This week I have enjoyed some encouragement from others. It’s nice sometimes to get a little pick-me-up or affirmation that you’re on the right track. But I am very aware that pride comes before a fall because I have proverbially skinned my own knees because of it many, many times. So in an effort to accept the encouragement graciously (rather than pat myself on the back for how awesome I am), and stay on the right track, I started thinking about what went into building the things in my character that people noticed. One person came to mind: my husband!
Now, I believe that God makes us each wonderfully and uniquely, with gifts and talents that we can contribute to the world. He made us so that we can grow and change, and for followers of Christ, he is renewing our minds and shaping our hearts so we will become more like him. I just want to give credit where credit is due: first and foremost, the Holy Spirit is responsible for growth in my character and gifts.
But God does put people in our lives to help with his work of refining, strengthening and growing. My husband is one of those people for me, and I don’t acknowledge that enough. Maybe it’s because we are so different that I tend to see our growth as happening on separate tracks. We learn in different ways and find interest and inspiration from different sources. It’s something that is good for our relationship, but also means we spend a lot of time politely listening to the other person talk about things we have no interest in. 😉 The good part is that listening to those different ideas makes us more well-rounded people. I would say that listening to what Mike has learned about life, God, the Bible, and people over the years has actually taught me a lot. And I know I would be exponentially more awesome if I would listen a little more intently. Something to work on.
I have also been shaped by his encouragement and support. Knowing that I am treasured and valued by him (even though he sees my weakest, darkest moments) brings security and confidence as I make decisions and live my life in general. Hearing affirmation from him about my gifts and talents helps me to keep going and even try new things.
This has not happened overnight; it is the fruit of lives faithfully lived through the power of God’s Spirit, made available to us through the sacrifice of Christ. I am so thankful to my husband for seeking to live faithful life in all aspects. He is not perfect, but he is always trying to be better. And he is perfect for me.
There are others who have shaped my character, to be sure. I have loving and supportive biological and in-law families and faithful friends who have celebrated and grieved with me, asked the tough questions, and given me grace.
I heard a song (video below) last night for the first time and thought it was sweet. It may be just a silly, simple love song, but it was what sparked the realization that my husband has played such a role in developing the very traits I was encouraged about by others. It also gave me the idea for the graphic at the top of this post. I thought, “a good man helps his woman to shine.” But it’s not exclusively a romantic thing, it’s a love thing between humans! So with love being all around as Valentine’s Day approaches, I would encourage you to thank the ones who help you shine, and give some of that love back.