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A January Benediction

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It’s still school holidays here in Australia so I’m not kissing my kids goodbye to school every morning quite yet, but when I do I cup their cheeks, look deeply into their anticipation-filled eyes, and send them off with this little benediction:

Be brave, be kind, be curious, and always know that you are loved.

Every now and then they roll their eyes or say “Yes Mom! I knoooow Mom!” but more often than not they say it right along with me. I love seeing the twinkle that creeps into their eyes as they join in our whispered mantra. This is the audio reel I want looping through their childhood, and I suppose it’s the reel I want looping through my own heart and head as well.

I spent a quiet moment today in reflection, asking God how I might encourage you. That’s when this simple school morning benediction flashed into my head. I’ll say it again now—this time please read it a little more slowly, knowing it’s for you:

Be brave, be kind, be curious, and always know that you are loved.

Be brave. Is there something God’s leading you to do that frightens you a little? Would you like to reach out to a (potential) new friend? Have you been yearning to try to learn a new skill or join a new small group or book club? Have you been contemplating that shift of job or wondering about turning your hobby into a business or deliberating about a certain leap of faith? Perhaps you’ve been considering pursuing a new client or asking someone if they would become your mentor. Being brave doesn’t mean our fears disappear, but it means we choose to let courage and hope be our motivators instead. So go forth, be brave. Do it afraid if you have to.

Be kind. Perhaps it’s obvious that we should be kind to others, but let me ask you this: Are you in the practice of being kind to yourself? If not, why? Because you are too busy? (Does something need to be cut from your schedule?) Because you feel you need to ‘earn your keep’ and prove your worth? (Have you forgotten that God says you are pre-approved?) What small thing can you do this year to implement kindness to yourself? (For me, this means getting outside in the actual daylight at some point every day. Small walks—fresh air and moving my body with no pressure to perform or meet a goal other than to breathe deeply and notice the small treasures around me a little more.) How can you be more kind to you?

Be curious. When is the last time you were curious about your children? Your spouse? Your workmate? Your neighbor? When is the last time you made yourself the student of a person you love—intentionally seeking to discover something about them you didn’t know before? When is the last time you read an article outside of your usual modus operandi? (This week I read a short piece on a pastor-poet from the 1500’s. Why? Because I was curious!) It feels good to learn simply for the sake of learning. It especially feels good to learn about things and people you care about. So go ahead, let your curiosity spur you toward discovery. Give it some room to grow.

Always know that you are loved. You may not always feel loved. Heck, if you’re like me you don’t always feel loveable. We are quick to see our flaws and become discouraged about our weaknesses, but let us also be quick to pause and reflect on the fact that Love itself—God—has given everything of himself simply so we can know and recognize and receive his love. Do you need the reminder today that you are loved? You are loved. Deeply. Completely. Without condition or measure or end. Will you receive Love today?

Friends, as you start off 2018, may this be a year you carry this little benediction along with you into your normal, unglamorous-but-amazing, holy, magnificent life: Be brave, be kind, be curious, and always know that you are loved.

XO,
A

p.s. A version of this first appeared to our small family newsletter list—those we update on our family life and missions work. When I received so many emails back thanking me for taking the time, I thought perhaps I should share this little benediction more broadly. If you’d like to receive future notes from me you can sign up here. (This is my personal letter, LoveNotes, that’s tailored more for the womenfolk—not the family missions newsletter I referenced above.) LoveNotes are personal letters not published anywhere else online. I send them every few months, monthly at the most, and I almost always include some kind of free gift just because I want to.

 

Image credit: Josh Adamski

2 Comments

  • Reply Katharine 6 February 2018 at 12:15 am

    I love, love, love this! I’ve adapted it a bit to fit my son’s needs and said it to him this morning as we waited for the school bus. Thank you so much!

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