How to Leave Behind Feeling Left Out: Give the Blessing You Want

When it comes to strangers, I’m strong at hello. Smiling eye contact, a two-pump, quick-release handshake, or a Costa Rican hug with a kiss to the side, I want to know your name and how to spell it. Letters stick better in my head than sounds.

Tell me your story. I used to worry about who I would sit by in a crowd, but I’ve realized most people have something to say. Asking questions and caring about the answers conquers loneliness in almost any gathering.

Regarding hello, I’m an extrovert. Put the music on, let’s dance.

Then there’s goodbye; I’ve noticed my hesitation, a longing to slip away. The introvert inside doesn’t like to assume you have any special words for me. I want it, though: a blessing that the time together touched you, that our laughter was good, that you saw me.

Goodbye leaves me in grade school on the sidelines, waiting to be picked for a team.

Dawdling on the edges of another conference wrap-up, the Lord whispered,

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Give the blessing you want.

Hey now?  

The encouragement you would like, go give it to these people in front of you.

Deep breath. Alright then.

I stepped forward to one face at a time, thanking for the experience shared, the wise insight, the unique beauty. I went from killing time to living it.

Best group goodbye ever. I ended up one of the last out, and I left blessed.

Give the blessing you want.

It’s not a new thought. Jesus told us to do unto others what we would have them do to us. Good stuff, right? Somehow it doesn’t always occur to me to apply it to my current view, my everyday details.

That teaching can seem more fit for gridlock situations or grand daydreams that flit by. Like the other day when when I read an article by Kathryn Bronn*. The colors and flavors of her trek through the Middle East made me feel all Indiana Jones. I pictured myself sharing Jesus in the dangers of the land, fulfilled and fully alive.

Then I remembered my zombie enthusiasm to make tonight’s dinner and how I avoided the panhandler at our gate this morning. If I struggle to serve well here at the foot of Mount Laundry, why would I do any better in a new place?

Sometimes life might work that way, leaps of faith can evoke spiritual superpowers, but usually our existing strengths and weaknesses earn airline miles alongside us.

Give the blessing you want.

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Let’s be honest: I can think of a lot of blessings I‘d like. How about you? Those desires can be our inspiration. Let’s become students of our present surroundings, learning to see the gaps and reaching to fill them with goodness. If we want adventure in our lives, we can make it happen without plane tickets.  Familiarity may breed contempt, but love makes everything interesting.

There’s no place better to grow than exactly where we are.

This house with the dust and disorder. This calling, workplace, team. This relationship. Today’s to-do list. Each one is a ripe opportunity for doing good. Each one is a perfect place to belong.

There’s no time like now to start giving the blessings we would want. The Lord moves in our obedience. As we minister to others, he fills our hands. Kingdom math: we give as he leads us and we come away full.

In our habits of hesitation, we can keep waiting for love to choose us, or we can begin living it out.

The beauty is, this doesn’t have to be extravagant or complicated. Every act of kindness counts. Love can be as simple as saying goodbye like it’s another form of hello.

Here is a simple rule of thumb for behavior: Ask yourself what you want people to do for you; then grab the initiative and do it for them! ‭Luke‬ ‭6:31 MSG‬‬


Are there situations that leave you feeling unsure or unwanted? Or maybe just uninspired? Can you think of a way to bless someone else from that spot? Share your thoughts with us in the comments section.

 

* ”Debunking Ministry Myths in the Middle Eastby the incredible Kathryn Bronn

Hello Photo by Karolina Szczur  & Flower-Giving Photo by Evan Kirby on Unsplash


8 comments

  1. Wow. This kind of hit home. Since I’m a group leader, I had to learn these things on the fly. If i had had your simple words: “Love can be as simple as saying goodbye like it’s another form of hello,” how much easier things would have been! Congratulations on a well-written post. I’m off to share!

  2. So true, Kris! We want to receive blessings, but miss the most important one of being a blessing in other people’s lives! Thanks for reminding us of this truth and encouraging us to step out of our comfort zones to make new friends and to bless them with our smile and warm conversation. It’s something I’ve learned over the years, but always need a reminder every now and then! 😉 Lovely post!


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