We must develop the discipline of encouragement. I say this because most of us (me included) find ourselves encouraged when times are good, and discouraged when they are not. We, like little boats afloat out in the sea of situation, are tossed to and fro by the wind and waves of whatever happens to be happening. So what can be done to change this? Developing the discipline of encouragement.
Now I'm not talking about positive self talk. "I'm good enough, smart enough, and doggonit, people like me." Blech. That, and the nonsense on those "inspiriational" posters with pictures of whale flukes that hung in your high school guidance counselor's office, won't get you very far. I'm talking about seeing evidences of God's grace, even in the midst of trial, and encouraging yourself when the waves of life are crashing all over the ship of your soul. Here are few things encouraging me right now.
The Holy Spirit Duh, right? But seriously, I've had a handful of people just walk up to me this week and give me God-inspired encouragement. It was just awesome. If you've got the gift of encouragement, get out there and use it. People like me need it.
Ministry Look, ministry isn't always encouraging. But right now I can see the deep work that God is doing in my people, and it's awesome to watch. There are tons of challenges too. Money needs to be raised for this and that. Plans need to be drawn up. Sermons need prepping. But if Jesus can change the guys I'm mentoring, for example, then there's hope for the rest of it.
My Wife Who you marry reeeeeaaaaalllllyyyy matters. This week I screwed up a couple of times. Instead of rubbing my nose in it, my sweet wife forgave me. She loves me, even when I'm at my worst. She's constant. Steady. That's really encouraging.
Dreams I'm not talking about what happens in my head at night. I'm talking about some of the big dreams that I've got for the future. It's encouraging to think that some of my dreams have come true, so more can too.
What's encouraging you today? Having a hard time thinking of anything. Well, press pause on the pity party for a minute and pray, asking the Holy Spirit to open your eyes to evidences of His grace. You'll be surprised (and encouraged) by what you see.