You know what I love? I love loving on people. I love making people feel special and letting them know they matter. I am like a 98% extrovert, so meeting people and engaging in conversations come pretty natural to me. My husband on the other hand is the total opposite. He is an introvert by nature, but the Lord has really given him more extrovert characteristics through being in ministry. We like to say we balance each other out really well! I know when he needs some time at home and he knows when I have been cooped up and I need to get out! Ha!
We are in our sixteenth year of ministry and every year is getting sweeter! As I look back over the years, the one theme I find is that the Lord has been very gracious to give us favor with people. We have served alongside and ministered to the most amazing people and they have loved on us so well!
The one prayer that we as a family have always had is that we would be authentic, real, and love people intentionally right where they are. We view our mission field as more than just the church building. We strive to represent Christ and love people at the ball fields, schools, restaurants and wherever else the Lord may have us. Now, hear me out...we don’t always get it right and we have had to learn over the years how to love people well. It is a refining process that will continue until the day we take our last breath.
What would this world look like if we showed deep love for one another? What would this world look like if we were intentional and loving in the way we treated others and spoke to others?
I thought back over our married years and came up with four ways that we as a family have tried to show love to others. I hope they can help spur you on to be the hands and feet of Jesus to those you come in contact with.
First and foremost...BE YOU! Nobody wants a fake you. God created you for a purpose! Don’t try to be someone that you’re not. People are drawn to authenticity. When we realize that none of us have it together, the walls come down and real life happens. Whatever your struggles are, you can bet the people you are loving on have similar struggles too. We have so much to learn from each other, but that can only happen when we remove the mask.
As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another. Proverbs 27:17
One thing that I hear people say about my husband is, “he calls me by name”. I am envious of that trait because I am not very good at it. Being intentional is not self seeking, but seeking good for that person. You loving on someone may not bring any benefit to you, but it may be everything that person needs to push them towards Christ. Scripture tells us to encourage one another! Let people know that you are praying for them and that you are interested in what is going on in their life.
Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing.
1 Thessalonians 5:11
An important part of loving others well is being able to speak truth in love. God created each of us in His image (Genesis 1:27), so to treat someone poorly or to say things about someone that are hurtful is pretty much saying that what God created wasn't good enough. Have you ever thought about it like that? When people get to know the real you and see that you really care, my experience has been, they take truth so much better. People then begin to appreciate and respect your honesty.
Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ. Ephesians 4:15
Have you ever heard the saying, “talk is cheap”? Our actions help solidify our words. Be there for people. Be present in their lives. There is nothing better than doing life together. Be aware and notice when people are not around. A friend of mine recently said that her family will begin opening their home one night a month for anyone to come and have dinner with them. She wants to create community and love on people around her dining room table. WOW! What a great idea! She inspired me to want to do the same in a different format for the women of my community. Sometimes you don’t have to say anything, just being there is all someone needs.
And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching. Hebrews 10: 24-25
If I have learned anything about being a pastor’s wife, it’s to be bold in my friendships, to not fear rejection and to just be me. What you see is what you get and I am thankful for a Savior that is molding me and making me into an instrument to be used for Him everyday. If you are not an extrovert by nature and building friendships is scary for you, know that more times than not, people are wanting you to notice them and engage with them. People want to be acknowledged, loved, and feel that they matter.
Maybe there is someone that you have been meaning to reach out to...go do it! Maybe you see the same customer come through the door or the same lady at cheer practice...find out who they are and call them by name. This is where the journey begins!
Laura is a pastor's wife, mom to two crazy fun kids, part-time marketing director, loves hanging out in her community and building relationships...oh and loves to laugh!