Encouragement

#inspiration, encourage, supportWords of encouragement have great power. Recently I learned something that helps me understand this more fully.

The word encourage is made up of the prefix en and the word courage. En means to put into. Therefore when you encourage someone you put courage into them. I loved this thought!

Personally, there have been many times when I didn’t have the confidence to take on a task or responsibility. All it took was someone to believe in me and offer encouragement and I felt equipped to move forward.

I hadn’t thought about this giving me courage, but that is exactly what it did. When others showed they believed in me, it was easier to believe in myself. That confidence allowed me to accomplish things I never thought I could.

As the year draws to a close, I reflect on all those who took the time to offer me encouragement this year. You kept me going when I felt I had nothing left to offer. Your support allowed me to blossom. My life is richer because of you. Thank you for making a difference in my life.

At the same time, I hope my words or actions have encouraged you in one way or another.

Moving forward, may we each put courage into those around us by recognizing their gifts and talents and expressing our belief in them.

“Be an encourager. The world has plenty of critics already.” Dave Willis

Quotes and Misquotes

when was the last timeMy six-year-old granddaughter was singing a popular nursery rhyme when my daughter heard her belting out the words, “Little Miss Muffet sat on a tuffet, eating her courage away.”

We had a good laugh over her misunderstanding of the words.

I wondered how someone could eat their courage away. I pictured a big bowl of alphabet pasta and the words courage and brave being scooped up on the spoon ready to be consumed.

The more I think about it, the more I realize that I have probably eaten my courage away. Every time I have the opportunity to be brave and don’t take it, I eat away at my courage. Small bites over time can leave me with very little remaining.

Being brave doesn’t have to involve big actions. It just requires a simple step in faith and trust. The willingness to take chances is courageous. Even what I perceive as failures can be stepping stones to future success.

I read some quotes that illustrate this for me. The first one is from Julia Soul . “If you are never scared, embarrassed or hurt, it means you never take chances.” Bob Perks said, “Expect that if you want to accomplish big things you’ll experience big failures along the way. You’ll know then that you’re on the right path.” These quotes remind me that I can be brave even when fearful.

From an unknown author came, “Your current safe boundaries were once unknown frontiers.” This rings true for me. I am comfortable doing things today that I never would have imagined I could do.

There are many times in the Bible where God has done great things through those that relied on the assurance that he would see them through. When I trust him to work all things for good, my courage will once again grow. If I have any doubts I need only look at his quotes from the Bible.

Be strong, all who wait with hope for the Lord, and let your heart be courageous. (Psalm 31:24 GWT)

Don’t be afraid, because I am with you. Don’t be intimidated; I am your God. I will strengthen you. I will help you. I will support you with my victorious right hand. (Isaiah 41:10 GWT)

But Christ is a faithful son in charge of God’s household. We are his household if we continue to have courage and be proud of the confidence we have. (Hebrews 3:6 GWT)

Overcoming Fear

trust, calm, Jesus, inspirationI am a non-swimmer and don’t like to be in water if my feet can’t touch solid ground. In the interest of full disclosure I admit that a big part of this is because I won’t put my face in the water. I can splash water on my face to wash it, but other than that, forget it!

My daughter and I were recently on a tropical vacation when the opportunity to snorkel was presented as an optional part of our excursion. Others quickly found flippers, masks and snorkels and entered the water. There was no thought in my mind of doing the same.

My daughter gently encouraged me to give it a try. There was no pressure from her, just a genuine concern that I may regret not having the experience. She promised to be right there with me.

I didn’t have the courage to jump from the side of the boat, but there was a ladder at the back I could use. My mind and body were screaming, “You can’t do this” as I donned the gear. The thudding of my heart was deafening as I slowly descended into the sparkling turquoise water.

My daughter was right behind me, helping me to calm down and breathe properly. As she held my hand and swam beside me I put my trust in her. Soon I was admiring tropical fish and my fear faded. I even managed to let go of her hand and paddle around a bit on my own. It was an incredible experience and one I am grateful for.  fish up close

The memory of my daughter holding my hand, calming me and guiding me safely through this challenge brought another image to mind. Jesus has done this for me many times in my life. When I’m anxious or frightened all I need to do is call on him. His calm assurance gives me courage. I know that he is always there to take my hand and lead me safely to my destination.

Don’t be afraid, for I am with you. Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will hold you up with my victorious right hand. (Isaiah 41:10 NLT)