While I speak for me on this, as all I know is how I feel, I have a strong suspicion I am not alone in this belief. It is that we all need encouragement. A little boost of loving support or affirmation in our lives.
I find I truly love those moments of words from a friend. A text of thanksgiving or seeing how I can be prayed for. It comes in all shapes and sizes.
But I quickly see how the facade of busyness doesn’t give much room for me to do that for others. Instead I get rather selfish and wonder why aren’t they checking in on me or asking how I can be prayed for. It’s really kind of ugly to look at when I do.
Because the problem lies in where my focus reigns supreme. I look at how others can be better rather than how I can be better. I simply choose to ignore that I haven’t asked about them or sent them an encouraging word. I put my own priorities and life ahead of others, thinking I have more value or my work does in the eyes of God. The deceptive nature of encouragement is thinking it is about me and who can encourage me, who can lift me up. Our hearts cry out for that community, those friends who lovingly embrace who you are in the midst of life.
Yet we often rear back and use dissatisfaction and false expectations to push them back or judge them for their lack of support.
In looking at the long-term application of this thought, I shifted to how would I look right now in encouraging my future husband. How would selfish expectations be affecting him presently? Instead of constantly reverting back to what I need, and the sinful “all about me” mentality, I have to choose to be the encourager for others.
Do you not get a different perspective when you stop making it about you and your stuff? I know I do. Lately that has been such a needed shift in my life. Focusing on how I can be supporting and loving others rather than stomping my feet and pouting because it’s not done my way. It causes some rough spots, and it feels like sandpaper on my life, but man is it powerful to step back from my life and pour into others.
While there will come a time when encouragement will be needed by me, I know for me to be wife material I have to learn to encourage others through love and strength, knowing that it flows from Christ through me. I am merely the conduit and vessel He has chosen to let it pour out through. What a gift and blessing to know He is using me for that purpose.
Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing.
1 Thessalonians 5:11 (ESV)