Psalm 139:23 ESV
2 Chronicles 16:7 ESV
Job 31.4 ESV
Hebrews 4:13 ESV
Psalm 33:14 ESV
I’ve been practicing giving gracious words to others and to myself daily because of the very positive environment those words offer.
Just a few well chosen gracious words uplift us and help to make us healthier people.
My concern about gracious words is that in today’s world they are few and far between. Many people know how to criticize us, but they do not seem to know how to appreciate us.
When I realize I need a gracious word in order to uplift me, I ask God to help me. I ask God to give me gracious words.
The truth is scripture tells us the psalmist also asked God to search His heart and know him.
Psalm 139:23, tells us, “Search me, O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts!”
I believe that scripture includes surrendering our downcast thoughts to God.
As we seek to reverse the tide of criticism today’s world can often render, we can turn to God to seek out a word (or words) that will build us up.
We can ask God to search our heart and give us what we need.
We can listen to God to provide hope and love.
We can also seek out and even create a support group that will help feed us gracious words.
I have a support group and we share a group text. We’ve always shared prayer requests and lots of laughter, but in addition to that we share gracious words. That reminds me how important gracious words and gracious laughter are for our daily health.
The people in my group live in five different states. We live in Iowa, Missouri, South Carolina, Colorado, and Wyoming. We are somewhat diverse. We do have a lot in common, but the biggest common element we share is laughter.
We really share silly things.
It’s quite possible that others might not think they are funny, but we do. We are on the same wavelength.
This week I shared that the county fair near where I’m living had lamb burger in their concession stand. So for lunch one day I had lamb burger. I grew up in Jackson County, Missouri and lamb burger wasn’t part of my diet.
Lamb burger is a little unusual in some parts of the world.
I thought it was pretty good. For some silly reason while I was eating my lamb burger I thought about a cartoon where they had sheep on a hillside. I asked my group if they remembered that cartoon. We figured out the main characters were Ralph the Wolfe and Sam the Sheepdog.
I was shocked when I looked it up…it first aired in 1953.
Hummm…that was a very good year!
The people in my group remembered Ralph and Sam who clocked in to work every day.
The scripture for today (which was randomly selected months ago) reminded me that God thinks of me (of us). We usually think that WE think of God and we search for God. But we’ve got it backwards. God thinks of us day and night, night and day and God urges us to turn to Him.
God searches FOR us. God loves us so much that His Spirit calls to us. Occasionally we stop being busy enough to hear God’s call.
Scripture tells us in 2 Chronicles 16:9, “For the eyes of the LORD run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to give strong support to those whose heart is blameless toward him.”
Job 31:4 says, “Does not he see my way and number all my steps?”
Hebrews 4:13 tells us, “And no creature is hidden from his sight, but all are naked and exposed to the eyes of him to whom we must give account.”
Psalm 33:14 says, “from where he sits enthroned he looks out on all the inhabitants of the earth.”
God sees us.
We are the sheep of His pasture.
God doesn’t clock in and out like Ralph and Sam. God never stops searching for us. God never stops loving us and wanting us to hear His voice.
My final place in the workforce was located in a large campus of thousands of people. During my years there I worked in every building and I met a lot of different people. Everywhere I went people would tell me they “heard me coming”. When I asked them how or why they always said the same thing…”I heard you laughing”. Oh…I do have a unique laugh. I thought about that and it made me smile because that’s really quite an epitaph.
I like it. It’s sharing gracious. Gracious laughter.
Today’s Spiritual Practice is: Share Gracious
Consider people in your circle you could share gracious words with on a regular basis. Even if you don’t talk about sharing gracious words with others, if you share a good word or even if you share laughter with others you will lighten their load.
In God, Deborah