Purpose to Praise
My youngest son-in-law’s birthday was this week, and I find that birthday cards are the perfect opportunity and venue to genuinely compliment and praise a beloved family member. As I was writing out his birthday note, I was trying in words to express my appreciation for his life and his many contributions to our family circle. It occurred to me was it only once this year, at the mailing of the birthday card, when I had complimented and praised him?
While in the midst of wondering, I was reminded of a devotion that I recently read that pointed out two kinds of praise, both of which are very important. One is unplanned and unintentional, and the other is calculated and deliberate. One involves the pouring out of true feelings by writing on both sides and the back of a card you are sending, and the other is just being thoughtful enough to send a card. Both have their place!
Praise that is unplanned and unintentional can lead to spontaneity, which is wonderful and exciting! A funny card signed and sent often fits the bill suitably. But this is usually just a quick response to something and not typically a full disclosure of how deeply feelings run.
I find that a card such as this mirrors what often occurs in my daily life. I am openly grateful and pleased with the loved ones around me, but do they REALLY know what they mean to me? (No, I am not advocating that I should go around, clutch people by their shoulders, turn their head with my fingertips, look them dead in the eye, and share with them a dissertation of their special place in my heart and life. I am sure that, as a result of an encounter such as this, they all would no longer be part of my daily life at all. Rather they might be a flash before my eyes, dashing to escape the crazed lady reaching for their shoulders.) J
But on the other hand, is a compliment in passing or a half-hearted, hurried hug really conveying adequate praise to those that I care about? Yes, these may show my feelings and may be warm and fuzzy gestures, but these acts alone are not enough. Adequate time should be taken or invested in letting these people know how special they are to me.
As we approach the Thanksgiving and Christmas seasons, don’t be pulled into or crushed under the pressure of the giving of gifts to express your admiration for someone young or old. Let your praise and appreciation be calculated and deliberate and delivered to them by you. Maybe over coffee, maybe over a shopping cart, maybe over a 3 year old’s coloring book, maybe over a 12 year old’s board game, or maybe over a 80 year old’s crocheted scarf…let them hear you say what you admire them for. Don’t let it be in passing, after a winning game, after a sweet service, or even after a gift exchange. Don’t let it be after anything at all. Let it be when there is no reason, only that you have thought about it carefully and purposed to say it. Isn't that what calculated and deliberate really means?
Maybe during the upcoming weeks, we should also be willing to offer deliberate praise to the One that means the most to us. And yes, it is coming up on His birthday. Let’s also remember to express our praise for what He is to us--not with a card, but with our heartfelt love and obedience! Blessings, Mimi (AKA Anne)