I remember when I used to chase success. Success in what I accomplished, wanting to look the part. It was because I felt like I had a standard to hold up to because everyone always knew me a certain way.
The past few years has been a journey breaking down my ego and walls that have kept me there. A vulnerable place. At the end of the day, success looks different to me now. Yes, I will always be building and creating purposeful projects with others because it’s what I love, and it’s because it’s about people. I believe in servant leadership. And most of what that is, is leading with love. I believe I’ll always be a student of love. I don’t say this to say I have it all figured out. What I want to be remembered for is how I love people. Even when it’s hard. Even when it hurts. Even if I’m tired. Even if it makes no sense. Through the laughter and tears. Even if I have to say no sometimes. My heart breaks for what breaks Gods heart and shines bright for who people truly are.
These are things I have been thinking about love. More on these thoughts in the blog.
1. Are you a great listener?
I was recently talking with one of my brothers about traits we value in our relationships, one of them is being a great listener because when you actively listen, you are truly there to understand the other person. To be heard, seen and understood is something that we all desire.
2. Do you serve people?
I really believe that our purpose is to find our gift and then give it away. YOU are a gift. If you have ever learned something, if you have experienced something, share it with someone. If someone is in need of love, resources, a listening ear, DO THAT. Service is the greatest gift we can give someone.
3. Are you a big-hearted forgiver?
Sheesh...this can be hard, right? If we've been hurt it can be easy to hold onto whatever that hurt may be. The real love is being able to forgive from the heart. To see the other person as a divine creation of God who has been hurt also, you don't know what could have been going on in their heart. Does it mean that what happened to you is OK? No, not always, yet forgiving the person is a powerful love.
4. Do you pray frequently and fervently for people?
Many times we can't fix problems, we don't have control over situations, we have no idea what to do or say. Many times, the best thing we can do is pray. What is done is private is always working behind the scenes on behalf of whoever the prayer is for. Sometimes I feel like I am wasting time by praying, because I will pray for hours, yet I realize that there holds SO much power and trust in this act of love.
5. Do you accept people who are different?
There are people of all races, religions, backgrounds, sizes, beliefs, yet we are all connected. We are all loved, seen and created by the same God that loves us more than we could ever fathom. To love is to love all people. It doesn't matter what you wear, what you do, where you work, to see people for who they are, their beauty and their mess. Acceptance is a beautiful act of love.
6. Do you verbalize your love?
Not everyone has words of affirmation as their top love language. Guess what, that doesn't matter. Words are powerful, they either bring life or they bring death. When you speak and share your love or appreciation for someone, you are bringing life to them. This brings fuel for others to believe in themselves or to keep going.
7. Do you touch people to express love?
I'm not naturally a physical touch person as my top love language yet I have been learning how important it is to connect with someone in a pure, intimate way. A touch on the shoulder can show that you care. Holding someones hand can remind you that you are in it together. I think about Jesus and how he touched a leper, which exploded his heart with compassion and also brought healing to the leper. Never underestimate what a gentle touch can do.
8. Are you an encourager?
When you speak to someones potential it builds confidence they may not have even known they needed. Lovers are encouragers. Affirming people is a gift. If you see something nice or beautiful in someone, take the time to encourage them.
9. Do you consistently speak well of people?
Remember, words are powerful. What are you bringing into the world? When you speak of others it will show where your heart is. Lets be people who love well by speaking the best of others. Also, watch how others speak, if they are constantly talking negatively about others, how does that make you feel? It takes self control to hold your tongue about the negatives of others. Bring life to others!
10. Do you weep with those who weep, and rejoice with those who rejoice?
Empathy is one of the most beautiful traits you can have. To be in someone else's shoes, to experience their pain, and to feel their joys. There is a time for everything. When someones heart is broken, be there to comfort, care, listen, and or cry with them. When someone has success, be there to celebrate them however you want! Maybe a dance party, out to dinner, whatever a celebration means. To love is to BE with in any and all ways the other person needs.
I hope you know how loved and worthy you are. And that you’re not just inspired and do nothing yet that you’re empowered to do something. Say yes anyway.
What are your thoughts about leading with love?
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