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Your Go-To Weapon Against Discouragement
On a scale of 1 to 10, how encouraged are you today? Are you somewhere in the middle?
As we go through each day, I think we often walk a very fine line between encouragement and discouragement. One moment, everything is positive – your feeling good – and then out of nowhere, something doesn’t quite go as you had hoped or you hear a piece of bad news and you find yourself battling discouragement.
Over this past year, probably more than any year in recent history, this world has given us many opportunities for discouragement. While most people try hard to stay positive even in challenging situations and seasons, we can all get discouraged.
So how have you been dealing with discouragement?
Over this past year, I’ve become convinced there is an often-overlooked weapon that we have that trumps all self-help tips and defeats discouragement every time. Are you ready for this?
The way to turn the tables when facing discouragement is to go encourage someone else.
Normally, you would think you could only be an encouragement to someone when you are on a high. That’s what makes this such a great weapon! Encouraging someone else works even if you are down. Both the encourager and the encouraged get lifted up!
Entrepreneur and Wall Street blogger, James Altucher said, “The reality is: when you’re feeling discouraged, the best way to lift yourself up is to encourage others. Then you see your possibilities, instead of being buried in your miseries.”
Speaking personally, I think what has helped me keep my sanity and stay encouraged over the past 18 months is that I’ve endeavoured to stay focused on encouraging others around me. Encouraging people to stay connected and not isolated – to centre on Jesus and on heaven’s big picture.
Keeping my eyes less on myself and more on those I love, on my neighbours and on my brothers and sisters in Christ has been energizing and has kept me encouraged.
The Art of Encouragement
Like any powerful weapon such as a sword or even a martial art, it can take a bit of practice to learn how to master the art of encouraging others. If you have the motivational gift of encouragement that the Bible mentions in Romans 12:8, this may come easy to you, but we can all grow in this and become master encouragers.
Here are just a few things I’ve learned about encouragement along the way that will serve as a powerful weapon against discouragement:
- Encouragement is continual.
Encouraging others around us isn’t something we do just once in a while. It’s like the joke about the wife who asks her husband why he never tells her he loves her and he replies, “I did tell you I loved you on our wedding day, and if anything changes I’ll let you know.” Just like a healthy marriage continually communicates love, those in healthy relationships continually communicate encouragement to each other.
“So continue encouraging one other and building each other up, just like you are doing already.” 1 Thessalonians 5:10-12 CEB
An atmosphere of continual encouragement is incredibly healthy and we are all drawn closer to those we encourage and those who encourage us. It’s the atmosphere we want in our homes, our workplaces and our communities. It’s God’s design for His church. Who wouldn’t want to be part of a church or small group where everyone genuinely encourages each other continually? I so appreciate how our Pastors Dave and Cheryl have cultivated a culture of encouragement among the staff and ministry team. Almost every team meeting kicks off with each one of us sharing encouraging highlights that we’ve seen from the past week and inevitably, we all receive personal encouragement as we cheer each other on.
Let’s spread this culture of encouragement!
- Encouragement sees the progress.
This is the glass half full. This is where we focus on the wins, whether they’re big or small. I used to look down on small victories – always looking out for the big wins. In hindsight, I see that it left me battling discouragement way too often.We encourage ourselves and others by focusing on the progress we have seen – on how far we have come – no matter how insignificant it may seem. As we magnify the progress, it fuels us and others around us to keep moving forward.Paul heard about the progress of the church in Colosse and was so fueled by it, he wrote the Colossians a letter to encourage them back:
“Our prayers for you are always spilling over into thanksgivings. We can’t quit thanking God our Father and Jesus our Messiah for you! We keep getting reports on your steady faith in Jesus, and the love you continuously extend to all Christians.” Colossians 1:3-4 MSG
Choosing to see the progress will allow us to enjoy even more progress!
- Encouragement is not the same as pity.
When we encourage others, it is genuinely for the purpose of building them up in their faith. The Bible says to weep with those who weep and it’s important to empathize with those of us who are discouraged but there’s a fine line. We won’t encourage someone by taking on their discouragement or by joining in any self-pity. Often, the best way to encourage someone who is in a funk is to help them get their eyes off themselves. This is where the art of encouragement comes in. Sometimes encouragement involves speaking a hard truth in love or cautioning people who are off track. All of it requires patience.
“And we urge you, brothers and sisters, warn those who are idle and disruptive, encourage the disheartened, help the weak, be patient with everyone.” 1 Thessalonians 5:14 NIV
- Encouragement is often done with our actions.
We usually think of encouraging others with our words, but our actions can be an even more powerful weapon against discouragement for ourselves and others.When we are faithful and reliable in our homes and our jobs, it’s encouraging to those around us. When we consistently show up for church or for life group, it fuels and encourages our church family and our life group leaders.Sometimes we forget that our actions can have a demoralizing effect on others also. As a life group coach, I see that as probably the biggest area where life group leaders can battle discouragement when they go through the effort of praying and preparing for their groups and only a few in their group show up.
I’ve noticed as we’ve begun reopening our locations to attend in person that it has been “over the moon” encouraging for people to see others in church again. Everyone is so encouraged just by the presence of each other gathering together.
And as we are building up our volunteer teams again for hosting, or production, or kids and youth church, it has been such a huge encouragement to see people stepping up and offering to serve at our various campuses and microsites. Every one of you who are serving are such a huge encouragement to our church family! And as a bonus you get to experience the joy and encouragement of serving – the helper’s high.
“…and let’s consider how to encourage one another to love in word and in action, not abandoning our own meeting together, as is the habit of some people, but encouraging one another; and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.” Hebrews 10:23-25 NASB (paraphrase)
As we continue forward anticipating all the great things God has ahead let’s learn to wield this powerful weapon against discouragement and become masters of encouraging others.
If you are encouraged by this blog and have not made Jesus the Lord of your life we would like to give you the opportunity to receive Him today. We invite you to pray this prayer out loud:
“Dear God, I thank you that you love me and have a plan for my life. I believe Jesus died on a cross and rose again for me. I put my trust in Jesus Christ to come into life and make me a new person. Amen”
If you prayed this prayer, we would love to support you in this new life of faith. Click HERE for next steps.
Also, if the “Pray With A Pastor” button is visible on your screen, you may click now to pray with one of us and be encouraged in your next steps.