I can’t believe that Easter is literally a week away!! What?? I feel like just yesterday was Ash Wednesday. Time flies!!
So, as we finish up this little season of Lent, a season that can be both challenging and grace filled, I wanted to share a little bit about one of the greatest lessons that I have learned over the past 33 days. And let me tell you, when I started this Lent, I had no idea how much this little experience would impact me. And that is why I’m so excited to share about it!
At the beginning of February, I read the book, Keep it Shut, by Karen Ehman. I talked a little bit about this book in my February Favorites, and on Instagram, but I didn’t really give the whole rundown of what this book inspired me to do throughout Lent.
The goal of this book was to teach Christian women to understand the power of their words and to work towards using them for Good (and by Good, I mean God). Our words have power beyond our comprehension and they can truly impact those around us if we use them well. This is definitely one of the most implementable books I have read in a long time, so I would highly encourage you to pick up a copy.
Anyway, one of the ideas that Karen shared about was 40 days of letter writing. One year for Lent, she thought it would be a fun experiment to write a letter to a family member, friend, colleague, or acquaintance every day of Lent. As a then forty-year-old woman, she made up her list pretty easily and went on to explain how very beautiful this daily ritual became.
This idea sparked my curiousity. A lot.
I loved the idea of taking a few minutes to write some good old snail mail, so I sat down and started writing a list. And here’s the first lesson that I learned through this experience…
I had no idea how many people I could be grateful for.
I mean, it took me trying to come up with 40 people who I genuinely appreciated and loved to realize how stinkin blessed I am to have these people in my life. I was sure when I first sat down to make a list that I wouldn’t come up with 40. My thoughts pretty much went to “Well, maybe I can just do half of the forty days. I mean I know I can come up with 20 people, right?” Wrong! Jesus be like, “Hey girl, look at the people that I have placed before you!! Yes, I put them there just for you!!” Lesson learned!
Christ has placed so many special people in each of our lives. These people are your grandparents, your aunts and uncles, your best friends, your coworkers, your roommate, your church’s secretary, your mail lady. They are everywhere. I’m telling you, they are there!!! I don’t care if you’re 15 or 50, you have dozens of people who have been placed in your life for a reason.
But this taught me so much more than just how to be grateful.
It taught me how to recognize the different strengths and talents of those around me.
This one is big. Each person has in them something special that is in no one else. And while our gifts may seem to be like those of our friends and family, they are all unique. While some thrive in acts of service, others thrive in evangelization. While one person is gifted with a contagious joy, another is a wonderful listener and gives great advice.
The point, however, is that we all have our gifts and talents. And each of those gifts deserves to be recognized in some way. Writing these letters forced me to think about all the things I admire about the people around me. It truly opened my eyes to the great diversity and strength of character in the church. It has been such a blessing to see these friends and acquaintances in a different light.
Lastly, this little ritual showed me how simple things can bring great joy.
For one, this experience brought me great joy. I truly enjoyed waking up each morning and spending a few minutes reconnecting with people and showing them how much I appreciate them.
Aside from my own enjoyment, it was so beautiful to see how others responded. Simply showing others you care is such an easy thing to do. In many cases it only takes a few seconds and half a dozen kind words. And those few small things could dramatically change their day, week, or month. All it takes is our being a little more intentional than usual and setting out to spread kindness.
This last lesson brings me right back to the purpose of Keep It Shut. Karen wrote this book to teach us how to use the power of our tongue for good (and for God). We have the power to do good and to do harm with our tongue. The difference between those two outcomes is all in our intention. If we intentionally use our tongue for good, good will come. And if we don’t, well, you get it!!
If you had any tug at your heart while reading this, please consider sitting down and making that list. This has truly been a beautiful, thought-provoking, lesson-laden process. I know that you would enjoy it just as much as I have!!
Have a blessed day!!