Fr. Stavros N. Akrotirianakis is the Proistamenos of St. John Greek Orthodox Church in Tampa, FL. Fr. contributes the Prayer Team Ministry, a daily reflection, which began in February 2015, has produced two books, “Let All Creation Rejoice: Reflections on Advent, the Nativity and Epiphany”: “https://amzn.to/2t1rXwh and “The Road Back to Christ: Reflections on Lent, Holy Week and the Resurrection.” https://amzn.to/2WAcfG0
Welcome to The Daily Prayer Team messages, each day includes a passage of scripture, a reflection and a prayer. Sponsored by Saint John Greek Orthodox Church in Tampa, FL.
Be glad in the Lord, and rejoice, O righteous, and shout for joy, all you upright in heart! Psalm 32:11
“My family is so discouraging.”
“My parents are always on my case.”
“I can’t seem to do anything right by my (parents, spouse, kids).”
“My spouse is always nagging me.”
“My kids never listen.”
Any of this ring true for you?
I hear these laments all the time. At times in my life, they’ve been my lament as well. If we’re honest, we’ve all had these thoughts at some time or other, and probably a lot of us are feeling these laments right now.
While we can’t always control what someone else does, we can certainly control how we react to what other people do. If you are relating to the above laments, the first thing to do is take a real honest look at yourself and ask “is anything they are lamenting about true?” For instance, if you are a teenager and your parents are always nagging you about your homework because you don’t get it done in a timely manner, well if you want the nagging to stop, just be more responsible and independent about getting it done. If your spouse is always complaining that you leave your clothes strewn around the room instead of putting them in the clothes basket, start putting them away and that nagging will stop. Our efforts go a long way to the kind of interactions and feedback we get.
Despite our good intentions and even good actions, there is some amount of unnecessary “getting on our case” that happens to all of us from all corners. There really are some people (be they parents or spouses or our children) that no matter what, they will not be satisfied. What do we do about that?
I wonder what would happen if we were more intentional about gratitude and encouragement. For the teenager whose parents are on their case all the time, what would happen if you were more intentional with gratitude and encouragement. What if you said thank you more often for a meal, or the ride they are always giving? What if you said “thank you for being my parent” more often?
For the spouse who is discouraged, what if you thanked your spouse more often, even for the mundane things that you take for granted? What if you were more intentional about complimenting and encouraging them for things they do well, instead of always looking for the things that annoy you?
For the worker who struggles either with another co-worker or a boss, what if you were more intentional with compliments and encouragement for the things that are going right?
People are actually caught off guard in a good way when people pay them a compliment. Most of the time when people call me, they want something. Most of the time when I call people, they think I want something. It is a pleasant surprise when someone out of the blue just calls to say “thank you,” or “I appreciate you.” It is positive and motivating.
Imagine what could happen if we went out of our way to thank and appreciate the people closest to us, our families. Many times we take our families for granted, perhaps we feel like they have to like us because we are family, or we don’t have to impress them or be careful with them because they are stuck with us. If there isn’t a culture of positivity in your family, you can start one by being positive, affirming and encouraging. Be patient, as it may take the rest of the family a while to catch on. It’s hard to see how affirming and encouraging could be negative.
The simple answer to how to build an encouraging environment in your home is just start encouraging. Make a decision to encourage and affirm, even if you don’t get anything in return. If you only do it once or do it inconsistently, someone may question your motives and question your sincerity, i.e. they are only doing this to get something or get out of something. When you do it consistently over a period of time, it will be harder to question your motives or sincerity. Most important, believe in what you are doing. Once you become convinced that encouragement and affirmation are important things, it will be much easier to give them and give them consistently.
Lord, thank You for the gift of my family. (name your family members) Help me to love and appreciate them more. Help me to express my love and appreciation of them through encouragement. Help us to love one another closer and more deeply. Amen.
Encourage people in your immediate family today!
The Revised Standard Version of the Bible is copyrighted 1946, 1952, 1971, and 1973 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the U.S.A. and used by permission. From the Online Chapel of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America.
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