God the Includer

– by Andrea Sparrow

Dulwich Picture Gallery [Public domain]

Good Morning everyone! We are well into the season a lent. Praying, sacrificing and giving alms. Lent is about searching within our soul and opening our hearts to God. Giving back to him everything he has given us. The parable of two sons tells of opening ones heart, having compassion and forgiving.  There were two son’s both had received their inheritance from their father, one stay with is father and was faithful, the other took off, spent this money and came back hungry, poor and alone. The father was overwhelmed with compassion, opened his heart to his son and celebrated his return. The other son was puzzled, he was faithful and didn’t get a celebration. His father explain son, you are steady and faithful but your brother has come back from the dead.

Ummm you may be thinking to yourself, that’s a little nutty. How and why would the father do that? The other son should be mad! But the message Jesus was telling us through this parable is perfect for the season of lent. The father of the sons made sacrifices for his children his whole life I imagine and when he passed on his knowledge and goods one son stayed and one vanished only to come back broken. I bet the father prayed the entire time his son was gone, asking God to protect him, be with him and when he was ready he would find his way home.

This story is no different then our faith journey. The father in the story is our God the father, he gives us his love, knowledge and fortune. Some of his children (that is us) stay faithful and loyal to God no matter what. He has blessed us with the strength of belief. We are the people who have those strong core values that are unchanging. Our strength of belief has us remain loyal steady followers. However God made others who also have the strength of belief but also other strengths that are more prominent in their life. I would like to think the other son had a strong strength in Self- Assurance. These types of people are confident in their ability to take risks. The risk being setting out to look or search for something else then what the father has given us. However, people who are Self-assured also have an inner compass that drives their decisions. It is this inner compass that always brings them home. Home to the father. And the father, in the story and God our Father are restorative, forgive and resolve and also are empathic and feel deeply all of our feelings. But most importantly God the father is an includer. He opens his heart and arms and accepts people, his children, for who we are, never casts us off, never forgets us, watches over us and treats us all with love.           This Lenten story reminds us that in our faith journey and journey of life we all have strengths and take different paths but God the includer, always have our paths come home. And he is waiting at the end with arms wide open, ready to celebrate our homecoming.  This Lent call on your strength of Includer, (we all have it) and be like Jesus and God our Father. Open your arms, your heart and your soul to others that may have done you wrong, taken a different path then you and just love them for who they are.  Be the ray of Positivity, get excited and lets welcome Jesus back from the dead and home in our hearts.

Have a great weekend and remember Jesus Loves you!

People of Possibility

People exceptionally talented in the Includer theme accept others. They show awareness of those who feel left out and make an effort to include them.

– Gallup Inc.
Leonardo da Vinci [Public domain] – Wikimedia Commons

Have you ever arrived a little late only to find that all the chairs were taken? Did anyone welcome you? Did anyone get you a chair? Chances are, that this person had Includer as one of their top strengths. Includers crave diversity through new and fresh perspectives. They want to build strong teams and they do so by inviting others to contribute. Jesus’ apostles were a mixed bag of personalities and capabilities but Christ welcomed them because of their varied talents and perspectives. They were people of possibility.

In the Day 18 Lenten Reflection by Matthew Kelly (Dynamic Catholic, the Holy Spirit is described as the great encourager. Kelly says, “we are called to be filled with the Spirit, and we are called to be great encouragers in other people’s lives. We’re called to be great encouragers in situations and in circumstances and in conversations.” The Holy Spirit lives within us to create incredible moments and memorable experiences just like Jesus knew that the apostles could and would. Includers strive to do this. They want everyone to have a chair at the table so that the Holy Spirit can work within everyone to learn, grow, contribute, and bring into being the best possible plan.

Includers are relationship builders. They do not like feeling left out so they will go out of their way to ensure that others don’t either. Teachers who are includers make colleagues and students feel like they belong. They are great peer mentors and ambassadors for the school. Students who are includers, might be more sensitive to others who they perceive to be left out or might be easily hurt if they feel left out. Involve these students in opportunites such as new student orientation days and school open houses.

Includers have a sincere belief in and need for greater diversity in the group. As a result, includers have a high degree of tolerance for differences in opinion and can be extremely helpful in finding the right people or for communicating between teams.

People of possibility believe in the greatness of others. Includers are people of possibility. Invite them in so that everyone is welcomed and feels valued.

Watch the Day 18 “The Great Encourager” video by Dynamic Catholic to learn more about creating holy moments in your life.