How to Deal with Encouragement

Sounds strange doesn’t it. We talk about dealing with discouragement but not too often do we talk about dealing with encouragement.

I don’t think there has ever been a time when I have thought to myself…”Wow, I hope no one else encourages me today. I don’t think I can take one more kind word.” There have been those days when I have thought the opposite…”Wow, I don’t think I can take one more complaint, negative criticism, argument or a well intending soul letting me know what we should change in our ministry.”

Just as there is a constructive way to deal with criticism, I believe there is a constructive way to deal with encouragement.  Just this weekend I had a mom tell me how our ministry has impacted her child’s life. She walked me through the conversation between her and her son as he explained what he learned in church. That conversation led to some questions which ended with her son asking about being born again and expressing a desire to be baptized.

That mom sent an email which ended with this…“I couldn’t be happier as a parent with my church. What a blessing!!” Now, I’ll take that ALL DAY LONG! This is incredibly encouraging. So does it just end with that or is there a next step? I would say yes, there is a next step. And here is what I mean.

When someone pays me a compliment or gives me an encouraging word, it typically means more to me than that person realizes. They may not have any idea that I desperately needed to hear that. But there is a danger. The danger of believing that we are “all that.” One of the keys to growth and productivity is humility. Humility keeps us balanced with Christ at the center, not our abilities or noticeable qualities.

Humility is the understanding that God’s power flows THROUGH me, not FROM me. There is a big difference.  I’ll share with you a little exercise I utilize with every encouraging word I receive. Since I am a visual person, this is easy for me to do. Here it is…I imagine that I hold those kind words in my hand. I hold on to them momentarily to receive the blessing of that encouragement and then I offer them back to the Lord.

Why?

  1. I can only do what I do because of God’s grace.
  2. It’s not me, but He that is in me. I fully realize my short comings and limitations.
  3. By holding on temporarily, I can experience the blessing of encouragement without believing I am “all that.”

There you go. How will you deal with encouragement this week?

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