The power of commending someone

I don't usually wake up a stress case, but I did this morning. It's one of those weeks when everything lands on my calendar at the same time. So as I was trying to connect with God this morning, all I could think about was being stressed. Then, completely from left field, God utterly transformed my morning with a simple practice that can transform your day too.

As I was praying during my morning devotions, I decided to be quiet and listen for a couple of minutes. One of my to-do's came to mind: write a letter of recommendation for someone from Sanctuary who is seeking employment. I was overdue on the letter, and it was one of the tasks that has been on my mind. Except this time when I thought about it, I felt God nudging me to write the letter as part of my devotion to him. I thought, "Okay, I'll do whatever you want. Besides, it gets something off my plate." (Gross! I'm not proud of the selfishness, but it's part of the story.)

So I sat down at my laptop and started writing about my friend -- I'll call her Jessica. I began by listing some of her qualities I really appreciate: her straightforwardness; her trustworthiness; her servant's heart; her joy in serving people others shy away from; and so on. Then I started transforming that list into sentences and paragraphs. That's when the magic happened.

The more I wrote, the more I became absorbed in celebrating Jessica. Every new sentence brought greater joy. I smiled as I wrote certain sections. Finally, after some finishing and wordsmithing, I was satisfied with the letter. I noticed that I felt great! This was way better than a cup of coffee. For that half hour, I hadn't thought about my stress at all. In fact -- and here is the great spiritual secret -- I had been entirely absorbed in blessing someone else. That self-forgetfulness is where God met me. (I wonder if most stress doesn't stem from self-absorption in one form or another.)

I sent the letter not to the prospective employer but to Jessica. I want her to read it. I hope hear heart is lifted up and encouraged. I picture Paul's friends being lifted up and encouraged when he publicly commended them. Browse through his New Testament letters to see what he said about Timothy, Silas, Phoebe, and others.

This is where I want to recommend a simple spiritual practice for you today. Take a few minutes and commend someone. It might not take more than five minutes of your time to write a note to someone, listing three qualities you really appreciate about them. Then you can ask them to pay it forward. (You hear what I'm saying, "Jessica"?)


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