You may wonder what I mean by that question.
If you are a “lightener,” people who spend time with you will feel refreshed and lighter because you have been with them.
In a Children’s Literature course in my college days, I completed a poetry project and loved Rachel Fields simple little poem entitled “Some People.” The poem describes well what a lightener is.
Isn’t it strange some people make
You feel so tired inside,
Your thoughts begin to shrivel up
Like leaves all brown and dried!
But when you’re with some other ones,
It’s stranger still to find
Your thoughts as thick as fireflies
All shiny in your mind!
Lighteners encourage and come alongside us and we feel better for knowing them. They cue in on others around them instead of having a self-focus. They move on what they observe rather than not notice or simply observe. They usually see what they do for you as nothing special and yet those seemingly small things lift the burden we may be feeling.
Small acts of kindness appear to be the specialty of lighteners. The Holy Spirit seems to prompt them to come alongside us when we thought no one else had noticed what we were feeling or going through. They move into action without being asked oftentimes. They really respond with an empathy that shines the light of Jesus brightly. That brightness stands out because it is not common.
Our lives and schedules, our jobs and ministries, our own issues and concerns can cause us to miss those around us beginning with those with whom we live. It isn’t our intent, but it happens. Sometimes it happens because no one has noticed us and it has left us discouraged and turned our eyes inward. Sometimes it happens because we have given out so long that we are depleted.
As sons of Adam and daughters of Eve, we have difficulty with a balance between doing and being, serving and resting, encouraging and getting encouragement. We need to be recalibrated often by the Holy Spirit within us to balance these divergent needs and responsibilities.
I have learned one thing as I have observed myself with this struggle. If I see a lot of misalignment, it’s because I have set aside time first thing in the morning to sit in my favorite red chair and take some time in the Word with a pen and journal in hand. It can be easy to be too tired, too busy, or too scheduled to feel I can add that to my day. But that exposes the issue. It isn’t about adding it to my day. It’s about how I start my day and add everything else into it.
Even so, each of us needs to have a lightener who touches us, a day, or a circumstance in such a specific way that we are better and lighter for his or her presence.
It can be so easy to be critical. We are immersed in a culture where we are bombarded by critical words and attitudes that can seep into us and leak out of us.
Too often that happens within the context of Christian relationships and circles as well. Sometimes we set a standard for others that fits with biblical teaching absent the mercy and grace Jesus brought us. Satan loves it. He sets it in motion and we go along with his program without sometimes hearing what we have said or how we have said it.
Martin Luther King, Jr. exhorted us all well when he said these words:
“We must all learn to live together as brothers or we will all perish together as fools.”
To be a lightener we must break the habit of attaching so much importance to what people say and focus more on what the Lord has said and demonstrated through the life of Christ.
I love how the writer of Hebrews says in Hebrews 10:24 (TPT):
“Discover creative ways to encourage others and to motivate them toward acts of compassion, doing beautiful works as expressions of love.”