There are many ways we can be stingy beyond whether or not we are giving financially or being generous. Those other ways are less obvious to us, but not less important.
Who can you name who has believed in you even when you may not have seen the possible in yourself? I hope you don’t need to think a long time to answer, but many cannot answer that easily. Others cannot name anyone since childhood perhaps.
What does it cost us to invest in, hope for, and believe in someone else and demonstrate that to them?
First of all we must see them and see into them much as Jesus did with others over and over again in his earthly ministry. That requires ridding ourselves of our self-absorption to notice and observe someone else. It also necessitates letting go of our own tendency to compare ourselves with someone else that can result in being stingy with our affirmation.
Believing in someone and offering affirmation about the possibility you see in them is not about flattering them or even perhaps complimenting them. It’s allowing the Lord in you to get a glimpse of his unique design in the other person, see the raw material with its own characteristics, recognize the hidden gems, and then speak life into that possibility in the other person. It is definitely not creating an image of them of our own design.
It gets conveyed in varied ways and with fewer words that are well placed and offered from the Lord’s lens and love in us to that other person. It is poured out because it is an act of love and not held back for fear it will create pride in the other person. (Flattery is what feeds pride, not truly seeing into and affirming the possibility within another person.)
If we are honest with ourselves (if not each other), we all experience doubts about ourselves. Even with maturity some doubts hide in the shadows waiting to pop up and stop us in our tracks or slow us from moving forward.
If you think about that person who believed in you, what happened within you as a result?
“The funny thing about having people believe good things about you is that, without even realizing it, you want to make those things happen.”
Often their faith in us, their belief in us is something we need to be able to walk on until our own is developed.
The messages of those who believed in me seemed sparse during my childhood, but when they came to me later they were etched in my heart, mind, and spirit with indelible ink.
A little white-haired lady spoke the words, “You’re going to have victory over this today,” when the challenges of the day were so high I could not see over them. It made ALL the difference. I believed and saw her faith when my own was wavering.
That was more than 40 years ago, but I remember it in vivid detail because she was speaking life into me through a faith and vision beyond her own faith or desire for me. Her words sparkled with a light that pointed the way to the One who believed in what He had purposed uniquely for me.
It would be a significant thing to be able to tell you there was a long list of others I could name; but even though there are some, there are not nearly so many as could have been. You see it is not common for someone to be a conduit of this gift, this belief and faith, but I cannot help but think that it should be something all of us experience multiple times over the course of our lives (no matter what our age).
Even though such persons may be few in any of our lives, they have the power to change everything. Offering such words of hope and belief do cost us something, but the dividends are multiplied many times over.
Those who see the possible in us plant within us seeds to see the possible to believe in someone else.
“A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in a setting of silver.”
Proverbs 25:11 (ESV)