I am an encourager.
And I hate it.
I try not to be. I try to hold it in, keep it to myself, just nod my head. But I can’t. Something inside me bubbles up when I hear someone struggling and I have to speak truth to them. I can’t help it.
I don’t do it in a passive aggressive way. You know what I am talking about. “Oh my gosh, you are so skinny. I wish I was skinny too.” Or “You are like so beautiful, and I am such a hideous beast.”
I do not give “false compliments”; in fact I do not give compliments. I speak truth.
Now I know what you are thinking. Why is that a bad thing?
Well, I will tell you . . . no one believes me. Everyone thinks I am full of it or ignores the truth I just spent my heart pouring out. And it hurts. It hurts when someone thinks that the words I have chosen, that mean so much to me, fall onto hard soil. It hurts every time. I see their eyes glaze over or their hand go up in a dismissive wave. I want so badly to shake them and tell them, “Listen to me!” (Full disclosure: sometimes I do.)
I also am an awesome cheerleader, which makes people wary. They wonder if you are trying to get something out of them or if you are secretly jealous. But here is the deal with that . . .
The Bible is clear: “Mourn with those that mourn, rejoice with those that are awesome.” That’s the Kristin translation.
It is my great joy to cry with you and be deeply affected by the things in your life. It’s also my great joy to celebrate with you. Do a happy dance! Shout it from the rooftops!
Why is it so hard to accept the truth God sees? Why is it so hard to let other people champion us? Why can so many of us NOT ACCEPT A COMPLIMENT TO SAVE OUR LIVES??
I’m not sure.
False modesty? Insecurity? Pride? Culture?
But I would say identity. When I am struggling, I still know God’s truth. I know that if success never comes, if all my kids go off the deep end, if my husband is no longer there, I will be okay. I do not live, even one day, for the praise of man, but I long for the love of Christ with every breath I take. So much that I want to share it with others. BADLY.
When someone is complimenting you (truthfully), someone is sharing Christ with you. When someone is encouraging you, they are speaking the Father’s heart over you.
Here is my challenge to you: encourage your friends. Even when there isn’t a thing in it for you. Even when they can’t do it back. Even when they don’t accept it. And cherish the encouragement of others.
We are not in competition with each other, we have already won. We have Christ.