“In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.”
Matthew 5:16 NIV
Can you remember a time when you felt overlooked? Perhaps it was something small, like someone not remembering they had met you. Or maybe it was something bigger like not being invited to be part of a special event.
Either way, being overlooked hurts.
But contrast that—how do you feel when you’re acknowledged? Perhaps it was something small, like a stranger smiling at you as you passed each other on the street. Or maybe it was something bigger like receiving a card in the mail from a friend.
Being acknowledged feels amazing!
The past few years when I’ve hosted Restore: Soul Care for Moms, I surprised and so thankful for the number of people who took time to think of me and acknowledge this big event. Family and friends who couldn’t be there took a few minutes of their day to call me or send me a text saying that they were praying for the night and wished me good luck. It felt so nice!
I think our world would be much improved if we all took the time to acknowledge one another, from strangers we see in the grocery store to our nearest and dearest family and friends.
Here are a few ways we can be more intentional about acknowledging one another:
Put your phone down, make eye contact and say “Hello!”: When we moved into our first house, I had a neighbor pass me on the way to the mailbox. She completely avoided me, even though we were two feet away from each other. She didn’t make eye contact and didn’t respond when I said, “Hello.” It was her norm during the nearly four years we lived next to each other. It felt tense and awkward.
I love the saying, “She leaves a little sparkle wherever she goes.” I try to do that in real life by making eye contact, smiling, and saying hello with people everywhere I go. It’s minimal effort really but communicates to others that you acknowledge them.
Set reminders in your phone for birthdays, anniversaries, and special events: Don’t just text, call the person to wish them a happy birthday. Or better yet, pop a handwritten card in the mail. I try to stock up on cards and stamps to be able to send at a moment’s notice.
Acknowledge the hard things too: I have a dear friend who lost a baby girl two weeks after she was born. I try to remember the baby’s birthday and let my friend know I’m thinking of her on that day. Sometimes we don’t do this for fear of saying the wrong thing. One of the simplest things we can say is, “I’m thinking of you and I’m here for you.”
Keep your eyes open: Look for opportunities to help other people. One of my favorite things to do is help moms with little kids while I’m out and about because I remember those days. I hold doors open for moms with strollers or help with trays of food at a restaurant. It’s small but makes someone else’s life easier.
Say “Thank You!”: When someone extends us a kindness, let’s make make sure to thank them. You never know how much they needed the affirmation.
God wired us for connection. Although we’re all connected online and to our phones, it has minimized in-person connection. Let’s put down our phones more often. Let’s acknowledge each other and connect in more meaningful ways.
When has someone acknowledged you recently? How did it make you feel?