Saturday, August 08, 2009

what encourages you?.....

I have mentioned several times before that we do not have tv in our home. Until recently I had not seen a news report in years. A few weeks ago, while we were at someone's house during the evening news, I watched about 10 minutes of the broadcast and then had to get up and leave the room. The entire 10 minutes had been one story after another of murder, break-ins, rape, and fire. I was astonished/amazed/sickened~~10 minutes of a Louisville station was only a minute fraction of the ugliness in the world. The hatred we see shown, the hurt we see inflicted to one another is overwhelming. The concern for our fellow man seems to have been choked out by selfishness, greed, and anger. Brotherly love has been replaced by selfish desires. Neighbors squabble over the height of the grass. 'Friends' gossip about one another. Needs of others are ignored. It becomes easy to see ONLY the degradation around us; to become absorbed in the negatives and give up on seeing goodness. But we cannot give into the apathy!! As Ghandi said, We must be the change we wish to see in the world.

If we look beyond the vile, repugnant behaviors of mankind and we focus on being a true faithful Christian, being 'the change we want to see', we can find encouragement from others around us. The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines the word encourage as inspiring with courage, spirit, or hope . Inspirit, hearten, embolden, words that are interchangeable , denote the filling up with courage or strength of purpose. How awesome would this world be if we all strived to fill each other up with courage? How much good could be done if we inspired one another with courage, spirit, and hope? What stories would fill the evening news then?

It is easy to surround ourselves with negatives. We do not have to look far to see pernicious behaviors in others. But it is my choice as to what I dwell on. I decide what fills my mind and heart. I can sit around moaning and groaning about the unfairness of life or I can look past the trials that face me and can be encouraged, filled up with strength of purpose, by....
  • the unconditional love I see in my girls
  • the anonymous card of encouragement left on our pew at church
  • the neighbor that came out to help me mow the lawn of a empty house in foreclosure
  • the 'silver lining' that can be found in a situation that seems devastating
  • friends that invite us over on Sundays~~and feed us lunch!!~~ so that we have a place to 'be' between services
  • the genuine love of Christ I see in Michaela with her desire to be with fellow Christian teenagers spending as much time in study and worship with them as she is able
  • my friend Renea~~that no matter how busy her life gets, I know I can call her and fall apart and be comforted in my sorrow or whine and complain and get the kick in the pants I may need
  • genuine kindness~~with no thoughts of 'whats in it for me.'
  • my faith in a better life in heaven
  • a husband that is willing to do anything to support his family
  • the stranger at the grocery store that paid for my groceries
  • the smile from the employee in the drive-thru window
  • the excited squeal and hug from a young lady we had not seen in years
  • the neighbor girl graciously helping Emma bring her toys home
  • and on and on.......
As we go about our day to day lives, let us remember to look for all that is encouraging. Let us inspire one another to be 'the change we want to see!'