The beautiful thing about sharing is that we can share with others through a multitude of outlets. As children, we are led to believe that sharing is only of materials. But as we grow, we realize that there are other items that are of value to us. Our time becomes more valuable as we learn to manage it, our hearts become valuable as we learn to love. Our materials continue to be valued possessions, but they are accompanied by these other methods of sharing.
When reflecting upon those possessions, I realized that I’ve become very proficient in sharing my possessions and time, but my heart was something that I was afraid to share with others. When I refer to sharing my heart, I’m not speaking as a romantic, but rather a Christ-follower. “Love your neighbor as yourself” has always resonated with me strongly, but I’ve been hesitant to act upon it. For me, sharing words of encouragement with others and verbally expressing the blessings that each and every individual helps bring into my life are ways that I have found to share my heart.
Recently, I was blessed with the opportunity to speak with an old friend who had been struggling with drug-related issues among a multitude of other challenges since arriving at college. Upon contacting her, I knew that the best way I could help her was to share my time with her and listen to what she had to tell me. And more importantly, I knew that I wanted to share my heart with her. I wanted to use the opportunity to share all the amazing accomplishments that she had, and let her know about the significant impact that she had made on both myself and others in the past. I was able to take the time to fill her heart with hope and optimism, and erase any doubts that she may have about the future. Encouragement to change, encouragement to move forward. Encouragement to share her heart with others. This encouragement is one of the greatest gifts that any of us can share. And the best part about sharing encouragement is that it is mutual. Just as I built her up and warmed her heart that afternoon, she came back a few months later and shared that encouragement with me when I needed it most. It’s amazing how simple of an action sharing can really be, and a shame that people do not do so more often.
As a result of this encounter, I have made it my goal to continue encouraging others each and every moment that I can. In fact, I unintentionally bury some of my friends in words of encouragement, but in my opinion, there are far worse problems that one can encounter. The lack of sustainability is one of the largest problems that the world faces. Unsustainable living, spending, growth and consumption are all urgent issues that can be alleviated through the sharing of materials in this new sharing economy that has begun with these current generations of individuals. However, sustainability of the heart is another urgent concern that is not considered nearly as much as it should be. Societal boundaries could be broken through simple encouragement and bringing out the positives in people instead of becoming irritated over the negatives. Unity between generations, races and countries could be better achieved through breaking the societal norms of reserving encouragement and positive feedback instead of only making efforts to bring out those things that we dislike and want to see changed. Sharing, in all its forms, is an extremely valuable solution to many problems currently endured, and one that will be implemented through the perseverance, passion, and motivation of forward-thinking individuals who are the current and future leaders of society.