Keep saying it … even when it seems like no one is listening and you aren’t making a difference! We all have times in our lives when we feel like no one is listening – our kids, boss, co-workers, friends. We have valuable things to say, but no-one is listening! If you have ever found yourself in this situation, read the following short story for some encouragement.
Last weekend was beautiful and peaceful. The weather was perfect and everyone else in my family was busy so I decided to go on a 20 mile bike ride. I wish I could tell you that I do this regularly, but I don’t. I only go on a few bike rides each summer. The goal was peace and relaxation, but my competitive nature is never too far from the surface so I started tracking my speed pretty early on. It’s nothing to brag about and I am not competitive with anyone but myself, but the goal was to keep a respectable speed without slowing down.
The ride was magical until the 7 mile mark. Then it happened – I found myself riding uphill with at least a 500 mile-per-hour headwind (not an exaggeration!) As I pushed forward, I soon found myself singing an annoying song that I haven’t heard in many years. It’s an old country gospel song entitled, “I Want That Mountain.” It was recorded by Robbie Hiner many years ago. My dad used to like that song when I was little. He would sing it to encourage me to keep going when a run or bike ride got tough. It is truly one of the most annoying songs ever written and my dad’s rendition makes it even worse than the original. But he would sing it nonetheless. If the hill was extra tall or I was ready to give up, he would add in some positive self-talk. “Don’t you just love it!” “I feel great!” “This hill’s got nothing on you!” In reality, those statements weren’t true; I didn’t feel great and I definitely didn’t love it. But the positive self-talk kept me going. And now, 30 years later, my dad’s positive self-talk is still keeping me going. As I was riding into the headwind it was my dad’s voice that I heard singing that annoying song and telling me that I was better than that hill. He was hundreds of miles away, but I could still hear him just as clearly as if he was riding next to me.
When I originally heard those words, I wasn’t really paying attention. I complained, grumbled and probably even argued that I didn’t want that mountain – but I heard him anyway. Although I didn’t know it at the time and it didn’t look like it on the outside, those words were helping form me into the person that I am today.
“So let’s not get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t give up.”
Galatians 6:9 (NLT)
The same is true for all of us. We may feel that our kids are completely ignoring us … but we need to say it anyway. It may look like no one at work even cares what we have to say … but we need to say it anyway. Even if the world isn’t paying attention to us right now, we need to say it anyway. Maybe our words really are being heard. Maybe those words will be remembered at some time in the future and they will make more of a difference than we could ever dream. Just because we can’t see the immediate results doesn’t mean that we aren’t influencing someone or something for the future.