When I was studying the word encouragement I understood that it means to give support, confidence or hope to someone. It means to invigorate, inspire or motivate. To encourage someone means to boost their spirit, cheer them on. You may say phrases like you got this, good job or keep holding on. It’s easy to encourage someone else, right? Whether you mean it or not. We are use to lifting someone one else up but when we are in a hard place, we sometimes find it hard to encourage ourselves.
When we are feeling down. When we are facing a difficult task. When things seem to not be going right or when we feel afraid it’s hard to find the words that we need to pick ourselves up. It’s not that we don’t know what to say. We know the word of God . We know all the inspirational gospel songs; however, I think that it’s finding the strength to do it. When you are bogged down with emotions because of your circumstances it may be complicated to tap into your power and speak a word over yourself. Does this sound familiar to you? Have you ever been there? Can you relate?
The more I thought about what it meant to encourage I thought about David. The Bible tells us that when David was in the wilderness he was in distress because the people were threatening to stone him, so David had to encourage himself in the Lord. He had to build himself up. He had to pray for himself. He had to motivate himself. David had to remember that the same God that delivered him from the claws of the bear would deliver him in the wilderness. Maybe you are in distress or feeling hopeless. Maybe you are doubting if God is really there. If so I want to encourage you to encourage yourself. Don’t give up hope. Don’t get discouraged. God is only a prayer a way. He’s not stressing you. He’s stretching you. God wants to know how you will respond. Will you respond in fear and worry or will you respond with confidence and faith?
I had the chance to finally watch the movie Harriet. What an awesome movie of courage and bravery. I think my family was tired of me by the end of the movie because I definitely picked it apart and talked through the whole thing. I feel that every movie has an important theme and if we pay close attention it can give us an encouraging message that we can apply to our lives. Am I weird for doing that or is it something you do as well?
While watching the movie I learned that Harriet was born into slavery. She was born bound and shackled; however, she turned a bad situation into something great when she decided to walk into her God given identity and take her role as leader. She did not let fear hinder her from moving forward into the thing that she knew God had called her to do. She operated in confidence and faith and because of that she was able to lead hundreds of slaves to freedom through the underground railroad. I can imagine she had some bad days. There were times when she was frustrated and overwhelmed. She may even had times when she wanted to give up and quit but she knew that in order for her to be free, in order for other slaves to be free, she had to press. There were some people she had to leave behind. There were some things and people that she had to let go of in order to be free. Everybody is not meant to go with you were you are going no matter how much you want them too.
I’m learning that my plans are not God’s plans. He knows what’s best even when I don’t understand. I’ve been on this journey of acceptance. I was astounded when he showed me that I was still writing my mom in my story. I was still including her into things as if she was still here. The same night I watched Harriet, I also cooked supper and completely ruined the food for my family because I was still cooking as if she had to eat too. I did not add any salt because mama couldn’t have salt. I was so use to taking care of her and cooking for her. I realized that I still haven’t let mama go. So I pray that God will give me the strength to let her go. Not of the memories or the love that I have for her but to let go of the plans that I had for her. Lord help me to accept that your will was done and help my heart to accept that she is really gone. Help my heart to understand that although mama is not here physically, her spirit will live on forever. So like Harriet help me to be brave and courageous and to not be afraid to let go so that I can receive all that you have for me and be who you have created me to be. Are you still holding on to something or someone that you shouldn’t be? Are you ready to let it go?
The Samaritan woman was known for her frequent visits to and from the well. Who knows why she visited the well so much. Maybe she needed the water to wash dishes or maybe it was laundry day and she needed the water to wash clothes. It could have been anything, right?! On one particular day she visited the well and a visitor was waiting for her. I personally think that her encounter with Jesus that day was not by happenstance or coincidence. I believe Jesus was very intentional about sitting at the well not only because he was thirsty but because he knew the Samaritan woman was thirsty too just in a different way.
Have you ever found yourself going through the same thing at the same time every year? Have you noticed yourself repeating the same cycles in life? As I researched I realized that cycles are a series of repeated events that render the same results. The Samaritan woman was in a cycle too. She had already married five times and she was living with a man that was not her husband. Jesus knew why she made so many trips to the well and he wanted to give her a way out of the cycle that she had created. See the Samaritan woman was not visiting the well because she was thirsty physically. There was something that her soul and her heart thirsted for. There was something that she was missing so she married over and over again repeating the same cycles but once she encountered the Messiah he was able to offer her something that would quench her thirst, something that would break the cycle of the need to be accepted. He was able to offer her something that would break the cycle of the need to fit in. I think it’s safe to say that she was looking for love in the wrong places. I’ll raise my hand right here. I am definitely guilty of thirsting after the wrong things at time. We look for these things from our family, our friends and our significant others but this kind of love, acceptance , value and self- worth can only be found through our relationship with God and in ourselves. I think it’s time for us to stop looking for people to fulfill us. I think it’s time that we accept the fact that every one is not going to always applaud us or pat us on the back. Everyone is not going to love us the way that we love them or be as nice to us as we are to them. We like the Samaritan woman may need to take a trip to the well and get a dose of the living water. Are you thirsty? Are you ready to visit the well?