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

 


If you need some weekly encouragement and hope, tied up with some humor? Subscribe and join the journey. Life is sweeter when we walk alongside one another.


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.

Sometimes We Just Need to Believe

I am reading Mathew and in this chapter Jesus is healing one person after another. Boom, bam, slam. Left and right.

Broken and unwell people are brought to him. He heals them. Restores them to health. Forgives their sins.

The response of the healed? Joy. Amazement. A wanting to tell everyone and show everyone their restored bodies, the miracle performed on them, for them.

The response of the crowds and those who witness the now speaking, seeing, walking, and coherent healed? People are amazed. Scared. Doubting. Questioning. Angry. Believing. Hurrying Jesus out of town. Running to get their sick cousins, aunts, and uncles.  

I wonder what my response would be if I had been standing on the sidelines?

And what if I had been the lame? Would I be surprised that Jesus healed me so easily? None of the healed had to get examined by a doctor. Answer a list of written questions. Crawl up a mountain. Go to church 56 times. Drink cups of yucky tasting goop. Run home and clean their house. Or even try and become a better person.

They had to do one thing.

Have faith.

Believe.

 

It can’t be that simple, can it? 

 

It seems so simple, doesn’t it? Way to simple. Especially to our doing minds.

For we are doers. That is why we read those helpful articles that lay out the steps we must take to accomplish this and that. “How to Have Your Best Year Yet.” “3 Ways to have a Better Marriage.” “How to Burn Fat While You Sleep.” “Improve Your Attitude in 4 Areas.” “How to Conquer the Fear that is Holding You Back from Success.”

We love knowing what we can do. The next step to take. How to change our tough situation to excellent in three easy days. We love feeling in control and in charge of our direction and destiny. For if we are busy doing, by working harder, trying harder, doing something, we feel we will conquer what ever plagues us.

Doing is good. Don’t get me wrong. We are called to be doers of the word. To be the hands and feet of Jesus. To love our neighbor. To be changing and growing.

But we are not called to be only doing and controlling and corralling and herding our life and the lives of those around us.

We are called to have faith. To believe. To receive.

That is what the people who Jesus healed needed to have if they wanted to be healed.

Jesus asked them if they had faith and believed.

He didn’t hand them a list of instructions or a to-do list.

 

Why acting in faith is hard.

 

If I had been one of the lame, I am thinking I would have been surprised. Did I have faith? Sure, I would say. And then I would have asked him what I needed to do to heal myself. Maybe eat something. Do some exercises. Give some sacrifices. Clean my house and take pie to the neighbor. Be kinder to my husband and children. Make peace with my enemy. Serve at the temple. Do community service. Because that is my inclination. What can I do to improve the situation? Myself? Others?

But Jesus did not require anything of the broken in body, but faith. Plain old faith.

Have faith and get healed.

Sounds so easy, doesn’t it?

But it is hard. We don’t want to be indebted to anyone. We want to stand on our own two pegs. We want to do something and feel like we had a part in the outcome. We don’t want to wait and feel like we are doing nothing. We don’t want to rely on others. We are doers.

And yet I am like the lame, blind, and mute. I am as broken as them. Needing healing. Wanting answers to hard problems. Praying for people and situations where I have no idea even what to do or where to start.

 

Acting in faith; what to remember.

 

I look at this broken world. The broken people around me. My broken self. And Jesus is saying the same thing. Believe in me. Have faith; I know what is best. Trust me with this. Wait on me and my timing. Wait. Wait.  

Have faith? That involves trusting in the unseen. Not myself. It involves waiting. Not doing and striving and controlling.

Have faith, God tells us. Trust me to take care of the situation in my own time. Believe I will do what is best for you and all involved. Know that I am working all things out for the best and your good.   

I know there are some situations in my life I can do nothing about. Things I am praying about that I can do nothing about. Situations around me I can only pray about.  There is no doing, or even knowing what to do sometimes.

I am like the lame man. I am broken.    

He reaches his hands out to me, and says: Stop doing. Wait. Receive. Believe. Trust I’ve got this.

There is a time to be doing. And a time to have faith and let him be doing. Let us know the difference between the two.

Thanks for stopping by. Keep remembering what’s important.

Theresa

If you need some weekly encouragement and hope, tied up with some humor? Subscribe and join the journey. Life is sweeter when we walk alongside one another.


Join the Journey: Is it hard to stop doing and have faith?

May link up at Jennifer Dukes Lee (#tellhisstory); and Holley Gerth (#coffeeforyourheart), Lori Schumaker (#Moments of Hope), Crystal Storms (#HeartEncouragement), Arabah Joy (#Grace & Truth).

Why We Can’t Say No, But Must


We women can be focused driven work machines. We strive to accomplish more than possible, spin the gears nonstop until after the day is done, and are often multi-tasking like a pro.

We can change diapers with our eyes closed while planning a mental to-do list for the next 24 hours, cook dinner and give an oral spelling test at the same time, slam dunk a presentation at work and then transition to shuttling the kids to sports. Such is the skill of most women.

We are not born capable, multitasking, accomplish-all machines, but as time passes and we reach adulthood and acquire more responsibility, we hone and refine this hurry-and-accomplish-all-that-life-throws at us skill.

And this is a good thing.

But it can also be a not so good thing.

Because we women tend to overcommit ourselves, pile more on our plate than we can reasonably accomplish, carry around guilt and unreasonable expectations, and we have a hard time saying no.

We may run on guilt and “I should,” because what people think is often very important to us.

So why do we women run ourselves ragged trying to do it all, please all, and struggle with this fear to say no?

I have never seen an article aimed at men that explains why they need to quit overcommitting themselves. I have never heard men confess to each other that ‘no’ needs to be part of their vocabulary. Nor have I caught them complaining (or is it bragging) about how they are just so busy they can hardly catch their breath.  

This struggle to say ‘yes’ to often, and ‘no’ to little, seems to be more of a struggle for women than men.

So, what motivates this fear we women have of saying no?

 

17 reasons women find it difficult to say no.

 

1. Our own expectations that we can and should be able to do everything. (We often have higher expectations for ourselves then others have for us.)

2.  We didn’t hear other women saying no and setting healthy boundaries when we were growing up.

3. We grew up hearing that we could do it all.

4. We think saying ‘no’ is admitting defeat or is being weak. (And the last thing we want to be is weak.)

5. We are easily motivated by guilt. Our own and others. And this guilt to please others also doesn’t want to let others down or disappoint them, so we say yes. We think it is our job or responsibility. And as the years pass, we tend to pile more and more onto our job description.

6. We think no one else will do it. Or do it right. Or do it on time. Or do it the way it needs to be done. So, we do it.

7. We rationalize “what’s one more thing?’ One more child? One more meeting? One more committee?

8. We think we should do it because we have done it the last four years. Or is it ten years? Everyone is depending on us and we know how to do it right. 

9. We want to be strong and capable, so we say yes and then yes again. We are after all, supper women. We think super women don’t need help and don’t ask for help.

10. We have this inner nature to nurture, take care of, and help, which of course is a very good thing. Unless we can’t say no and feel responsible for things that are not our responsibility. 

11. Past or present shame motivates us. Maybe we were told by our mother, or someone else, we were not very helpful, and years later we are still trying to prove their words wrong. 

12. People tell us we should do it, or expect us to do it. We don’t want to let them down.

13. We are good at doing something, and know we are good at doing it, and it is hard to say no because we know we will do a darn good job.

14. We have been doing it for years. Why stop now? And if we stop, who will do it? And if we stop people protest.

15. We feel everyone else’s needs come before ours. Or that they should if we are a good mother, wife, sister, daughter, employee  . . ..

16. We feel we need to be busy. Our worth comes from how much we accomplish, and we feel important when we are busy. Busy is our new important.

17. Saying yes makes us feel good and keeps us from feeling our real emotions.

Although this is a rather lengthy list, there are still reasons not listed (please leave them in the comments if you think of any).

The important thing to remember is that different things motivate us to say yes, and different circumstances or people bring forth different triggers (or emotions).

One person may make us feel guilty, another person may play upon our need to nurture, while another situation may make us feel selfish if we say no.

The point is . . .

We have assorted reasons about why we say yes to often, and don’t say no enough. One reason will not cover all circumstances or people. This is also why it is easier to say no sometimes, and harder other times.

So, what’s the problem with all this?

 

What happens when we can’t say no enough?

 

When we say yes to often, and no not enough, we often fall into the martyr syndrome or the victim syndrome. Neither is very pretty or fun to live with.

What is the martyr syndrome?

A martyr does everything herself. She wants to appear as the only one good enough to do things right and silently looks for recognition and pats on the back for all her hard work and helping of others. She never asks for help (others would not do it correctly, or do it at all). When others don’t praise her efforts, or notice that she is biting off more than she can handle and step in and help her (but without her asking), she becomes bitter, resentful, sarcastic, and snippy. Guilt and shame are two of the tools she uses to make those around her feel bad for not helping her or appreciating her.

What is the victim syndrome?

A victim feels like she does it all (and often feels she doesn’t have a choice but to do it all). She feels that everyone takes her for granted and relies on her to much. She feels overworked and taken advantage of, but she won’t stand up and say no (or feels she can’t say no without consequences). Instead she tries to get others to feel remorseful for all her yes’s. She does this by serving a heaping dose of guilt and shame on those around her. Her goal is to make others feel sorry for her, while making them think she has no other choice but to continue doing what she is doing and sacrificing her happiness and time for them.

Like I said, neither the martyr or victim is pretty to live within close proximity to.

 

Remembering what’s important. 

 

There is good news. Both the martyr and victim are roles we choose to play, or not play.

Like so much of life, we can choose to be a martyr or victim. And we can also bounce between the two roles depending on our audience and time of day. Or we can be strong women who learn to make healthy choices, take responsibility for our own attitudes (and not blame others or circumstances), and learn to say no.

We can model how to set healthy boundaries to our co-workers, sisters, daughters, friends, and mothers that respect our needs and the needs of those we help and serve, or we can become victims and martyrs and make those within close proximity run for cover from us.

We can take responsibility for our own choices, life, and attitudes, or we can blame others and be motivated by guilt and trying to please others.

We can try to be super women who have it all together, and are ever ready to help everyone but ourselves, or we can be honest, vulnerable, and tender with ourselves and others.

We can try and do it all on our own (and miserably fail), or we can show more strength by asking for help from others and our creator.

We can look for the approval of others, or the approval of God.

We can base our worth on our to-do list and accomplishments, or we can base our worth on being his child.

We can give our self grace, or beat our self up. The choice is ours.   

What will you choose?

Next week’s post – How and Why We Must Learn to Say No.

 

Thanks for stopping by. Keep remembering what’s important.

Theresa

If you need some weekly encouragement and hope, tied up with some humor? Subscribe and join the journey. Life is sweeter when we walk alongside one another.


Join the discussion: What keeps you from saying no? (Mine are 1, 2, 5,  6, 9, and 14.)

May link up at Jennifer Dukes Lee (#tellhisstory); and Holley Gerth (#coffeeforyourheart), Lori Schumaker (#Moments of Hope),  Crystal Storms (#HeartEncouragement), Arabah Joy (#Grace & Truth).