Are You a Place Maker?

 

Encouragement for your journey. 9 ways we can become a place maker and welcome more people into our lives. Encouragement for your journey. 9 ways we can become a place maker and welcome more people into our lives. Encouragement for your journey. 9 ways we can become a place maker and welcome more people into our lives. Encouragement for your journey. 9 ways we can become a place maker and welcome more people into our lives. Encouragement for your journey. 9 ways we can become a place maker and welcome more people into our lives. We are attracted to certain people. And not because of their clothes or appearance, but because of their attitude, their manner, and the way they treat us.

Maybe they have a smile for us. Or a simple hello. Maybe they ask how we are doing and really mean it and take time to listen to our problems if we want to mention something besides what we think of our day or the weather.

Maybe they say hi to our children. Or comment on our pets. Maybe they remember our last conversation and then ask a follow-up question.

 

Meet Miss Mabel, a place maker. 

 

There is an old lady, Miss Mabel, who is about 94 and gets around with two walking sticks. She is hunched over and so petite she doesn’t even come up to my shoulder. You think she is carefully watching the ground, but then she looks up and sees you and she breaks into a smile that highlights all her wrinkles into beauty lines. She just radiates. And then she says hi. And good to see you, love.

You can’t leave her presence without smiling back and feeling like you are needed in this world. You leave feeling definitely more important than you first thought when you work up this morning, looked into the mirror, and wondered if you would ever look decent enough not to scare everyone you saw today.

Miss Mabel is a “place maker.” She makes you feel like you have a place in this world. Like you are necessary. Just by her smiling at you and gushing over you and telling you how pleased she is to see you.

 

Definition of a place maker. They value others.

 

Place makers are not only little old women. They come in all sizes and shapes. Personalities and attitudes. They can be old and young.

But the one think place makers have in common is that they welcome everyone into their circle. Their life. At their table. No matter their opinions, background, socioeconomic status, or the current mess they are struggling with.

Place makers value people. And treat all people as if they have value.

Jesus was a place maker. He made room at his table for all the sick, dejected, worried, un-popular people. No need to have it all together to get a little of his attention. Certain people were not preferred over other people.

We are called to be place makers. Treating others with dignity, honor, and love. Not considering our self-better than others. Or placing people on rungs of a ladder and then treating them accordingly.

We don’t need vibrant personalities, a ready wit, always know what to say or do, or be a people person to be a place maker. We can all be place makers in our own way. With the gifts and life and personality God has already blessed us with.

Encouragement for your journey. 9 ways we can become a place maker and welcome more people into our lives.

An example of a place maker. 

 

My dad was a quiet, humble, shy, and unassuming man. He had a ready smile when necessary, but he was also introspective. And yet he was a place maker and taught me about being a place maker.

Most every day he would leave his small apartment and walk a few miles around town. When he came upon another walker he would say hi. Someone working in their yard elicited a wave. No matter the part of town. Sometimes he would stop and shoot the breeze. Mostly he listened and asked questions. Usually he managed to encourage the person in some small way. And then when he was saying goodbye, he always worked in a thank you (which often surprised the person).

The thank you often had something to do with the conversation. Maybe the person said they were a teacher, then dad would thank them for teaching all the kids that passed through their room. Maybe they revealed how they used to be on drugs, then dad would thank them for getting off and straightening out their life. Or maybe the person said their neighbor was a bother and always waking them up at night. Then dad would thank them for being patient with their neighbor. Sometimes he just thanked them for talking with him.

“Everyone wants to be thanked and rarely are,” he told me one day when I asked him why he thanked everyone.

He rarely talked much about himself. Instead he would listen and ask the person questions. He told me once, “I can’t help others much, but everyone needs someone to listen to them, and that is something I can do. I listen, and people talk.”

All of us can be place makers. And we can improve our skills as a place maker.

Encouragement for your journey. 9 ways we can become a place maker and welcome more people into our lives. Next time you are nervous and don’t know what to say to the person beside you or how to break the awkward silence that is making your ears ring . . .

Here are a few suggestions on how to value someone:

 

1. Think about the other person, instead of yourself. When we focus on the other person, we begin to lose our shyness, quit worrying about the clothes we are wearing, and stop thinking about how the paint is peeling on the ceiling of our house. Focusing on them makes them feel welcome, accepted, and valuable.

2. Quit thinking you have nothing to offer. We don’t need to have the gift of entertaining or be a people person to make people feel like they have a place with us. Each of us in our own ways can listen to someone. Encourage someone. Compliment someone. Thank someone. Provide hope to someone. Your unique personality and traits can bless others in ways you can’t even imagine.

3. Find the similarities you share and connect over them. Maybe you grew up in the same town. Like baseball. Are both tired of winter. Raise lamas. Think green is the new neutral. Like Okra as your favorite vegetable. Find something to agree on. Connecting with someone else makes people feel good about themselves.

4. Try and learn something from them. Make it a game to learn something new from your interaction with them. Maybe they know the secret to plowing a straight row. How to harvest seeds from tomatoes. The secret to crispy fried chicken.

5. Be brave. Take a chance. Start the conversation. Don’t know what to say? Ask questions. Most everyone likes to talk about their interests and themselves.

6. Put yourself in their place. Would they like to sit? Have a drink of water? Some food. A hug.

7. It doesn’t take a lot of time. Little things can make someone’s day. A smile. A cheerful comment. Just recognizing someone can change their day.

8. Reserve judgement. Turn that little voice off. Quit sizing them up and trying to place them in a box. No comparing. Just enjoy the interaction.

9. Ask God to show you opportunities for being a place maker. Don’t know where to start? Ask for help. Learn from the best place maker who makes room for all of us no matter our mess or day.

We can all learn to be better place makers. Welcome more people into our lives. Seat more people at our table.

Try with one person. Then another.

Don’t let a little unfriendliness detour you.

Opposition and setbacks are part of life.

Give them grace (maybe they were having a bad day; a horrible year).

Give yourself grace and don’t take it personally.

Keep inviting and setting a place for others.

Then when your table is full. Pull out another table.

Encouragement for your journey. 9 ways we can become a place maker and welcome more people into our lives.  Thanks for stopping by. Keep remembering what’s important.

Theresa

 


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Join the discussion: Do you know a place maker? What qualities do they have?

Encouragement for your journey. 9 ways we can become a place maker and welcome more people into our lives. May link up at Jennifer Dukes Lee (#tellhisstory);  Holley Gerth (#coffeeforyourheart), Lori Schumaker (#Moments of Hope), Crystal Storms (#HeartEncouragement), Arabah Joy (#Grace & Truth).

Encouragement for your journey. 9 ways we can become a place maker and welcome more people into our lives.

26 Replies to “Are You a Place Maker?”

  1. Hi Theresa,
    Thanks so much for visiting my blog today — so glad to meet you! I love the thoughts you shared about taking notice of people and relating with them on a deeper level. This is hard to do these days as we all bury our noses in our phones, so busy with online emails, games and texts! Loved your photos here too! 🙂

    • Our electronic gadgets do add a new challenge to getting to know people. I think sometimes we just hide behind them to look like we are busy or have people wanting to communicate with us. Also real interaction takes work and sometimes we just don’t want to put forth the effort. I had one person tell me she pretends to talk on the phone when she is in public sometimes so it looks like she has friends. Sad. We all could use a little more real face to face interaction.

  2. This is an absolutely beautiful blog! Dead on, helpful, and encouraging all at once. I am amazed at this good advice. Keep on writing Theresa B! This is one of your best.

    • Thanks Robynne. I wish I had come up with the term, but I read it on someone’s Instagram post. I wish I could remember whose it was. It was a term that got me thinking. Just imagine if the world was filled with place makers? There would be no one feeling left out, lonely, friendless, dealing with their mess alone, and more.

  3. Love your photo’s Theresa! Great reminder too of taking time with people & smelling the roses with God’s beloved….because Jesus died for all! We tend to forget that when we are out & about in the community… Don’t we…
    Remember you’re welcome to drop by to join me in a cup of inspiration anytime…
    Jennifer

  4. What an important truth to remember— making a place for people, remembering that they are important and all have value. In our busyness we sometimes forget when we meet others throughout our day. How important to remember that a smile costs us nothing and a kind word is always a blessing. Thank you for these reminders.

  5. I love this so much! We all know people like this and our face immediately lights up in a smile when we think of them. May we all try to be more of a place maker!

  6. Theresa, thank you for sharing this! It brought back memories of the place makers in my life. I really like that you shared how your Dad would always find something to thank someone for. That is an inspiration. I’m sure he encouraged so many!

    • He did encourage many. After his death, his neighbors had many memories they told me of how he would talk to them and encourage them. When we arrived at his apartment after his death, the neighbors in his apartment building had left flowers and shells and wine glasses on his stoop and written lots of precious comments and pictures in chalk upon his concrete patio next to his front door. I imagined he was looking down from heaven and surprised at how much he had impacted people’s lives.

  7. Thank you for visiting my blog Theresa, and these are beautiful words with beautiful photos! I also think we can be place makers online as well, just giving encouragement to others like you did on my blog! Thanks for sharing and have a blessed day!

  8. This is a great post, Theresa! It’s amazing how a smile or a little word of encouragement can make such a difference, and it’s something we can all do. I love these tips for being more intentional about making others feel welcome and valued.

  9. I love this post so much, Theresa! I write about creating authentic connections in our lives and would love to feature this post, if that’s okay with you, to inspire others to be Place Makers. I’ll be reading this post again and again. Thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts on the subject. Such an inspirational post!

  10. Theresa, what a wonderful post. It is amazing how much the words one person speaks can remind us of our value. And to be that kind of a person in another’s life? Priceless. I love how your dad did this . . . by finding something he could say “thank you” for. What a great way to get out of yourself for a little while and remind another person they have worth.

    I loved your tips for being intentional about doing this. and I especially love the idea of asking God to show us opportunities for being place markers. I’ve never thought to pray that before.

    By the way, I love your pictures. They remind me so much of Hawaii!

    • Jeanne: spot on. The pictures are from Hawaii – the big island.

      Word of others do remind us of our value as a human. We often forget that hurtful words can linger for years. Just like positive words can also linger for years. Let us speak words that speak life.

  11. Theresa,
    Oh my stars! I love this SO much!

    Place-makers.

    May we make every effort to live outside of ourselves so that we can be place-makers.

    I think when we know Jesus well and out of our love for Him, fight our flesh and soften our hearts, we become better at being place makers. When we know Whose we are, we are changed. Then we know our value, drop our need to compare and compete, leaving us able to to love others well.

    This is my featured post this week at #MomentsofHope! I can’t wait to share it with my readers ♥

    You are a blessing!

    Lori

  12. Hi, I am visiting from Moments of Hope. It’s nice to meet you!

    This is a beautiful article! I so long to be this kind of person. One thing I do, which seems to mean a lot, is to call people by name. Cashiers, waiters, etc. all wear name tags these days, and when we say “hi” or “thank you” and use their name, I think it really touches them. They feel noticed as a person.

    Your dad sounds like an amazing guy!

    Blessings,
    Patti @ Ninety-Twelve Psalms Avenue

    • Hi Patty! That’s a great suggestion to call people by their names. My sister is good at doing this. I remember asking her once how she knew someone’s name, and she said, by their name tag. She will also stop a conversation, look at the person, ask what their name is, and then continue the conversation and use their name several time. Such a little thing, but it does show people they are noticed. Thanks for visiting.

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