The Art and Blessing of Affirmation

IMG_0014Its amazing to celebrate birthdays.  Personally, I would prefer to celebrate OTHER people's birthday than my own for the pure reason that I really enjoy the celebration of the uniqueness and specialness of a person's life.  I love seeing old pictures and hearing stories of a person's growing years and having an opportunity to say, "you are loved and you are special" to someone who is making the journey of their lives.  Each of us are a blessing to the world in a manner that God chooses.  In fact, God's fingerprint upon our world is unique in every person whom He creates…in other words, there is something that God can only do in this world THROUGH each person to whom He gives the gift of life.  Without the individuals that surround us there would be some aspect of God that we might miss. I don't know if you have ever thought about it in that way before but YOU are a unique gift to the world revealing some aspect of the character and nature of God that can only be experienced in the person that you are.  So, we are cherished and celebrating a birthday is ONE way to honor the people in our lives and saying to them, "there is something about you that I really love and appreciate that HAS TO BE publicly shared in these moments of celebration."  

This past week was my birthday and since it was somewhat of a milestone, there were plenty of affirmations to go around.  My daughter put together an affirmation jar and asked my family and friends to contribute one word summaries of what they thought about me and to place them on a piece of paper within the jar.  After the party, there were over 75 bits of affirmation…each very humbling but each important for me to read as I realize again how blessed I am with the people in my life and in how I can share the unique giftedness and person that I am in those relationships.  Affirmation is a powerful thing…they change a mind, they shape a heart, they bring the gift of optomism, the position a person to be able to self-appreciate which in and of itself is a life transforming reality.  Affirmations can reprogram a heart that has been bombarded in a negative word with self-defeating and crushing criticism.  One devotional I read lately stated it this way:

During a recent study, 200,000 employees were interviewed to discover the missing ingredient in their productivity. The study concluded that appreciation and affirmation topped the list of what they wanted most from their superiors. This research implies that receiving affirmation is a basic human need.  The apostle Paul seemed to realize this basic need in the Corinthian believers, so before he peppered them with firm words of discipline, he showered them with affirmation. As their spiritual leader, Paul began his letter with thanksgiving to God for the grace being displayed in their lives.

I think it is high time to commit ourselves anew to the "ministry of affirmation."  Just think about how many negative, "you aren't a good person," "you are being short changed in life" type of messages that a person hears every single day in their lives…the only way to be able to counter that tide is to be swept up into the minstry of affirmation and to witness its power in the relationships of your life.  Pick up that ministry and use it liberally!  Affirm somebody today before you think of anything else that you could do in any given moment…bless others and do it right now!  

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