Archive for the ‘Encouragement’ Category
Okay, let’s admit it. Maybe we don’t have “enemies” like what you think of when you hear the word (I don’t know maybe some of you do!) but we definately have people we:
- don’t get along with
- don’t understand
- don’t like
- People who intimidate us
- People who drive us crazy
I’ve learned that when I run into people like this the best way to deal with them is through the lense of encouragement. Instead of acting on what our flesh would like to do (strangle them, scream at them, trip them and act like nothing happened) we need to realize they are human beings just like us, created in the image of God. They deserve our love and respect just like anyone else.
Here’s an example: Think of someone you would love to meet. Perhaps its a celebrity. The President of the United States. Perhaps it’s Jesus himself, in the flesh! What would you do if they walked into your work, or home and asked for something to drink? Would you snicker at them? Talk about them behind their back? Trip them and act like nothing happened? NO! Hopefully, you would bend over backwards to serve this high profile individual. If that’s the way you would treat one group of people it’s also the way you should treat the people you do not like. God Himself tells us to “show no favoritism.” (James 2)
The weapon of encouragement can and should be used for this group of people as well. Yes, it might be a little more difficult, but the results of weilding the weapon of encouragment bring harmony to those hard to deal with relationships.
What do you do when dealing with “enemies”?
There is a quote I love. One that I try to live my life by. One that fits perfectly into our discussion on encouragement as a weapon. It goes like this…
People have a way of becoming what you encourage them to be, not what you nag them to be.
As we continue to talk about using encouragement as a weapon we cannot overlook the importance of using this weapon for our husbands, children and families.
I would bet my life fighting for the truth that encouragement has tremendous power when we use it in our relationship with our husbands. Men naturally have a need for words of affirmation, especially from their wife. The reason this need exists has to do with the question they are always asking themselves “Do I have what it takes?” (Thank you Wild at Heart.) While our men should not find their self-worth in us, their wives, it doesn’t hurt to let our men know that we think the world of them.
But what if you don’t think the world of your man? What if he struggles to be the man God has called him to be? What if you are struggling in your marriage because you’re both not meeting the expectations of the other? Encourage anyway.
You want to see your man grow spiritually? Encourage him every time he does something remotely spiritual (goes to church, prays, talks about God, etc.) Instead of, “I wish we prayed more together!” say, “You are a great prayer warrior. Thank you for praying for us.” Want to see him grow in confidence? Encourage him every time he does something around the house. “Honey, you’re amazing! Is there anything you can’t do?” Want to see him grow relationally? You get the picture. People have a way of becoming what you encourage them to be, not what you nag them to be. Change the way you talk to your husband and watch him change before your eyes.
Now, I’m not a mother, so those who are will have to share their thoughts here. However, I am a daughter to a great mother and have watched how encouragement has changed my life as she used it in our relationship. Words of affirmation are a HUGE part of a child’s love language, especially as they grow up in the home. This is where they find the confidence to face life as an adult. If you as their parent, aren’t encouraging your child, who do you think is? You want to see a child shut down? Don’t encourage them. Don’t praise them. Don’t challenge them to be better by telling them you know they can do it. You want to see a child thrive? Encourage them. Praise their work. Tell them you believe they can do anything and watch as they prove you right.
Maybe you don’t have a husband, or children, but God has put you in a family to prepare you to one day be a wife and mother. Use these truths with those in your family and watch as your influence with them grows. There is nothing more powerful than the encouraging words of a woman. Use the weapon well.
As we talk about the word “weapon” we must also talk about what it is we are combating. To use a weapon against something connotes that there is also an enemy. We all know that ultimately we fight against our spiritual enemy whose one goal is to take us out. But to say that a woman’s #1 weapon is encouragement, it signifies that there are certain enemies we fight against that may be more powerful than others.
Looking at the root word encouragement we find “courage.” So let’s think of some of the enemies that encouragement fights against:
- Low self-worth
Are there some others that you would like to add to the list?
One of the most important things to remember when it comes to using this weapon of encouragement, is that it must be used first and foremost for ourselves. You might think it is wrong to encourage yourself. Maybe you feel guilty for even needing encouragement. But here’s the truth, sister: We need and should take all the encouragement we can get. Especially if the only place we’re getting it is from our own brains.
Here are four thoughts on how you can encourage yourself:
- Read a Psalm a day. (Kind David, the man who wrote most of the Psalms was always encouraging himself in the Lord. He would often use words of praise to remind himself how great God was to him. He also often reminded the Lord that he was “blameless” and “righteous” which of course is the same way God sees us since we have been covered with the blood of Jesus.
- Change your Inner Dialogue. (No more negativity, girls! You can’t afford to think or talk badly about yourself. This type of behavior has got to stop! It is a huge sign of insecurity and no one likes to be around a negative person. If you discover that you often think less of yourself I want you to stop and ask: what would God say about me in this moment.)
- Ask a trusted friend or mentor to speak truth over you. (It’s okay to ask for some encouragement every now and again. Let’s face it, we are our own worst critics, but the encouragement of someone we know and love can go a long way in helping us see the truth of who we are.
- Encourage others. (Proverbs 11:25 says, “He who refreshes others, will himself be refreshed.” If you start to feel like you could use some encouragement chances are you’re not the only one. Find someone at work, at the gym, at church or wherever you are and encourage them. This means more than just giving a complement, it may mean spending some time talking and sharing with someone. Encourage others and you will also be encouraged.
Share your thoughts on other ways we can encourage ourselves.
As I was thinking of the title of this post, I asked my husband what he thought a woman’s #1 most powerful weapon was…
I looked at him with a shameful expression. “Come, on… really.”
I made him keep guessing and his ideas ranged from tears to gossip. I told him “You’re thinking about this all wrong. You’re thinking of a weapon as a negative thing.” (Which of course makes sense because he’s a Marine!)
And perhaps you did too when you read the title. But when I talk about a woman’s #1 most powerful weapon, I’m talking about a positive weapon, a weapon we use not only for others, but ourselves as well.
A Woman’s #1 Most Powerful Weapon is: ENCOURAGEMENT
I believe it is one of the purposes for which we were created. There is so much power in the action word, encourage. To miss the truth that it is our #1 most powerful weapon is a tragedy too many women find themselves facing. So this week we are going to be discussing the effects of this positive weapon of encouragement in these four areas:
- Our Loved Ones
- Our Enemies and
I hope you might join into the discussion by leaving a comment or Tweeting about this post so all can share. You can also grab the RSS feed down on the right hand column and have daily posts sent right to your e-mail.
Questions for discussion:
Do you agree that ENCOURAGEMENT is a woman’s #1 most powerful weapon? Why or why not?
How have you seen encouragement work positive outcomes in your life?