Encourage what will be…
I was standing in the middle of my stunt group with sweat pouring off of me. On one hand, we had been practicing for almost three hours. On the other, I had a red-faced coach about six inches away from my face yelling at the top of his lungs.
Being on a national championship cheer team came with responsibility. Our responsibility was to give it our all, all the time. In that moment, I was not giving my all. In fact, I was not even giving half of my all. For what seemed like hours I was 360-ing up, putting weight on my left leg (the leg I did not need to put weight on), and sliding down my secondary base’s raw arm. She was in pain, the others in my stunt group were frustrated, and I could not seem to keep my right leg straight. My coach knew I could do better. He knew I was capable of hitting the stunt without sliding down my base’s arm. My coach also knew he was getting me frustrated and that frustration would turn into determination to do it right.
Now, I am not condoning getting six inches in front of somebody’s face and yelling at them until you are red in the face when it comes to encouraging them in their walk with Christ. I am not sure they would take that well. Instead, I am proposing we look at encouragement from a different perspective. What if we started looking at encouragement not as a one-size-fits-all affair, but as different approaches in different circumstances? Not everyone responds to the same type of encouragement. The sooner we realize this truth, the more beneficial our encouragement efforts will become.
Encouragement rolls off my tongue in my sleep. In cheerleading, I learned how I like to be encouraged and I try to encourage others in similar ways. I am not referring to the screaming in my face, but the consistent and persistent encouragement to try hard and to do better. My coaches saw the potential that I possessed and wanted to draw it out of me. It is my prayer that I will see the potential of others and draw out of them the goodness that God wants to accomplish in their life.
It takes longer to motivate some people than others. It is important that we stick with them and encourage them to walk in the ways of the Lord. I want to be someone who is known for not giving up on people who might be slipping away from their God-given destiny, even when the walk is rocky.
It is important to encourage what will be. We must not treat others with condemnation, but with love. This truth is relevant because in a world that is as broken as the one we live in, we must always look toward the restoration Christ will bring.
When we focus not on the destruction of our day but toward the promise of future restoration, we are less likely to dwell on the brokenness in our lives and live joyfully. When we are not focused on the brokenness, we are able to better encourage those who might be paralyzed by the sin they once chose to walk in or are currently walking in.
Sticking by someone with such a Debbie-downer mindset, encouraging them to focus not on the things of this world but on things above, can sometimes make all the difference in a person’s life.
When I was in high school practicing on that mat for those long hours, I did not like my coach yelling at my face about things I was doing wrong. However, once I began to make corrections and put forward the effort that needed to be there, it made all the difference. No matter how many times I fell and made mistakes my coaches never gave up on me. May you never give up on the stubbornness of a brother or sister in Christ.
Encourage what will be because God always restores what the world destroys.
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