Do you ever feel discouraged? I do. Sometimes it’s because I look around at the world and see so much negativity. And other times, it’s because I’m struggling and I have so much negativity in my very own heart. Either way, I thought up something last week while preparing to teach at Youth Group and it turned into something that I thought I could share here as well. So here goes.
Picture yourself building a sand castle. For fact, if you haven’t built one in awhile, I highly suggest that you try. Because I personally hadn’t built one in awhile and yesterday at the beach I tried and it was way harder than I remembered. Thankfully, I had help. To start, Ellee and I sat and carved out a base.
And if you literally fast forward like 40 minutes, this is what we came up with. Full disclosure, building a sand castle would probably be easier had we had actual tools like a bucket or shovel. We didn’t, so we simply used our hands. It was tedious work. Because we’re not experts and had quite a few corner crumbles or cave ins. But we worked on.
Once we had our basic castle built, we searched the shores for pretty or interesting shells. We also added a nice seaweed filled moat.
And at the end of our efforts, we had this. It might not look like much, but we really enjoyed building it. And for the record, it literally took us an hour and 15 minutes between building and finding all the shells to decorate. When we finished, we were happy and proud of our work. Had we left it, it would have stayed up for a bit and it would have been nice for others to see our handiwork.
But I told Ellee she could destroy it. For illustration’s sake.
She didn’t hesitate.
And while this is a cute series of pictures.
Would you believe
That it literally took her three seconds to completely demolish all of our hard work.
And just like that, it was gone.
And I write all of this because it made me think of an illustration. What is better, friends? To build something up, or to tear it down. Building something up often takes time. It takes thought. It takes energy. But it also results in something beautiful and something good. Something that can be remembered and admired.
But tearing something down? It takes seconds. No thought. It’s destructive and leaves nothing when it’s finished.
And this is how it can be when we think of how we treat others. Are you someone who builds others up? Or is it just easy to tear them down. If I’m being honest, I think we live in a society and world that often tears down but seldom remembers to build up.
So that is where this post comes in. I came up with a reminder when it comes to this illustration. And it’s simply this. A bracelet (or anklet) with three beads. Two yellow ones that represent two sand castles. One that is built up and one that is torn down. And a nice blue bead in the middle. That maybe represents the ocean. Or the big picture of things. Or it might just be there because it looks nice and compliments the other beads. You can choose.
I’m not a huge fan or jewelry, but I’ve been wearing mine around my ankle and it’s been a great reminder to me to build others up. Whether it’s my husband or our kids, or my friends, or co-workers or even random people I see throughout my day, I always have a choice to be a positive force of goodness. And that is what I’m choosing these days.
If you are like me and want to look for some good ways to love and encourage others, then do I have a deal for you. I had a surplus in supplies and now have quite a few extra bracelets. So I printed up little cards and wanted to offer them to anyone who might want to join me on this journey of building others up. The bracelets aren’t free. The cost is simply a commitment to doing good and encouraging and building others up. And in this way, maybe we can all work together to change the world for good.
So, message me or comment if you’d like a bracelet. If you’re local we’ll figure out the easiest way to get you your bracelet. And if you’re not, I’m happy to mail them out. Because I believe in doing what you can when you look around and see a need for change, and so this is my story and my small way of making a difference as I’m able.
This post was also inspired by an awesome Bible verse that says,
“Therefore encourage one another and build each other up.” 1 Thessalonians 5:11