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People are always asking me if I have lost weight. I used to take it as a compliment, but I am having second thoughts. This has been going on for years, after all, and my weight really hasn’t changed much in that time. I am beginning to think that I just leave a chubby impression on people. Maybe that’s why they are always surprised when they see me. As vain as the next person, I don’t know how I feel about that… On the topic of compliments, a dear friend recently told me that she was trying to be more intentional about encouraging other believers. “Every time I spend time with people, I make a point of trying to see them as a container that needs to be filled,” she explained. “I think about how God could use me to help fill them up. Then I pour as much encouragement into them as I can in the time that I have.” I was challenged and more than a little convicted by her words and began to wonder why I haven’t been more intentional in my encouragement of others. It’s not that I never give compliments. I do. It’s just that I tend to compliment people more when their actions or words stand out to me as being extraordinary. I guess that means that the words and actions of some people don’t seem as extraordinary to me because they are the norm for those people, as per my observation anyway. In a way, my silence, up until now, in response to the godly actions of others has been a sort of compliment. Of course, this is a very pious and skewed way of thinking, so I am trying to correct it by speaking words of affirmation every time I think them instead of assuming that people know that I admire them or see God at work in their lives. My new perspective does have me wondering, though, about the compliments that I get from time to time about the way I live my own life. Are they spoken because my godly actions are extraordinary for me or because the people who offer them are simply better than I am at encouraging others? I am hoping the second is true. Just as I don’t like the idea of leaving a chubby impression on people, I would hate to think that my obedience to Christ would strike anyone as being unusual for me, wouldn’t you?

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