I’ve started and drafted 4 posts within this past week. 2 within the past two days. Sadly, even this will not be one of those 4. I’m not sure why exactly I’ve started but not finished them, but likely I still need time on them. I’m sure I’ll finish them eventually, but for now I’m content to let them sit there until the timing is right.
I want to briefly touch on the topic of “encouragement”. It’s becoming more and more apparent to me the importance of it. I’m almost craving it lately. I googled “define: encouragement” and here’s what came up.
Encouragement – the expression of approval and support.
Last week, I had a dear friend text me out of the blue. We’ve barely spent ample enough time in person, but somehow God brings us together and keeps us connected. What they sent was probably one of the top 5 most encouraging things ever said to me. By jove, I locked those texts in my phone and will probably write it down somewhere so I never lose it! I will treasure it forever. It still didn’t hit me that day how very encouraging it was… it’s only lately starting to sink in. Oh but I just realized, that same day – I’d received an email from another dear friend with some encouragement as well! I did not even connect the two until just now… I’m stunned.
Early this week, a complete “stranger”* encouraged me in a MAJOR way and helped renew my determination to keep training for my 1/2 marathon.
Then yesterday and today, another “stranger” simply tweeted me personally and this provided more encouragement in another much needed area.
*I quote “stranger” because I have never actually met them, but we have a mutual friend in Jesus Christ and He has been using them to bless and encourage me in some amazing ways so they are not “strangers” but my brother and sister in Him.
I had not even realized the amount of encouragement that God had been pouring out until today… I had been so detached that I didn’t fully grasp the scope of the first two until now. Or even the multiple other instances of encouragement that have happened the past week or so. I’m seeing them very clearly now, and it’s just hitting me as I write this, haha.
I’m seeing now that someone can be completely encouraging and express amazing words or acts of encouragement, but I can be completely detached from them and unaware if I’m not paying attention to how the Lord is moving. I have to have my heart open to receive this. Now I know that probably sounds overly spiritual, but honestly – we have to actually be open to receive gifts. The gift of salvation isn’t forced upon us… we have to willingly receive it from Christ. So encouragement is similar – it’s a gift. Someone is taking the time to say something encouraging to you or act in a specific way toward you to show their support.
Now, too… I can only give full credit to God on this one and his supreme utilization of these beautiful vessels this week. The majority of them may be putting forth the effort to encourage, and for this I am whole-heartedly grateful because they were being obedient, but it is God who orchestrates the timing and working within my own heart to receive these. I just cannot fathom how He does it! It’s too cool!
Discouragement – the feeling of dispair in the face of obstacles.
I can easily wallow in discouragement. All of us can. I was so blind to all of this encouragement raining down on me these past 2 weeks because I wasn’t opening my heart to receive it. Lately I’m realizing that I don’t often like to NEED someone else (whether it’s someone else’s help, their encouragement, or just THEM), mainly because of past experiences when I’ve foolishly relied on someone more than on God – I then got hurt by these people’s betrayal, indifference, or simply lack of mutual care back that I’ve grown a callous. And instead of being accountable for my foolish sin of idolotry/sensuality/wrongful-striving, I’ve thought that THEY were the ones to blame and that I didn’t NEED anyone anymore. On one end, this is somewhat true – the only necessary Person we need and should attach ourselves fully to is Christ. However, on the other end – He uses vessels, the people around us, and the bible says we do still NEED these people. It’s how we’re made up, we aren’t meant to be alone. This includes encouragement FROM Him THROUGH His kids.
As long as I (we) keep my (our) eyes fixated on the Cross, and I (we) do not swerve to the right or left thinking that I (we) NEED someone outside of Jesus Christ – then encouragement is healthy and important. It helps pull us out of our discouragement and away from ourselves, it breaks down our pride and arrogance and pushes us closer toward our goal of Christ.
MAN! That’s really really cool. I had no idea until I started writing this what God was showing me this week. I don’t know if I even really verbalized it as intensely as I’m understanding it right now. I’d say God was really trying to get my attention this past week and a half… wouldn’t you?
I just wanna go out and encourage somebody right now. I just hope they’re hearts are open to receive it. I REALLY WANNA PUSH SOMEBODY CLOSER TO THE CROSS AND TO JESUS!!! Who’s with me?!?!
Don’t hold back from encouraging someone, whether out of fear or out of selfishness… you never know how God will use it to draw someone close to Him! After all, Encourage has “COURAGE” in it. It may not always be easy, but if you get over yourself and let God be your courage – you just never know what will happen.