July 4, 2019
"A generous person will prosper; whoever refreshes others will be refreshed." Proverbs 11:25 (NIV)
Everyone, it seemed, was living her best life but me.
Pulling my van into the garage, I sent my kids into the house to unload their backpacks. Just a few minutes to myself, I thought, picking up my phone and beginning to scroll through my social media feed.
I thumbed through pictures of friends documenting their redecorated kitchens, fun weekend excursions, and date nights out in wedded bliss. Others logged in how many miles they'd run that morning or made celebration-worthy announcements.
The longer I scrolled, the more I compared, and the worse I felt. I'd already battled a gloomy heaviness that day, triggered by a couple of disappointments and some burdens simmering in a soup of my emotions. Now, my feed seemed like a neon reminder of everything I was missing as a single mom and all that my kids no longer had after my husband's death.
My spirits desperately needed to be lifted.
I only knew I needed to stop scrolling. Instead, I started texting encouragement to friends who needed it. I checked up on friends I hadn't talked to in a while, asking how they were doing and seeing how I could pray for them. Back and forth I texted, sending Scriptures and prayers and updates.
And then something I hadn't expected happened. Those friends asked how I was doing and how they could pray for me. My phone lit up with their Scriptures and prayers and updates for me. In the space of 15 minutes, my gloominess was gone, and I went from disheartened to lighthearted, from discouraged to encouraged.
Proverbs 11:25 says, "A generous person will prosper; whoever refreshes others will be refreshed." God created us so that as we encourage others, we ourselves are encouraged.
The Hebrew wording for this verse says, "One who waters will himself be watered." This Scripture paints a beautiful picture. As we pour out encouragement and help of all kinds to others, the Spirit pours into us.
We're meant to live both poured out and poured into.
It's easy to think we're too tired or too stressed to give any kind of encouragement to someone else when we need it so desperately ourselves. But God's supply is inexhaustible. We can never pour out so much that we are left completely empty.
God created us for community. He knows our tendency is to get caught up in our need. But that hyper-focus on ourselves, even in real need, only makes our hearts heavier. First Thessalonians 5:11 tells us to encourage one another and build each other up.
We can encourage each other through texts or a handwritten note or a phone call. We can check in on one another or take a meal or listen well. We can pour into a friend through prayer and then follow up after we've prayed.
Our best life isn't found scrolling on a feed. Our best life is letting Jesus pour into us so we can pour out to others.
Dear Lord, forgive me for getting so self-focused that I overlook the needs around me. Help me seek You and Your Word first, so that out of Your abundance, I can encourage someone else. Renew my heart so that I no longer see what's missing but only see all that You've given. In Jesus' Name, Amen.
TRUTH FOR TODAY:
Galatians 6:2, "Bear one another's burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ." (ESV)
Philippians 2:4, "Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others." (ESV)
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REFLECT AND RESPOND:
What's one simple way you can reach out to refresh someone who might need it today? Share your ideas with us!
© 2019 by Lisa Appelo. All rights reserved.