Many of you have told me that my words and/or my achievements inspire you, and that you admire me, or proud of me. I so appreciate those encouraging words. Everyone can use a little praise and encouragement now and then. It reminds me of how much my father’s praise meant to me, since I so rarely got it.
Needing and Giving Praise
I remember a few years ago when my brother and sister-in-law had a cookout at their house in Maryland, which is located about halfway between where my Dad lived, and where I lived with my daughter, mom, and sister. The next day, my Dad woke up early and left before any of us woke up, but sent the following email to us, which consisted of one simple line:
I love you and I’m proud of you.
You can’t imagine how I felt when I read that. It was short and sweet, but a big deal coming from him. I don’t know if my Dad will ever verbally say those words to me before death parts us, but a little approval goes a long way. In so many situations throughout my life, I lacked the love I needed from my Dad (you’ll have to check out my book next year), so it meant the world to me.
My daughter’s father is absent from her life, but I give her as much praise as I can when she does the right thing, learns to do something, or is proud of something she’s done. We all need to receive praise, but we should know when to give it, too.
I recently talked about how I know there are some things I need to do. Since then, God has given me the grace to understand that I do not have to change everything all at once, but that I can conquer things one at a time. So although I still have not met all the goals I outlined, I have been consistent in having daily quiet time in prayer and Bible study.
This week ends a 40-day home Bible study on goal-focused living at my church. I did not participate in any of the groups that met in various homes, but I have studied the scriptures on my own, and come to the insight (yet again) that I ultimately want to live a life that pleases God. Reading popular blogs, talking to friends, and looking at TV do not contribute to this desire I have—sometimes it can be counter-productive (especially all those blog comments!!). But as a Christian I strive to represent Him, being in the world, but not of the world (see Romans 12: 1-2 for more on this).
I’ve also been doing a separate Bible study by Beth Moore that focuses on the fruit of the Spirit. I’m almost embarrassed to say that I started this 10-week course nearly 2 years ago, and have neglected it over and over again. However, I am now on week 9 and growing. He’s challenging me to be better and do better. Some of the ways I’ve been digging into how to please God are through:
- having faith in Him
- obeying Him (immediately)
- showing love to others (even those you want to cuss out!)
- helping others (especially when it’s inconvenient)
- praising Him
- spending time with Him in prayer
Playing the God in Me
In the first chapter of the book of Job, God bragged to Satan about how perfect Job was (“Have you considered my servant Job?” – Job 1:8). I’m not perfect, but I’d love to hear Him say to me “Well done, good and faithful servant!”
I now know that both of my parents have bragging rights on me and my siblings, but I was really moved to publicly share this desire I have to please God. I feel the way Jill Scott described in the last lines of her song, “Golden”:
…I’m strumming my own freedom
playing the God in me
representing His glory
hope He’s proud of me…