I Appreciate You.
The words hung in the air as tears streamed down my face in the warm greenhouse. I was having an especially rough morning, when nothing I did met the unreal expectation of another, and I finally got some encouragement that I needed.
"I appreciate you, Angie", said Liz, my new co worker and friend. As I listened to her words in disbelief, I was in awe of her courage to even say such a thing to me that was so powerful. No one ever talks to me like that. Not ever. I am accustomed to criticism, cynical remarks, and snide comments.
I was an older college student- old enough to be most of the other students mom. I was a new employee to this company- had all the technical knowledge- none of the experience. I was a mom of 4, grandmother and wife. I had more life experience than I cared to share with new people. And the second I was spoken to like I was unworthy, all my fears and insecurity came rushing back. Her words changed that. They made me feel as if God had a plan for me, and it wasn't here.
The only reason I lasted the weeks I did in the job was because of those few words. They were full of sincerity, compassion and love. Being misunderstood is one thing- being disliked and misunderstood- whoa. It was supposed to be a fresh start- little did I know it was going to blead to another new start. A sense of comfort came over me every time I heard her say it- even if it wasn't to me. I appreciate you. So its ok if you don't live up to the unreal expectation of every single thing that life throws at you. Jesus doesn't expect perfection- he expects obedience. When He speaks, we are to listen.
Do I think Liz was channeling Jesus? I'm not that crazy. But I do think it was a clear message to me that I was ok, that I was in the midst of a spiritual battle that only trusting in Him could fix, and that He would provide a way for me, regardless if I chose the incorrect path.
I haven't spoken to her in a long time- a mistake I made when I left. I consider her a seasonal friend- a person God chose to place in my path at the brink of my desperation. I had some great spiritual conversations with her, but the one thing that sticks with me is her ability to say, "I appreciate you". Not what you have done, but you. I often wonder if I could ever have the courage to be an encourager like that in the midst of an awful situation. And I often Thank God for Liz, my encourager who has no idea how much she impacts my life everyday with her kind intentional words.
Choosing intentional words carefully today.