Give the Best Gift to Everyone You Meet

giftThe office (ok, it’s my office, but it sounds so much better to not claim it at this point) looks like a tornado whipped through it. The piles of books call from the middle of the room, distracting me as I write.

The bookcase leans haphazardly (it’s a backless number and doesn’t stand on its own) right in the pathway between my chair and the doorway. When someone knocks at the front door, I launch from my chair and quickly shut the mess away before answering.

Despite reading The Nester’s book last fall, I have only just mustered the courage to do something about the house. This morning, I spent two hours carefully hanging photographs in the living room. After I mowed the lawn, I decided to tackle the office.

Bad idea. I get distracted easily when I’m tired—and I’ve had a lot of late nights and early mornings this week. Whilst sorting through stuff, I discovered a Thank You card that a coworker had written to us after coming over to our house for an impromptu meal after church one week.

Her beautiful words blessed me all over again—not because she thanked us for dinner, but because she took the time to thank us for the work we do at the school. I love talking to this sweet lady, because she always has an appreciative word of encouragement and hug for me.

And then it hit me. How often to I great people with an encouraging word of affirmation and a hug? It seems like more often than not my words come out messy and disorganized—just like my office.

Words cost nothing, but carefully selected words can speak life into another person. I want to give each person that I interact with the gift of kind, helpful words. As I bring order to the office, I’ll remember that well-placed words—like well-placed cushions or photos—bring life and joy into a room without screaming for attention.

The greatest gift we can give others is the knowledge that we value them and appreciate them. Click To Tweet

How about you? Do you struggle sometimes to make your words a gift?

Anita currently teaches English to 7th-12th graders. She describes herself as a 'recovering cancer caregiver' who gives thanks daily that her husband has been cancer-free for ten years.

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  • Oh Anita, I’ll have to remember to tweet you a photo of my desk at work tomorrow! It’s crazy. I mean, I have random plant and insect samples on it currently….so your office doesn’t sound too bad!! 🙂

    But great words about remembering to encourage those around us! Because they certainly do make a HUGE difference!!
    Jen Daugherty recently posted…The Small Gifts {Five Minute Friday}My Profile

  • My office stuff which happens to be in my bedroom is always in a constant state of organized chaos that only I can navigate so I totally relate to this!! You are absolutely right though, I need to pick and choose to use words that encourage and inspire love, and when words aren’t right, a warm hug a piece of scripture, a note card… Yes… God’s presence needs to surround my everything and I need to not only allow it, but embrace it!!
    Marisa recently posted…In the Midst of a Black WorldMy Profile

    • We should start a messy office support group! I love that you included warm hugs and cards of encouragement in the lineup of ways to speak life into others. Sometimes, spoken words aren’t the best solution.
      Anita Ojeda recently posted…What Happens When You Believe in TeamworkMy Profile

  • Words are all I have now, and I’ve come to learn, fortunately not too late, that it’s both my duty and my desire to make of them the best gift I can.

    Good post!
    Andrew Budek-Schmeisser recently posted…Your Dying Spouse 14 – Gift of Days (Five Minute Friday)My Profile

  • My OCD rises at the description of your office. I would happily come clean and organize for you. 🙂

    Words matter. They matter so much. I will be on the lookout for ways I can encourage others through my words. Thanks for the reminder!
    Marie recently posted…Five Minute Friday: GiftMy Profile

  • Oh my, Anita. What a great post. And yes, do I struggle to make my words a gift? Especially with my boys after a trying day. And toward those who have hurt me. I just don’t speak at all then. But sometimes, the silence can speak as loudly as words. And it’s not a gift.

    Thank you for the reminder that our words can be a gift. As I head into a summer where I’ll have many opportunities to choose to use my words as gifts, I’m going to be thinking on this post. And Ephesians 4:29, one of my favorite verses.
    Jeanne Takenaka recently posted…Gift: Hidden GiftsMy Profile

    • I’m so sorry it’s been such a rough time for you Jeanne–parenting pre-teens is such a confusing time, for sure! Don’t ever forget the power of the mighty do over! I had to do that often with my girls when they were that age. At first they thought it was corny, but then they caught on and both really enjoyed it. I think I wrote a post about it for a five-minute Friday about a year ago…
      Anita Ojeda recently posted…If Mockingbirds Sing in the Darkest Hours, So Can IMy Profile

  • great post anita:) great reminder of something i wrote about not long ago and haven’t acted on yet. i need to get moving! thanks martha
    martha brady recently posted…THE GIFT WE TAKE FOR GRANTED…My Profile

  • “Words cost nothing, but carefully selected words can speak life into another person.” Amen, sister. Our words can speak life or the can speak pain. The choice is ours to make in the words we choose to speak. May all our words be a gift.
    Holly Barrett recently posted…GiftMy Profile

  • Wow, good for you in organizing your office! You will feel so much better when it’s all done and how you like it! Good luck with all that and you should post pics when you’re all done! Happy Friday friend!
    Rachel Quigley recently posted…Give Yourself a Gift ~ Five Minute FridayMy Profile

    • I know I’ll feel better :). My oldest daughter always amazes me because she can clean and organize and decorate so decisively. It took me three years to hang a few photos. Her house looks magazine-perfect within a week of moving in. Packing, sorting, organizing–those mentally exhaust me!
      Anita Ojeda recently posted…What Happens When You Believe in TeamworkMy Profile

  • I agree, one of the greatest gifts we can give others is an ear to listen and a word to encourage. I am reading Nester’s book now – I’m loving it! Love and prayers for both you and Pedro.
    Susan Shipe recently posted…five minute friday: giftMy Profile

  • Anita, I love how you mention that words don’t cost us anything. So often I think we get so wrapped up in ourselves and our own schedules that we don’t make the time to be an encouragement to someone else. But I know those few moments truly aren’t costing a thing. The return on the investment is more than time taken to provide that encouragement in the first place. Tried to leave you a comment last night and it kept telling me your server was down – so I’m glad I’m able to revisit today. Beautiful words, friend!
    Jennifer Frisbie recently posted…Five Minute Friday: GiftMy Profile

  • Why do I forget these truths? Words mean so much. I mean, I am writer, I know this! Thank you for speaking truth so beautifully.

    I love organization and when things are cluttered, I feel all out of sorts (as I sit with my desk cluttered 🙂 ) May your office become a place of refuge. Blessings friend!
    Carmen Horne-carmenhorne.com recently posted…Our Story – Our GiftMy Profile

  • Anita,
    This is so true….and our words can give life to a tired soul …Great post 🙂
    Dolly@Soulstops recently posted…Grace to trust you will be held – 6My Profile

  • You hung the pictures! I can’t wait to see them. And your organized office. And you, who are always a gift to me!
    Laura recently posted…Five Tips On Getting Things DoneMy Profile

  • Donne

    I’m with you, Anita. I’m hoping that when Mom gets up here next week she and Vickie can come over and help me hang pictures and decorate. I figure it’s about time since we’ve been here nearly a year now. 😉

  • Tara

    Beautiful post! And funny thing is I love to clean. Maybe I should come visit and help you clean.