This Christmas was simultaneously/equally joy-filled and pain-filled. Challenging relationships and the reality of strained interpersonal family dynamics during the holidays can often hit us hard when the dream is for something far richer to be shared.

Some circumstances (I’d rather refrain from explaining) leading up to Christmas Day didn’t quite go as we’d hoped or desired. What we envisioned for our time together with loved ones didn’t at all pan out as we had anticipated. What we encountered instead left us feeling caught off guard, lonely, deeply saddened, angry, and incredibly discouraged.

listen more speak less | meg marie wallace | ask questions to get to know someone before speaking words of discouragement

But in the aftermath of this holiday season, as we have continued to pray, process and talk together, there is a growing prompting to sweeten more toward those we may not understand. We are feeling our hearts stretch to increase our compassion. What we experienced gave us a fresh perspective and renewed encouragement to uplift more and critique less.

This gives us a heart to do far more listening and a lot less talking in the lives of others.

My friend Ruth Simmons from Gracelaced wrote it perfectly in one of her Instagram posts a few weeks ago.

“Behind every female entrepreneur, dream-chaser, writer, momma, builder, ministry servant, or creative, is a woman who wrestles with:

…being known and misunderstood,
…cheered on and torn down,
…brave and scared to death,
…risk-taking and cautious,
…confident and insecure,
…full of hustle and full of heartache.”

If we took the time to reach out instead of remain far off…

if we sought to genuinely know each other’s behind-the-scene stories instead of assume we know it all…

if we shared the same amount of compassion with others that we ourselves long to receive…

if we chose to ask more questions in order to open our hearts a little bit wider instead of collect information to share our opinions a little louder….

if we’d choose to relate with a spirit of love with the intent to serve others instead of spirit of condemnation with the intent to change others…

if we’d refrain our mouths from speaking discouragement that we might instead use those mouths to cheer one another on…

our perspectives might just be radically altered.

And we might just find ourselves extending more grace, critiquing a whole lot less and praying a whole lot more.

That woman (that man, that couple, that person) might just be doing the best she can. And a word of grace might make all the difference in the world to her weary heart.

Everyone’s going through something.

Will you take the time to find out what is underneath the surface? Will you offer to help carry the weight to make her load a little lighter?

Who can you encourage today? Who can you speak life, truth, beauty or grace to?

Whose day can you make just a little bit brighter?

Look up sweet friends. There are likely people all around you that need to be listened to, loved and spurred on.

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Yes. Thank you for this.

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