The relinquishing of encouragement…

6 02 2013

I was having a tough time a little while back in a particular aspect of my walk with the Lord. Encouragement. In light of events that were occurring in my life mixed with past issues, words spoken to me, and my own minds ability to over-think a circumstance,  I had gotten pretty down on myself about what I felt was a shortcoming as an agent of encouragement. It was eating at me and affecting my life in a number of ways. I especially noticed that I was more irritable than I typically am. If there is one sign that shows me something is wrong with my heart, it is when I get irritable simply because that is not who I am at all. I think this particular feeling of shortcoming hit harder because it is something I hold in high regard within interpersonal relationships. Many believe that the key to any relationship(plutonic or otherwise) is trust, or accountability, or communication, or love and I agreed about the importance of these things. Although, these things all take time and development through investing in the relationship. Encouragement on the other hand, requires no foundation or level of trust to give and receive between anyone. Therefore, encouragement is in my eyes a seed by which friendships are able to spring and from which trust and honesty are able to develop. Put simply, encouragement is a very important virtue to me, and I am greatly affected by failure to participate in it.

This all led to a very long conversation with a wonderful brother and teacher in my life at the time. The topic of the conversation was extensive so I will not recap it all. However, he posed a question that sparked a match deep in my heart that revealed the root of the distress with the perceived failure. He first, made clear his neutrality in my distress by admitting that he couldn’t agree or disagree with my conclusion. He helped me cut the strings between things I didn’t need to use as a judge for my present dilemma which put things in great perspective to move forward. Right before his inquisition he let me know that attempting to become a better agent of encouragement is an honorable and biblical quest which I agree with. I think most would at first sight suggest that this is a positive goal or desire. But then came the iconoclastic question. “Why do you want to improve this aspect of your life?” The potential answers being that I wanted it for myself, for others, or for Hosanna. Honestly, I wanted to improve for the others around me. My brother helped me see that unless I was doing it to better follow and become more like Hosanna, then I was doing it for the wrong reasons. How true that is! Amen? Upon admitting that it was not for Him, it was implied that any attempt to improve this on my part at this juncture would be completely self-seeking. He encouraged me to root my reasonings for this desire in the Word and potentially approach it again down the road. I decided that I simply had to lay the desire at His feet and trust that as I continue to grow in Him, He will teach me in that area or prepare my heart to seek it for the right reasons.

Isn’t it interesting that the things quite important to taking on His character are the very things we must sometimes lay before Him to do with as He pleases. Even our good desires and goals can be put in place by us for the wrong reasons and as we know the Lord is concerned with the heart of a man(1 Sam. 16:7) and even a desire to encourage can be a form of idolatry or self-righteousness. I know that it makes me reevaluate many goals and desires to see who is at the heart of them. My favorite thing the Lord is teaching me through this is that by laying it at Hosanna’s feet, I not giving up, but in fact, I am doing the opposite. In giving it over to Him, I will receive it in His good time in abundance because He is trustworthy and faithful to guide us into what is best for us and, more importantly, His glory. Remember to bring it before Him in prayer(Matt. 7:7-11). We must always be committing our goals and desires to Him trusting in His goodness and desire for us to be exactly who we are supposed to be. I hope this encourages you to lay whatever desire you are clinging to tighter than the King at His feet, so that He may correct and perfect it. I pray all you do would be in obedience to the Lord and the leading of His Spirit. Oh, how He is faithful in His leading! Isn’t He marvelous? Marvel with me at the only one worthy to be the purpose of every desire we have. Amen.

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One response

8 02 2013
Diane

Thank you for sharing this last paragraph…It is exactly what I needed to hear. Your sister in Chr_st…….

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