By Roxanne Packham, author of Inspired Design
Before we are inspired about how to show love to others, we must first ask why?
Quite simply it is because in Romans 12:10 &13 we are told to be devoted to one another in brotherly love, to honor one another above ourselves. We are also told to share with God’s people who are in need and to Practice Hospitality. Notice the vocabulary: practice, not perfect.
In America, as a culture and as individuals, we are suffering in part because popular media gears everything to perfection. We are bombarded with messages that if we aren’t the very best at something, we just shouldn’t bother. We compare ourselves to others, rather than knowing our worth in God’s eyes.
I suffer from insecurity and wonder if I can be creative enough to inspire. Are my tips original? Are the photographs beautiful enough? Are my suggestions too simple for some, but too fancy for another? The problem: my thoughts revolve completely around me. My creativity, my skills, my ability. This is not about me but about God’s purpose for me. I suddenly realize the bigger picture; I can’t do it, but I can through Christ who strengthens me.
This dance in my mind between my preciousness in His sight and the enemy’s interjections has slowed me down at times, but God showed me this dance is the very reason for us to love others; to encourage each other. Because we are human we suffer from doubt, insecurity, and rejection of one sort or another. We are God’s tool to encourage others. God uses us as His hands to love others, but make no mistake it is His power, His grace and the Holy Spirit that do the real work, not ours.
God’s path of creativity in me began with a family history of silversmithing eight generations back, a degree from USC, design school in Paris, then design school in Los Angeles. Call them spiritual or otherwise, but they were the gifts God saw fit to give to me. Who am I to argue with my Creator? They are unique and I celebrate them. What are your magnificent and unique gifts that you can use to inspire others?
I do not want the gifts received as a blessing from God to “turn into spiritual dry rot,” as Ann Voscamp suggests in her book One Thousand Gifts, as the manna did when it was hoarded in Exodus 16:20. I want to use my blessings.
Inadequacies and all, imperfections and all: I want to inspire others to Practice Hospitality and to LOVE others.
Creative Ways to Encourage Others on Valentine’s Day
A handwritten note with quotes, scriptures and words of encouragement is a wonderful thing to find in the mailbox.
Leave a sticky note on your child/husband’s pillow or be bold and write your note on the bathroom mirror or car window in red lipstick saying “I love you”.
Even an email just to say “thank you for your hard work, you bless me” can make a person’s day. A cute poem, scripture or old photograph will remind them they are remembered.
If someone has lost a loved one, kind words of some way that loved one inspired you to do something better will let them know that their loved one’s legacy is living on.
AN INVITATION, TIME
Take some time out of your days to meet someone for coffee, lunch, a long walk, or even just leave a phone message with a sweet sentiment. If you have more time, take a picnic basket to their home. Set up a lunch, tea or coffee, with all your tea cups and a candle. It is a lovely surprise! Just rinse when you finish and pack back up so they don’t even have to do dishes. They will have a lovely memory of a special time.
Hang flowers on the front door handle, leave a pretty tiny package in the mailbox with a beautiful red bow, or cookies delivered to the front door. Create a breakfast plate for your child that says you are special . This is especially significant if your child has struggled with something recently.
A BEAUTIFUL DINNER
Of course this takes more time, but try for a beautiful table setting complete with candles, fresh greens or flowers and a lovely menu either handwritten or printed out on your computer. (Visit Roxanne’s Pinterest account, via the Inspired Design blog, for darling printouts, including gift tags, and much more.) Don’t concentrate on the gourmet or complicated quality of the meal: remember it is about relationship and encouragement!
A beautiful table for Valentine’s simply consists of reds, pinks and perhaps some purple. (Although it could be beautiful in all white too.) Of course, it has to have some hearts and some colorful candles. Leave kind words of some sort on each place setting. Every Valentine’s table should have its share of sparkle, of course!
Visit Roxanne Packham’s blog at www.InspiredDesignPublications.blogspot.com for more pictures and Inspired Design ideas for Valentine’s Day.