What is your favorite memory from childhood? A special outing with family? Picnics, camping? School projects? Beach trips? Holidays? One that comes to mind for me is going to the local park and playing ‘Kick the Can’ with the older kids. I absolutely loved that! Playing under cover of night was so exciting even though I most always got picked last for the team. Just being allowed to play in the group and being ACCEPTED was huge for me!!
As we grow older the need for acceptance doesn’t diminish. Some of us hide it well, pretending we don’t need others because we’re grown and mature. Some of us look longingly into every new face and every new place hoping to find it. And others have given up, resigning themselves to an inner life of loneliness. But one thing is certain, no matter our age OR maturity level (because maturity does not automatically come with age, it comes with responsibility), deep down we all desire to be ACCEPTED.
So now let me ask you another question;
How do we FLURISH in acceptance while our world is so crazy-busy we barely take time to talk to each other in person? High tech modern communication is quite expedient but does zero to produce genuine closeness. Closeness leads to acceptance and feeling comfortable enough with others to genuinely enjoy them and ALLOW them to enjoy us. In 2016 that’s a tough order but there is hope for those of us needing more acceptance than we’re currently receiving.
Do you realize or remind yourself that if you’re a Christ follower you not only have been accepted but also CHOSEN and ADOPTED by the Most High God? To FLURISH we can regularly read this passage in Ephesians 1:4&5 NLT (New Living Translation)
“Even before HE made the world, GOD loved us and CHOSE us in Christ to be holy and without fault in HIS eyes. GOD decided in advance to ADOPT us into HIS own family by bringing us to Himself through Jesus Christ. This is what HE wanted to do and it gave HIM great pleasure.”
Not just CHOSEN for a team . . . but ADOPTED into a family! Chosen denotes ‘first pick’ and adoption equals taking care of someone and their needs for life. The glorious GOD of the universe handpicked us and then went on to assume responsibility and care for us during the rest of our lives!! AWESOME SAUCE!! And the cherry on the sauce is eternity in paradise follows life here!!! (This reality brought about the song ‘Amazing Grace’ and more recently, ‘Amazing Love’ — just sayin)
Mull over these incredible realities and recognize you are part of the greatest family ever and loved immeasurably by GOD without parallel!!! Allow these truths to take permanent root in your mind and heart. Remind yourself often by sitting in your special ‘place’ (see post titled Honesty & Love) and reading chapter one of Ephesians WITH GOD. Remember He is with you and listening. He will infuse you with HIS Love to overflowing so you can begin to reach out and accept others who may be struggling;
- Greet people with a smile. Smiles break the ice.
- Talk to people when you see them. Don’t avert your eyes, you are a child of GOD so spread the Love!
- Carve out time to get together and have fun with old friends or family you haven’t seen in forever. Be proactive. Make a plan to get together then TRUST HIM to help you. HE is with you! Just relax and be yourself.
- Whatever happens good or bad is just spillover because HE still has your back! If you make a positive connection, fabulous! Continue connecting with that person or others. If you reach out and it doesn’t go well, don’t be discouraged. The other person may not have the confidence of being GOD’s child and doesn’t yet know how to receive kindness. Pray for them.
- Let His angels minister strength to your heart and recharge. (Matthew 4:11 and Luke 22:43)
- Now live confidently and FLURISH knowing HE is with you and expect another opportunity to connect and accept soon!
Catch ya next time!
“Accept one another, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to GOD.”
Romans 15:7 NIV
Shine on . . .