I am a prideful, prideful woman.
I am independent and I will figure it out on my own, thank you very much.
I am guardedly transparent.
I’m an excellent escape artist.
Sometimes my poker face is my best side.
I want to help people but I don’t want them to know I need help also.
I think that people really don’t want to know about the parts of me that get funky with depression and discouragement.
Shouldn’t my encouragement to others be enough to cover my needs as well?
Like I said, I am a prideful, prideful woman. It’s a bit of a character flaw.
It’s funny how as much as I fight the need for encouragement and support how much I crave it. The simplest words or phrases work their way past my armor and soothe my soul. One friend texts me “Ibiu.” I believe in you. Another texts me “I appreciate you Mrs. Figgins.” And still another “You feel my taynk.” Needing those words makes me feel weak and vulnurable. But receiving those words makes me feel like I can take on the world.
I think there are 3 main reasons why we need encouragement.
1. If our cup is empty we have nothing to offer others.
2 Thess. 2:17 Encourage your hearts and strengthen you in every good work and word.
We gain strength when we encourage others to stay focused on the Lord but the same truth works both ways for us. We need to be encouraged by others to continue on the journey and to finish strong. It’s a two way road.
2. We don’t need to rob others of being a blessing.
( 1 Thess 5:11) Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.
God intended us to share our joy with others. He will often send people just at the right time. However, if we turn away that encouragement we are also becoming a source of discouragement to them. People need affirmation for their actions.
3. Encouragement lifts us up but keeps us humble.
(James 4:6) But he gives us more grace. That is why Scripture says: “God opposes the proud but he gives grace to the humble.
I know for myself, I have to fight a big head when I receive encouragement especially when it is wrapped in flattery. I question people’s motives for encouraging me. However, when others take the time and effort to encourage us in purity it reminds us that others are watching our actions. It also reminds us that encouragement is an unsolicited gift. When we combine those two thoughts it should bring us to our knees in gratefulness and humility.
So here I am taking off my poker face.
I need encouragement just as much as I need to freely give it out.
What’s the best encouragement you have received lately? How do you accept encouragement?
Flatter me, and I may not believe you. Criticize me, and I may not like you. Ignore me, and I may not forgive you. Encourage me, and I will not forget you. Love me and I may be forced to love you.
–William Arthur Ward