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Today I got a word of encouragement.

So it's a funny thing, but I don't actually take encouragement well. I mean, I'm grateful for it. Love it, actually. I do like knowing that I'm doing well, that I'm appreciated. It makes all the difference in the world.

But what I mean is, I don't have a canned response for taking a real, genuine compliment. I can accept praise for something I've created. I can quip about deadlines or workload, and the super heroics needed to master both. I have responses for almost any casual question you can ask. But tell me you're proud of me? Man, I nearly dissolve into a blubbery mass.

We don't always know just how desparately we need that word of encouragment. Just a simple, "I think you're doing a great job" is enough to turn the tide and make a day go from so-so to so-yeah!

And maybe it's good that I don't have a canned response for that. It has a deeper impact. It means the praise is genuine, and therefore more heartening.

Sometimes we start to feel that no one is noticing those little things we do throughout the day. The "get by" syndrome we all seem to live in tends to make us numb. We forget that, just like our kids or our friends or our spouses, we need to hear something good about ourselves, too. If we don't, we start to doubt, somewhere inside, that we're doing things right. We start to wonder what everyone is saying about us, and we become more and more certain that it's not good.

God has a word for us, I think. Our problem is we don't spend enough time listening for Him. We get into our own heads, our own routines, our own funk, and we forget that there's a voice there, calling gently, saying that He loves us.

Don't forget that. You're loved. Really. Truly. Without doubt. And if you need that word of encouragement in your life, I can honestly tell you ... you are wonderful. You are beloved. Thank you thank you thank you for being YOU. God loves you. I love you. And you are doing an absolutely fantastic job with your life.

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