Be an intentional witness to the extraordinary

You’re a witness to the extraordinary and you may not even know it. It’s easy to escape notice because it’s right in front of you; veiled in the ordinary.

Each day you encounter friends, family, co-workers and strangers. All of whom possess aspirations, hopes and dreams. Some are actively pursuing them. Others, the “mass of men,” as Henry David Thoreau put it, “lead lives of quiet desperation.”

Yet, every one of them created uniquely for an extraordinary purpose. They deserve our notice. They deserve our intentional witness.

One of my wife’s favorite movies is Shall We Dance, starting Richard Gere, Jennifer Lopez, and Susan Sarandon. From it comes one of the best depictions of intentional witness I’ve heard; the commitment within a marriage. Mrs. Clark (played by Sarandon) puts it this way:

“In a marriage… you’re saying, ‘Your life will not go unnoticed, because I will notice it. Your life will not go unwitnessed because I will be your witness.” (watch clip)

I’ve thought about that line often and I’ve made that commitment to Anna. I will notice her life. I will be her witness.

That same commitment can be made for those around you today as well. You’re an intentional witness when you:

  • Ask others about their dream. See my post, Two questions to inspire others.
  • Write someone a note of encouragement, describing what you see in their life that inspires you.
  • Praise someone’s contribution to your life in front of others, particularly when you introduce them to another.
  • Offer to pray for someone’s needs and desires.
  • Speak the best of others and repel gossip when it comes your way.

The ways we can be a witness to another are endless. Ultimately, being an intentional witness is a mindset that seeks to “look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others,” as the Bible puts it (Phil 2:4). When we do, we help water the seeds of the extraordinary around us.

What ways have you found to express your intentional witness of others?

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