Out of all the things that keep me motivated in life, encouragement from friends and family is one of the front-runners. I have always known this, but it wasn’t until I listened to Ray Johnston’s sermon when he spoke at Fellowship Monrovia that I gained a better understanding of how important staying encouraged is. According to Pastor Ray Johnston from Bayside Church in Granite Bay, California, encouragement is the most important thing when it comes to being a follower of Jesus. He also talks about how pastors around the world also need to stay encouraged because they are the ones keeping us encouraged. In my opinion, staying encouraged is also the most important thing in life in general. Whether it’s a small phrase or an inspirational speech, encouragement can inspire us to do anything. Also, one of my friends Chloe Conrad emailed me a few weeks ago encouraging me to blog about this topic. So thank you to Ray Johnston and Chloe Conrad, for making this post possible!
|| Click here for Pastor Ray Johnston’s sermon on Encouragement ||
I have been really annoyed with my twitter account lately because there are so many things that are providing negative encouragement for me. Some recent tweets that I have encountered are “Lol, are my grades April fools too or?” and “I guess I am in shape because circle is a shape.” I know the discouraging tweets we read are hilarious, but they are subconsciously lowering our expectations for ourselves, whether we are talking about self-image or school. Don’t get me wrong, it is possible for social media networks to be a place of encouragement, but the expectations that our society promotes are just tearing us down. Although, it is possible to encourage people via your social media account, it is rare that people actually use their twitter to do so. When I am working on an essay that I procrastinating on, I need someone to encourage me throughout the process instead of logging onto twitter and being drowned in negative energy. It is possible to seek encouragement in our social media accounts! There is nothing wrong with deleting people on your social media accounts that bring you down. Seek accounts that offer daily encouragement.
We may not realize it, but as humans we feed off encouragement. It is what gets us through our day. Life is hard as it is and a little bit of encouragement can go a long way. In my life, I try to do my best to encourage people when they are in need of it. Whether it is sending a text to a friend that is awaiting test results or sending cards to my friends away at school during their finals weeks, I have made encouragement a priority because I have realized its importance. On the other hand, I am the type of person that needs constant encouragement in my life.
One important thing you need to remember when it comes to seeking encouragement is distinguishing the difference between being guilty and being encouraged. I remember a very specific time when I was struggling with being a “luke-warm”, Christian. Francis Chan’s highly recommended book, Crazy Love, brought these feelings upon me. I texted my youth pastor, Keegan Lenker and told him about the guilt I was feeling about this subject matter. He reassured me that guilt does not come from God. God does not call us to feel guilty about our sins; he calls us to feel encouraged about making improvements. So instead of feeling guilty about something, be encouraged, it can change your outlook and attitude about your life and relationship with God.
The great thing about the lack of encouragement in our world is that it is something that can be fixed. I want to inspire people who are reading this to encourage five people this week. For all my avid encouragers, encourage a little more than you do already. And for those of you, who often forget to encourage people, step out of your comfort zone and shoot someone a text or even write a little letter (LETTERS ROCK). Not only will you inspire your friend to complete a task or have a better day, but it will help you too. Doing a good deed, like encouraging someone, can put you in a better mood.
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