August 12, 2015

The Encouragement Of Others

Photo: Creative Commons, by Visit St. Pete/Clearwater

In my last post, I discussed the how we can find encouragement in solitude. But, of course, we can also find encouragement from others.

Later that evening after posting my last blog, I went out on the water with another paddler. We went out in the harbor to teach ourselves how to do more than just stand on our boards. We wanted to learn how to walk on our boards and how to do turns requiring us to be able walk backward and forward on our boards, a very difficult and challenging task for just about every paddler when first trying it. This is something I've been wanting to learn, and it was my goal to learn it before the end of the summer. So, I tired it.

At first, trying to pick my feet up off the board felt nearly impossible. It felt like my feet were glued to my board. I thought for sure I was going to completely lose my balance and end up in the water, or even worse, face plant on my board. But I knew I had to lift my foot and trust that, if I take that first step, God would guide me the rest of the way.

My fellow paddler and I would occasionally look over to each other to see how we were both doing. She encouraged me as she saw me trying to walk (I wasn't graceful, but instead looked like a baby taking its first steps). And while it felt good to have encouragement from her, it felt even better to encourage her! She was doing awesome, and I just kept saying, "There you go! You've got it!" Just saying those words to another person lifted my own spirits so high.

One of the things we both realized as we were trying these new techniques is that we had to go back to the basics, the things we learned the first time we ever stood on a board:  don't look down (it was only after Peter looked down that he began to sink) and stabilize yourself with the paddle in the water.

While I still have more practice to do to be able to walk more confidently and more gracefully on my board, I felt like those first steps, though small and awkward, were a huge start. I started to feel "unstuck," and I don't think I would have tried as hard to make myself take those steps if there wasn't someone there by side encouraging me and challenging me. I've been feeling stuck in a lot of areas of my life lately, and it helps me to become unstuck when I have friends who encourage me as I take one scary, wobbly step at a time.

Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing. (I Thessalonians 5:11)

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