I cannot imagine there is a person in the world who doesn’t desire to be recognized and valued and praised. Even the most humble can find joy in kind words and affirmations, in verbal expressions of gratitude.
And when I say gratitude, I don’t just mean, “Thank you for doing the dishes.” I mean gratitude for who they are, what they do, and how they do it. Like how they inspire, challenge, or lift up others. Or how their character traits point to a deeper motivation, like love or trust or faith.
The odd thing is, we often think these wonderful things of others, yet we fail to express our appreciation. Maybe we feel embarrassed or weird, or we can’t quite put words to our wonder. But if we did, we can be darn sure we would make that person’s day.
What a significant force of love! A simple appreciation. A joy shared. A beautiful echo of a selfless heart.
I know the power of affirmation because my husband excels in that area. Two nights ago, for instance, he threw off the covers of our cozy bed and met me in the living room with a mission: to share five affirmations with me. I blushed as he listed them off, feeling prized and loved, totally wowed by his forthrightness.
He later explained that he was lying in bed thinking all of these wonderful things when the thought crossed his mind to share them with me. In the next minute or two, he wrestled with the difficult debate of getting out of bed to tell me or telling me later (easily forgetting, if he did). It came down to choice. He chose to serve his wife, not himself.
I have to remember that serving others sometimes comes at a cost. Even sharing simple words of love and truth can be a sacrifice. But isn’t that the very message we Christians live by? To love is to serve. I can tell Honey Dude I love him all day long, but if my actions don’t reflect a willingness to serve and to sacrifice, I’m not really being true to my word.