We’ve all experienced it—that one moment where someone has said something, or done something that has made us feel small, insignificant, or flat out rejected. It seems that all the blood in your body rushes to your face, as your hair seems to stand on end. You feel like you have been punched in the gut, and you wish you could disappear into thin air totally forgotten. Next, you start looking for a way to make a graceful exit.
The moment you are alone, your thoughts immediately return to the words that were spoken, the actions that were taken, or the body language shown by the one who made you FEEL the way you are feeling at this very moment; embarrassed, humiliated, insignificant or little. Your mind dwells on the hurtful event despite your best efforts to dismiss it.
Maya Angelou put it extremely well when she said, “People may not remember exactly what you did, or what you said. But people will never forget how you made them feel.”
Think about the people in your life that you treasure. They may not have a list of great accomplishments under their belts, but I am fairly certain they have probably made you feel special at some point. Then there are those people we run into from time to time, and when we see them we immediately feel a tinge of despair, or discouragement. Most of the time, our thoughts rewind back to an incident (or more than one incident) where they made us feel, well, not so great!
It’s not like we haven’t forgiven them. They may have even come to us and apologized, and attempted to make amends with us. But, the feeling remains. We can completely forgive someone, but still remember how they made us feel. We then subconsciously, or consciously choose to “love them from a distance.” It’s a self-protective measure. We don’t want to feel the hurt, or insignificance they have showered upon us in the past.
I recently made a sweet friend in ministry that I can say, I truly would like to emulate. She inspires me. I haven’t been around her more than a handful of times, but I can tell you she has made me feel important not only to her, but especially to the Kingdom of Heaven! That has encouraged me tremendously.
In a society where women tend to be so competitive, and jealous of one another, it is so refreshing to see a woman of beautiful godly character rise up and show the love of Christ to her sisters. This precious lady is so humble, not at all self-seeking. She thinks of others first, and it shows. Her ministry is blessed not only because God is honoring her character and faithfulness, but because I believe she makes people feel significant and valued. She is genuine--the real deal!
In life and especially in ministry, we must be very careful about how we treat others. Everyone is significant, and cherished by Our Heavenly Father. How dare we treat one of HIS children like they are not just as loved and cherished by us? We might not think it matters, but you can believe it matters to Him.
Ladies, body language speaks volumes! If you think your body language doesn’t affect the way people react to you, take a look at the picture below. Which of the ladies in the picture looks most approachable?
You can almost tell by looking which ladies would welcome conversation, and who would rather be left alone. As women, we often carry our thoughts and emotions all over our bodies. Rolling our eyes can mean we are exasperated, or annoyed. Crossing our arms in front of us can mean we are unapproachable, and would rather not be bothered. Placing our hands on our hips with elbows extended can mean we are on the defensive.
We don’t need a class on body language to detect when someone thinks we are not worth their time. Sometimes, it’s as simple as a short answer, and turning the head as if the conversation is over. There are so many subtle hints that can make people feel as if we don’t value them.
Now, I realize sometimes we do things unintentionally and that’s understandable. Other times we can be shy, and it could appear that we are not being friendly. But, as women of God we need to be very careful of how we intentionally treat our sisters. I’m not saying we have to run around and gush all over everyone we see. That can be just as bad. There’s nothing more distasteful than people who run around gushing all over everyone in the room, but are just about as phony as a three dollar bill. We don’t want to be fake.
Be loving. Be sincere, and be transparent. We often worry so much about our own appearances that we lose sight of how we make others feel. Why do people want to be your friend? Is it because you are popular or hold a high position, and being around you makes them look important? Or, do you have friends that genuinely want to be around you because you make everyone around you feel loved and valued?
I’ve always heard you will attract the kind of friend that you are to others. Let’s learn to love well. We are sisters, and we need one another. Build one another up. Encourage each other. We all have issues to face, and we are certainly stronger together. Be the kind of friend you want to have.
Romans 12:10-11 ESV - Love one another with brotherly (sisterly)* affection. Outdo one another in showing honor. Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord.
1 Thessalonians 5:11 ESV - Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing.
Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 ESV - Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil. For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up! Again, if two lie together, they keep warm, but how can one keep warm alone? And though a man might prevail against one who is alone, two will withstand him—a threefold cord is not quickly broken.
* Emphasis mine.
Donna Sparks is an International Speaker and Evangelist. She is the Author of Beauty From Ashes: My Story of Grace, and, No Limits: Embracing the Miraculous.