Last week, I had the pleasure of traveling home with my sister to sort through our childhood bedrooms. Equipped with trash bags and boxes, we ventured to my room first. As we went through items, I had a choice to donate, keep, or throw things away. It seems like a simple task until you stumble upon fifth-grade school work, a special letter from your dad to a younger you, or cards from your pre-teen birthday party.
In the process of cleaning our rooms, we found the hardest part was letting go of the seemingly small items that were made large with sentiment. It wasn’t the expensive gifts or fancy trinkets that we felt compelled to keep–it was the pictures, the projects, the things gifted to us by someone important. Among the things I decided to keep were three letters: one from my dad, and two from my high-school hurdle coach.
What was so special about these letters? The letter from my dad was written back in 1996. He was wrapping things up in another state before joining the family in our new home. In his letter, my dad imparted wisdom regarding peer pressure I might encounter in school. He encouraged me to stand up for what I believe in, and he declared who I am in Christ. He also told me that no matter what happens, I can always come to my mom and him–that they will always love me, and I can tell them anything.
Now, years later, I was touched by this letter. I don’t remember how I felt upon receiving it for the first time, but I know its content is still meaningful to me. Growing up, if I ever questioned my value, I could look back on the letter and read my dad’s declaration of how important, loved, and treasured I truly am. I happened to rediscover this important piece of paper prior to our trip home, and it was already nestled safely inside the, “Keep” box.
The two letters from my hurdle coach were amongst track things from high school. In track, you have a big meet at the end of the season. In this meet, the teams from your district come together and compete for the opportunity to go to the state competition. My hurdle coach joined the team my junior year. That year, as well as my senior year, he gave me a letter before the district meet. In these letters, he acknowledged my hard work and affirmed my abilities. He encouraged me to rise to the challenge and put all my effort into the race(s)–my best event was the 300-meter hurdles. The first year, as a junior, I came in the top 8. The second year, I won the race and went on to States.
Why am I telling you about these letters? Because even now, years later, the words are life-giving. Encouragement does not expire. When you tell someone that they are loved, valued, talented, capable, strong, and so forth, you declare words over them that–no matter when they reflect back–are positive.
Our identity is not circumstantial, but sometimes it might feel that way. Perhaps your project went awry and your boss or teacher was displeased. Maybe, you spent hours on a new hair style that nobody seemed to notice. No matter what happens, remember that who you are is not dictated by what others think about you. Failure happens. It does NOT mean you are a failure. Sometimes, we encounter disappointment. That does NOT mean you are a disappointment. If you have Jesus in your life, your identity as a child of God can never be taken from you. You are blessed, loved, forgiven, and redeemed. Even if you don’t know Jesus yet, you are still unconditionally loved by God. Nothing can separate us from His love.
No matter where you’re at in life, know that you are valued and loved. Words have power, and the same encouragement that can lift you up may also uplift those around you. Saying thank you to a cashier, expressing your appreciation to a waiter or waitress, applauding a coworker for their hard work: it doesn’t have to be long and elaborate. Even a few genuine, positive words can make a difference in someone’s life.
Perhaps you have a letter, birthday card, voicemail, or email you have saved, the content of which uplifts or inspires you. If not, you’re in the right place. This letter is for you.
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I hope you are having a wonderful day! Our journey in life has many seasons, much like the weather. Perhaps you are experiencing Summer: life is good, you got a promotion, you have a new grandchild, etc. If that’s the case, I’m so happy for the joy being poured out in your life! Keep shining, smiling, and celebrating the wonderful things God is doing. You are dearly loved, and there are more good things in store! You have specific talents and abilities that can continue to develop and grow. Your smile is one of a kind! Continue to shine and share happiness with those around you.
If you’re in the midst of winter, hold on, because Spring is coming. Perhaps you’re experiencing tragedy or heartbreak. Hurt is hard, and it’s okay to grieve. Please know that God has not left your side. He knows how you feel and wants to comfort you.
There are new, exciting things around the corner for you. Hold on to hope, for nothing is impossible! Doors that were once closed, may open. Mountains that seemed too high, can be under your feet. When obstacles arise, don’t worry about the obstacle. Keep your focus on the goal and soar right over! You bring something unique and special to the world. Keep spreading light and making a positive difference in the lives of others.
You are one of a kind and have the potential to make a difference every day. You have an important purpose and are not a mistake.
No matter where you are, know that it is never too late to make a positive change, and nobody is ever too far gone. You are valued, talented, and so incredibly loved. Stay positive, and if you’re looking for answers, look up.
God bless you and have a joyful week full of victories! 🙂
Lift Smart. Love Hard. Stay Positive.