never grow tired of hearing.
Grandma Donna: She is the queen of hospitality. My grandma loves others through her thoughtfulness. I am confident that the majority of her thoughts are spent on other people’s needs. She is so in tune with the Holy Spirit and never questions the ‘nudge’ she might feel to bless another life. She has used her gift of baking, cooking and hospitality to serve countless people and families.
Dad: My dad has taught me to value generosity, he has taught me to love the church & he has taught me to love people. My dad has the biggest heart for people I have ever seen. I am thankful that I have an earthly father that makes it easy for me to connect with my heavenly father on that level. My earthly father would do anything for me and I know that God’s love for me goes way beyond that.
Mom: My mom has shown me what real life ministry looks like, outside of the church. She has shown me how to create a safe home for her children and their friends, how to connect and build real relationships with her coworkers and how to fiercely love her family. She has shown me what it looks like to follow Jesus even when it’s hard and to trust His promises even when it’s easier to give way to worry, doubt and fear.
So, to the people mentioned above, thank you.
Your influence on my life has been tremendous and I know that I haven’t expressed that enough.
Is there someone in your life that you need to thank? I want to encourage you to take the time to do that. I know that the two words, thank you, have lost some of their spark, but I promise that they are still powerful.
Thank them specifically for what they’ve done or how they’ve encouraged you. What do you see in their life that challenges you to live yours better? I have been blessed with many family members that live out their faith and have encouraged me in mine, but that might not be your story. Who in your life has been that for you?
A friend, a coworker, one of your friends’ parents? Who ever it is, take some time to reach out to them. They’ll never know how much they’ve impacted you and you’ll never know how much it means to them to hear your words.
Encourage someone today.
Be encouraged, friends.