As I write this morning, I am doing so with you in mind.  What can I provide for you to lighten your load, lift your wings, and put wind in your sails?  I hope this blesses you, my friends.

Let me begin with some questions to get you engaged today.  Has anyone encouraged you too much?  Have you ever put your head on a pillow and thought that you received too much encouragement that day?  Has anyone told you that you encourage them too much?

If I were to presume your answers—might I predict that your answers to all three questions are the same? I think the consistent answer is “no”.

I believe encouragement is the fuel of life.  If your burden today is heavy, you need encouragement to help you lighten the load and continue your journey.  If you find yourself in a season of depression or darkness, you need an encouraging voice speaking life into your situation.  If you find yourself looking ahead to a difficult challenge, you need a voice or words that will give you the energy and staying power to take one step at a time, knowing that each step gets you closer to your goal.  You need encouragement.

Now, I switch my thinking to the people around me—my family members, my close friends, or my work colleagues.  Who amongst these groups needs me to be the source of inspiration, encouragement, or exhortation?  Who do you and I know that needs us to say just the right thing at the correct time?  Who needs the encouragement that I can provide?  Could I pick up my phone, go to their home or workplace, send a timely, positive email or write a note of encouragement?

You see, encouragement and inspiration swings both ways.  Sometimes you and I need encouragement and sometimes others need encouraging and inspiring words from us.

Let me provide four likely scenarios.

#1   As a friend, God has surrounded you with others with whom you enjoy a close relationship.  You know that this friend is going through a challenging phase of life and you have two choices.  You can say or do nothing and assume that your friend will get through difficult circumstances.  Your next option is the right choice—you reach out and show concern, speak life into the person and continue to walk with them every step of the way through the challenge.  If you are the friend with the challenge, which of the two choices would you want a friend to make for you.

#2 As a family member, you have a child who is learning for the first time to participate in a group or team activity.  You can be your child’s strongest advocate and cheerleader, or you can be their toughest critic.  Whatever you are, your child will believe.  Speaking life and encouragement builds your child’s confidence that he or she will succeed.  Words like “next time” or “you need to” send an instant message to your child that they are not doing well.  With my experience, let me make this simple—be the voice of encouragement and love for your children.

#3 As a leader, you are responsible to guide your team towards the accomplishment of team or organization goals.  You can walk by your team member work stations and say nothing, or during your daily journey you can pause, smile, ask questions, and most importantly, say a few “attaways” about their work, their production and their role on your team.  Remember, it is your team to lead.

#4 As a coach, your team is struggling in a tough season—losing more than winning, blaming one another, and behaving like a team that is losing.  You and I both know what your team needs—change and encouraging words.  Change comes from a coach who knows what changes to make, explains the changes clearly to the team, and speaks confidence into the team that the changes will bring positive outcomes.  As a football coach, my message was consistent—we will find a way to overcome—we will find the path to victory—and we will find it together!

We live in a culture that has become increasingly negative, disrespectful, and divided.  We need more positive—and today lets you and I agree—let’s speak life and love into those around us!  They need it and so do you and me!  Encouragement swings both ways!

Three challenges for you:

  • Today, think of three people in your circle of influence that need to be encouraged. Now pick up the phone and make the call—listen and lift up.
  • Tomorrow, send a note of encouragement to a friend.
  • In the next seven days, make contact with three other people—just to check in, listen and respond with positive words.

Thanks for being in my circle of influence. I want to “lift your wings.”

God’s very best,

Ross

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