Do you ever have a moment where you want to reach out to someone, to give them a compliment or a bit of encouragement, but you let the moment pass? I so often find myself doing this and I have tried over time, especially in college, to reach out to people more and seize the moment.
I am a person that does not know how to accept compliments well and I am hesitant to give them, especially when I do not know the person. I’m afraid it won’t come across well. For instance, I am a self-proclaimed claw machine pro and usually win little stuffed animals when I make the attempt, and once I won this big pink bear. A little girl walked by with her mom and wanted to try to win something too and her mom said ‘no’ and that it was a waste of money. I really wanted to give her the bear, but I hesitated and was afraid to overstep my bounds and the opportunity passed. Every time I looked at the bear I thought of that little girl. That little act of kindness and step out of my comfort zone would have been so easy for me but made a big deal for that little girl, and maybe even her mom too.
Or more recently, a cantor at mass lost her place in a song earlier this semester. She had such a beautiful voice and it was obvious that she had practiced and was familiar with the music, her nerves might just have gotten the best of her. During the entire mass, I thought to myself how I was going to go up to her after mass and tell her what a great job she did and how she had a beautiful voice. But as the end drew near, I found myself lingering but giving in after all to my hesitations. I always regret these times because I know that it would be nice for that person to know that she did do a great job. That people noticed what she did well over the one small mistake. That little bit of encouragement would have meant a lot to her, but instead, again, I let the opportunity pass me by.
As I’m getting older, and seeing things from a more experienced and (hopefully) more mature perspective, I’ve realized how easy it is to step out of my little comfort zone. To reach out to those in need, even when the need is just a teddy bear or few words of encouragement. In my classes and groups on campus I’ve tried to reach out to people more. I’ve given praise, showed agreement, or even just smiled and nodded when they needed it. I try to include others when I can tell they can’t find their moment to jump in. Validating and encouraging others is something that is, in essence, so easy to do but can mean so much and make a difference to the other person.
God encourages us and helps us when we need it. Sometimes I have to just smile and appreciate the moment when I know something worked out because God made it happen that way for me and supported me when I needed it. God wants us to help others in need, even when that need may be small. We can do so much to spread this to others in His name. So I charge you, take a risk. Reach out to that person who calls to you, who you see in need of a smile, encouragement, or inspiration. Step out of your comfort zone, take a risk, don’t let the moment pass.
Go and be God’s support for someone else,