Marriage, ministry, Uncategorized

Seeing the good in others; God gives us worth


hairstylistSo Wednesday was my birthday, and I was at the beauty shop sitting in the comfy spinny chair describing to my stylist what I was wanting her to do to with my mess, I mean, hair.

I was asking for just a few highlights, trying to stay conservative with the budget. She studied my dry, long-overdue for an update mom hair for a moment then says matter-of-factly, “I’m going to do more highlights. Same price.”

What?! She didn’t even know it was birthday! Giddiness spilled out as I let her know what an awesome birthday surprise that was, which brought a beaming smile to both of our faces.

We chatted about kids and her work and discovered we live close to each other. She was a hard working single mom, working two jobs – stylist by day, call center worker at night. She told me how much she loved her day job and how she has had opportunities to work in other salons, but stayed at this paticular one because she cares so much about her customers.

She worked carefully and intentionally on my hair, paying attention to each detail as we talked.


I admired her drive, strength and character, and most of all, her obvious heart for people. 

When she was done putting the foils in my hair, she counted them up, and there were 24. I was paying only for seven. When she was done blow-drying my hair, she let me know she’d be styling it for free.

“Happy birthday. It’s your special day.”

I was so incredibly humbled by her generosity.

Truly, why would anyone be so kind to a stranger, especially when that stranger was me?

Who am I? 

The truth was that she values people. All people. She cares. She has a heart for women and knows the value of helping us feel more beautiful when we walk out of her salon. It just does something for our confidence and ambition, and she knows it. And she also knows another momma. One that just wouldn’t do these extra things for herself. And she wanted to bless me. love others

Just.

Wow.

My whole body was filled with warmth and gratitude as I thanked her for her generosity and care, blessing her as I left.

What an amazing gift she’d given me.

As I’ve been thinking about this exchange, I realize how much it ties into this week’s dare from the Respect Dare, which focuses on remembering what we admire in our husbandsa nd how valuable they are to God.

I’m on week 8 of a 40-week journey through the book for wives, and even though that’s the focus of the Respect Dare, the concept easily applies to ALL relationships, doesn’t it?

My stylist obviously sees people as intrinsically valuable and worthy and she loves them even when she doesn’t have to. People don’t have to demonstrate their worth to her, they just have it.

Remind you of anyone? Jesus, maybe?

What if we all were to see people that way? What if we were to see the good in them, their worth, even knowing that they have imperfections since they’re human and all humans do?

Sometimes in our relationships with people, we forget their strengths. We forget their value, because we focus on their imperfections. The marriage relationship can be a perfect example of this, but so can any other.

It may seem easier to see the gold in others when we don’t know their dirt. Maybe that’s why it’s easy to bless a stranger.

But how much more beautiful is it to see the gold even when we know the dirt? 
As a wife, I know how easy it is to let all that dirt pile up and bury the gold. But I don’t want to do that. I don’t want to allow myself to forget the gold in my husband. And I certainly don’t want him to forget the gold in me amidst my piles and mountains of dirt.

Do you have any relationships where you’re so focused on the dirt, you have essentially buried the gold?

Dare you today to intentionally think about that person’s strengths. What’s good about them?  If it’s your spouse, why did you marry them? What qualities did you see then that you may not see nodirt and goldw because you’re too busy looking at their flaws?

If it’s someone else, same applies.

Here’s what I’ve come to accept. Everyone has good and everyone has areas to grow. No one is all good and no one is all bad. You can have good qualities and not-so-good qualities, or “growth opportunities,” and the two don’t cancel each other out.

What’s good is still good. It does not lose its goodness. Amen?

Try this illustration: Jane has sparkling blue eyes and seriously ugly toes. No lie. UGLY toes. But those toes do not take the blue or sparkle from her eyes, do they? If you were to take a photo of her and crop it to focus only on those unfortunate toes, what might you think of Jane? But when you see the entire photo, which includes those beautiful blue eyes, warm smile, and other positive features, you don’t even SEE those toes, do you?

And gosh, if you met Jane, you’d see she possesses so much beauty on the inside. You’d be saying, ‘what toes?’
Relationship experts anywhere will tell you that if you focus on the good in someone, your relationship will grow.

If you focus on the not-so-good, it will suck the oxygen out of the relationship and it will suffer and eventually die a slow and miserable death.

My friend, author Nina Roesner, puts it like this:

whatever we pay attention to grows

And since we’re backyard missionaries here, we can see how this concept applies to everyone we meet. For example, if we’re looking at the homeless and seeing only evidence of addiction or lack of access to a shower, we’re going to miss the mark.

Why are we driven to help?

Because we can see the person behind all that. We know that the person isn’t the sum total of his flaws, or our perception of them.

We know that people are valuable because they just are… And specifically for Christians?

We know that people are valuable because they were created by God, his handiwork, made in His image and likeness. 

Christ alone justifies us. That’s it. Our appearances, our resumes, even our behaviors don’t make us worthy. Our best efforts will never make us worthy. And our worst, well that will never make us unworthy, either. 

And that’s why we’re kind. That’s why we bless others. That’s why we give dignity and respect to all, including both those we don’t know and those we do.

Thanks for letting me share, friends.

If you’re a wife and want to do the dares with me, you can jump right in and get your copy by clicking here

Have an awesome week ahead, loving your neighbors as yourself. Including your closest neighbors, your family.

Texas love, ya’ll.

 

 

About Melissa Smith

www.backyardmissionary.net

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