Falling into the shadow of the crowd, you slowly drift into the unseen. Fighting thoughts of true adequacy you start to push back questions of value. We have all been there, where we feel like we are noticed but find ourselves to in fact be unknown. Sometimes this can be a result of our own lack of vulnerability, and often I think more than anything else it’s a result of the fast paced movement of our spinning environment. Our world is spinning so quickly; it feels like we are all passing each other by at a startling rate. Settling for the temporary day to day interactions, but missing the eternal value of the relationships around us. It has become a deep seeded passion of mine, to be an institute of change. Mostly because I have been one of those that have felt lost within a crowd. Life is so much more than what we do, and we must be willing to go more in-depth into who we are. We need to ask others with sincerity, How are you? How is your marriage? How are you managing as a wife or Mom? How are you handling the stress of your career or college endeavor? Better yet, when these questions come, we must answer with vulnerability. Maybe you have been someone that lacks the vulnerability to reply with authenticity, so you pick up your mask and manage to strike a believable response. But friends, if we are going to grow and live to the fullest, we must be willing to ask those sincere questions and answer them sincerely as well!

Kristian and I recently went to a restaurant after Church, because everyone knows Sunday is the Lords day and so you don’t cook on that day, duh. That’s my motto at least! I’m so down for skipping out on that life responsibility. Anyway, the restaurant was slammed. The wait was long, and people were impatient and incredibly rude. Kristian noticed the cook was frazzled to a wick. I was hungry and ready to get this food in my belly as soon as possible, let’s be real. But rather than continue with grabbing our order and complaining about the wait, Kris looked at the guy and said: “Hey man, you’re doing a great job!” Thank you so much! The guy lit up like a Christmas tree in the middle of July. He replied, “wow, thank you so much!” From his reaction, Kris may have been the only customer that day, or maybe even that week that spoke into and affirmed his hard work and determination. In one quick moment that dedicated cook went from unnoticed, to seen.

I have a long way to go, but Here are 3 Keys I’m learning to become a better friend, a better leader and a better me:

1.) See

I scroll through Instagram like you all and peer into the lives of others around me. I look at their family, their outfit posts or their exciting life announcements. However, I can’t see past the screen. I can’t see into those that live at a distance. I must be eye to eye to see the real vulnerability of heart. Often times we settle for the glance of a screen rather than face to face encounter. We can’t live sustainable lives this way. Don’t settle for the false perception and facade of social media. It’s all a mirage. Instead, find the time to see into others by getting eye to eye. By getting close. We need to be close enough to see into others, and for others to see into us! Do you let people see into your life? You know the messy parts that we don’t like to show anyone. Do we give a trusted group access to our vulnerabilities, our fears, our pain? For it’s only then can we find true connection! True Community.

2.) Encourage.

Once you see something in someone, be brave enough to speak it! Flattery is nice, a compliment fleeting, but encouragement instills value! It empowers and strengthens. Encouragement to me has changed so much over the years. It was something I genuinely needed and sought after but seldom gave away. I find ways now to take the time to encourage, not just flatter. If I see something great in someone, I want to speak it out! And by great, I mean a struggling Mom fighting to manage the chaos around her, but doesn’t realize she is slaying motherhood with purpose. The grocery store clerk, the businessman, the teacher, the waitress, the everyday individual we pass by so often without a second glance. Greatness is often wrapped up in the ordinary day to day. We need to affirm in those around us that they are making a mark, leaving a legacy, changing a life, indeed making our world a better place! I mean, What’s the point to see it, if you never speak it! Maybe the reason there are so many people on the verge of giving up is that no one has told them that the life they are living is causing a ripple effect all around them… they are too busy creating the ripple that they can’t see the effect it has as it is going out.

3.) Be.

Everything you need right now, BE that to someone else. What? Sounds somewhat crazy right? Christ shows us that we will reap what we sow. If you need encouragement sow, if you need friendship sow, whatever it is… start giving it away. Be what you know you have always needed, and watch God begin to overflow and fulfill your every need.

These three keys are not new information! In fact, Jesus practiced these with every interaction. He noticed those that were lost in the crowd, He encouraged those who were weary, and He became everything we needed to have eternal life! Let us follow suit!

SEE – ENCOURAGE – BE. How can you implement these three keys this week?