Last week I was sitting on a plane to Albuquerque with my youngest son next to me, my husband and oldest sitting a few rows away on the crowded 737. We were on our way to Oregon where we met with our west coast family, several of whom drove up the coast from California for our long awaited family trip. I had my head buried in a book when I heard the Lord speak:
That woman sitting next to you, she is in a dry season. But she is capable of much love. When she realizes My love for her, she will no longer be dry, but have pools of water that will cause her to bloom, beautiful and radiant. It will be spilling over for those around her, she will have so much love to give she won’t be able to contain it.
I looked over, and she was wearing a blouse covered with blooming flowers (I took that as confirmation). So I sat there. And I wrestled with giving this woman a word of encouragement. Why?
Why is it hard to step out and share the hope and love Christ has given me?
All I was supposed to do was tell her God loves her, tell her that He will see her through this dry season of her life. But I was afraid of looking foolish. Why do I even care? I honestly wish I didn’t. I want to learn to not care. I have had fleeting moments of boldness before, but those moments are the exception, not the rule.
I had a friend years ago who used to talk through her worst-case scenarios with the intent of facing her fears. (It’s amazing how many of our fears are imagined.) I played this game in my head while sitting in my cramped airplane seat.
Worst case: this woman is hostile, angry, doesn’t appreciate or listen to what I have to say. I’ll never see this woman again. I may have to endure a few awkward minutes as we finish our flight together, and then it would be over. Okay, doable.
And what about best-case scenario? What would that look like? Best case: what I say to her would make a difference, it would encourage her and help her to meet Jesus.
So the question is: Am I willing to risk looking foolish in order for this best-case scenario to be a possibility?
I decided yes. After a few minutes of small talk I told this woman what the Lord had put on my heart. Did I do it perfectly? No. Do I wish I had been more eloquent, less nervous? Absolutely. Did she yell at me and tell me how stupid I was for saying that to her? Not at all. She was kind, and thanked me for the encouragement.
With that behind me (pretty sure I breathed a loud sigh of relief) I thought: Why do I look for acceptance from people I don’t even know? How many times has this “fear of man” kept me from doing something God wanted me to do? (Galatians 1:10)
Armed with the love that Christ has given us, small acts of obedience have the potential to make a big difference. Sometimes I overthink it or believe I can’t possibly make an impact, but I feel like the Lord is challenging me lately to listen for His direction, act, and leave the outcome to Him. He promises to work through our weaknesses (2 Corinthians 12:9).
Have you ever had an experience where you stepped out of your comfort zone to share an encouraging word with someone? What was the result? Share in the comments, I’d love to hear!