Your mission, should you decide to accept it, is to select and send a card of encouragement to one person who is not expecting it.
Welcome to week two of a six week series I am calling Mission: Encouragement!
I am going to offer up some suggestions or missions to help us be more encouraging in our daily lives. Each week I will give one practical challenge that you can choose to partake in. My hope is that by accepting and completing these missions we can foster new joy in the world around us.
Each mission will be simple when it comes to planning, execution and the supplies needed. A little goes a long way.
In case you are just joining us, here is the mission from the previous week:
For those of you who participated in week one, I hope that your efforts were frosted with fun and sprinkled with joy.
This week’s challenge: send one card to 1 person who is not expecting it.
One Person: Each week our challenge is to focus our encouragement efforts on just one person. If you would like to repeat the process and go bigger than that, awesome! If you can pour a bit of quality encouragement into one life this week, our world will be a brighter place.
Unexpected: The goal is to send a card to someone who is not expecting it. Some people use the phrase “for no reason at all”, but I sure hope that is not us. I hope our reason is to offer encouragement, love and joy to our recipient. While honoring people with cards for holidays, birthdays and anniversaries is encouraging, we are attempting to add an element of delight by going for the surprise factor.
How do you pick this person? The best place to begin is with the people you interact with in life. Who is in your family? Who do you work with, volunteer with, or serve with? Pull out your phone again and go through your contact list. Who is going through a challenging time? Who could use a 5 minute break from the treadmill of life’s daily responsibilities? Who could just use a good smile?
Picking Out a Card
I am a card person, I love sending cards. I can get lost in card aisles and on the Dayspring website looking through cards and thinking of people I can send them to. The combination of pictures, artwork and words just moves me.
But, I may be the outlier more than the norm. Take my precious husband, not a card person. To purchase a card is one of the hardest, most painful things he has to do in life. Because it is so tough for him, he avoids it like the plague.
I do not know what end of the spectrum you are on or if you are somewhere in the middle, but whatever the case, you can do this. Hallmark, Dayspring and Leaning Tree are incredible card companies who have done a lot of the hard work for you. You just get to admire their work and pass it on.
Matching Card to Recipient
Before you even walk down a card aisle, think through a couple of questions. It will save you some time and possibly some stress. Is your recipient short on words or likes to soak in novels? There are cards for both. Would they like funny or serious? Do you want a card richly embellished or plain & simple?
Remember, you are just trying to add a bit of joy to their day and hopefully your own. Your recipient is not even expecting this, which means there is no predetermined expectation for you to align to. Just breathe and try to have some fun.
What to Write Inside:
This is completely up to you. Some people may fill their entire card with words. For some the card may say the right words and they will just sign their name. Others may opt to go anonymous and not even sign it.
If you are looking for some suggestions, here you go:
- People like to be noticed. We appreciate others acknowledging the energy, effort and expense that we have poured out. What has this person been pouring themselves into? How can you recognize that?
- People enjoy being told that they are valued. We like to be told we are loved, that we are missed, and that we are cared about. How can you value your recipient? What do you appreciate about them?
- It is encouraging to be reminded. When we are in the middle of something stressful it uplifts us to be reminded of our gifts & talents, to be reminded of God’s strength, to be reminded that we are not alone. Now stress comes from lots of places, it does not have to be a problem to produce stress. Think of new jobs, new houses, weddings, graduations, and babies. There is a lot of joy in those things, but a lot of stress too.
Real Life Examples:
My husband, let’s call him a very punny person, is all about simple jokes and the play on words. So when I buy him cards they are silly and filled with puns. Like a Valentine’s Day card with the picture of two otters floating together that reads “I’m glad you are my significant otter.”
My friend, Anita, is amazing. All of the cards that she sends to me are hand crafted original works of creativity. If I remember correctly, much of it is done as a partnership with her sister who does wondrous things with paper. Last summer she sent me one shaped like a Twin Popsicle, it even had the sticks on it.
Me, I purchase other peoples works of art in the card aisle. I particularly like to shop at Hobby Lobby or at a little local store called Treasured Times for my cards. Although, I have to admit that Dollar Tree works a pretty big bang for your buck when it comes to cards and I frequently go there too.
A Card Gives Pause to the Day
When I am sorting through the mail, sifting through advertisements and bulk mailers and bills to come upon a fun card, I take a moment to pause. Or if I arrive to my desk or find a card in my bag someone left for me, it can change the course of my entire day.
We are not attempting to change the course of history for all humanity. We are just trying to sprinkle someone’s day with joy and bring them a bit of encouragement.
Beloved Lord, thank You so much for this day and the opportunity to encourage others. Thank You for all of the moments that You give to us that cause us to pause in the midst of stress and the busyness of life. Lord, please help us to take the time to purposefully reach out and pour into the life of another this week. Help us to squeeze time in our schedules to purchase, write, mail and deliver our cards. As we attempt to refresh others, may we find ourselves refreshed. In the refreshing name of Jesus, amen.