My husband and I have been married 20 years and worked hard for every one of those! We believe God has shown us so much grace as He had to do a lot of breaking to make us recognize that He put two opposites together intentionally to balance one another out! That we are to learn from one another and watch what He can do as He works through us individually and as a married couple. Despite what modern counsel may say, this world really isn’t about “us.” It’s about letting Jesus work through us. It’s about becoming LESS selfish and more generous.
Marc, my husband, is so gifted in leadership and loves to tackle difficult challenges. He is confident and sure of himself. He looks at what he can do, not what he can’t, and does those things very well. One particular evening we were walking and he said, “Tanya, the problem you have is you never give yourself any stars.”
I questioned, “What are you talking about?”
Marc continued in a humorous, but somewhat serious tone, “I look for what I do well during the day and mentally give myself a star. The things I need to improve on I work on, but I never ignore the things I do well.”
Marc inquired, “So, how many stars have you given yourself today, honey? I bet none.” He was right. None. Not one.
Why is it that we so often keep a record of all our failures but never bring to mind the things we have done well; the things we have overcome through God’s help or the things we are improving on?
As followers of Christ, I think we sometimes fear encouraging ourselves in this manner. I think we fear pride and self-righteousness. I’m not saying we shouldn’t keep it in check, but to go through our days only being mindful of the things we feel like we aren’t doing well or feel inadequate with, will be the quickest way we lose our zeal and zap our energy!
“…David strengthened himself in the Lord His God.” 1 Samuel 30:6
When we encourage ourselves, we are taking note of what God has done through us; what God is changing in us; where God is challenging us (so that we improve) and what God is showing to us. We honor Him when we make ourselves mentally aware of all these things, however small or big those might be.
Hebrews 3:13 “But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called ‘Today,” so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness.”
Sin is very deceitful and when we don’t intentionally encourage ourselves and others, we will slowly become frustrated, exhausted, insecure and sometimes bitter. Our hearts tighten up and the calcification of deep discouragement settles in. This is a condition where we no longer see things are worth the effort we are giving them and we lose confidence in what we are doing. We begin to simply burn out. It’s a place where we no longer see how God is moving in us and question if we are really helping anyone. It hardens our hearts, making them feel dry, weary, and empty. We don’t realize how important encouraging ourselves really is!
So, my challenge for us is to go through our days with our star stickers ready! And maybe, symbolically, pass some out to others too! We all need encouragement! As we begin to take note as to how we are growing, overcoming, and helping others, we will begin to stomp out the “IM” of IMPOSSIBLE… and begin to see how Christ is making so many things POSSIBLE! The more we see His Presence in our present, the more hope, strength, and success we will have in whatever it is He is calling us to do and be!
In His Grace and Love,