I want to be that kind of encourager

Time was running out and I just couldn’t do any more reps. It was one of those volume workouts that included a run, followed by fifty burpees, and then fifty wall balls. Repeat and repeat and repeat. I don’t remember how many rounds I had done, but the 14 pound ball suddenly felt like it weighed 50. Time hadn’t yet run out, but I was done. A voice next to me said, “Come one, I’ll do them with you.” We did about ten more together.

I want to be that kind of encourager. I’ve never been to a CrossFit class, home or away, where I didn’t get a fist bump from the coach and at least two other people. It didn’t matter how I though I performed that day. I was there, I made it through the workout, and that’s what mattered.

I had just finished my presentation. It didn’t go as well as I hoped. Even though I thought I had practiced enough, I felt like I could have done better. But when the evaluations came, every comment was, “I really liked this…I enjoyed the way you did that…I love how you included this…” Yes, there were suggestions on ways to improve. But they made me feel like mine was the best they had heard all day.

I want to be that kind of encourager. In both of the training classes I took to teach in the Good News Clubs, I always came away with the kind of encouragement that made me believe I could do this. I could effectively teach these kids.

It is far too common to hear nothing but complaints and criticism. Encouragement, however, is that rare jewel that accomplishes so much more. It motivates me to keep going, to try harder, and to do better. I’ve got to believe it has that effect on others, too.

So I’m going to learn to be that kind of encourager.

An encouraging word

The Sunday before last, a vacationing pastor worshiped with us along with his wife and two grandsons. I thought I recognized him and my suspicions were confirmed when I saw the visitor card he filled out.

Later that week, I got an encouraging email from him unlike any I’ve ever received. After introducing himself, he complimented me on my preaching, including a summary of the message with direct quotes that were meaningful to him. I rarely get feedback like that, and I can’t say enough about how much it meant to me. I plan on giving feedback like that the next time I get some time off and get to be in the congregation.

Thank you, pastor, for reminding me about the awesome power of encouragement!