Tuesday, September 29, 2015

A little dose of Encouragement goes a long way

It's time we get real, it's time we get honest - with ourselves and with others. Face it - no matter what sparkly, fun, cute things we post on social media, no matter how much we smile and say it's all going great, no matter how much we hold our head up....we all deal with discouragement at some point or another. It's there - whether in work, at home, as a parent, in our marriage, in our friendships, in our schooling, in our faith.

Let me be real, honest, and transparent with you - I have/am dealing with discouragement in many areas. I am not going to elaborate on them all but I am going to list them - not for sympathy or attention but to share with you that you aren't alone in this struggle of discouragement...

I have been discouraged in my parenting skills - or lack thereof.
I have been discouraged in our church and in the work we do.
I have been discouraged in my marriage/family life.
I have been discouraged in my home based business.
I have been discouraged in some of my friendships.
I have been discouraged in work.

You get the idea...discouragement can creep into any area of our life and if we aren't careful - it will creep into EVERY area! This is where I found myself recently - discouraged about just about everything! It seemed no matter where I looked - I was discouraged, even when in reality there wasn't anything to be discouraged about!!!

This fall, I have been blessed to be leading a small group of women in a Bible Study on Encouragement! Here's the deal folks - by nature, I LOVE to be an encourager, it is something that I am passionate about and that resonates in me. Yet, when you are walking around in discouragement - it is REALLY hard to be an encouragement to others! Trust me it's true!
Anyway - so this Bible Study is all about encouragement - I was really excited about it! Finally, something to get my head up, get out of the rut of discouragement and smile. It has done that BUT not in the way I anticipated...you see, my toes were stomped on right off the bat! I realized that I was looking for encouragement in all the wrong places, in too many faces (ok, sing the song you know you want to!)

I was looking for it from other people - friends, husband, parents, co-workers, ANYONE! However - the first chapter nailed it - GOD IS TO BE MY BIGGEST ENCOURAGER!!! Yep...He is the One who created me, formed me, gave me purpose and meaning, He is the author and creator of encouragement! And get this...He has been there the whole time waiting for me to look at Him, to see Him cheering me on and lifting my head up! Psalm 69:32 says "Be encouraged, you who worship God." He so longs to encourage and uplift us - we just need to look to Him!

Week two - nailed it AGAIN! The WORD OF GOD is a source of encouragement. YES!!! If I will run to His Word He has encouragement waiting there for me....I Timothy 4:13. However, I will never find this encouragement if I am not faithfully opening up the word and looking for it....

This is week 3 and yep...Hit the nail on the head AGAIN! We need to be encouraged and encouraging others in our faith. Romans 1:12 says " I'm eager to encourage you in your faith, but I also want to be encouraged by yours. In this way, each of us will be a blessing to the other."
Here's the deal - as women especially, we tend to talk about EVERYTHING under the sun; marriage, kids, work, fashion, vacation, kids' activities, school, etc EXCEPT - our faith. It was summed up best in this quote "how can you encourage the faith of your sister in Christ if you never talk about the faith you share?"

That's it - how can we possibly encourage one another in our faith if we aren't TALKING about our faith? We can't!!! This was my challenge this morning as I read through my Bible Study - to talk about my faith, to encourage others in their faith, to be drawn out of my world or as Nicole Johnson says
"I need to be drawn out of my own little world, and so do you. I see women all the time who seem joyless and lonely - I can see it in their expressionless eyes."

So, here's my encouragement to YOU:
Hold your head up high sweet mom, raise your eyes up wonderful wife, wipe the dust of discouragement off and look UP - to the author and creator of YOU! He wrote your story from beginning to the end before your first breath was taken. He loves you, He is cheering for you , He is there - raise your head up and be encouraged today.

Has it been awhile since you opened His word? That's okay - today is the day it is there, rise up go to His word and be encouraged.

Are you lonely and wondering if anyone notices you? That's okay - today is the day that someone notices YOU - I notice YOU because I see myself in your lonely and lost eyes. You aren't walking alone - you have others to encourage and love you!

Are you struggling in a weight loss goal? Think that there is just no way you can do it? That's okay - God says you CAN do all things THROUGH HIM! He's there cheering you on, encouraging you to get up and try again, He makes it possible. Phil 4:13

Are you struggling in a job, career or even a home based business wondering if you will ever get ahead financially? That's okay - God knows your every need and He is there. He's going to provide a way in the wilderness and do things that you can't even imagine. Isaiah 43:19

Oh sweet friend - let's not wallow or walk or remain in discouragement! Let's commit today that we are going to rise up, look to God, His Word and be encouraged. Let's resolve to be the source of ENCOURAGEMENT that is speaking louder than the voice of discouragement.

Be honest, be real, be transparent - how can I pray for you, encourage you and cheer you on?