There are people in life who will cheer you on, believe in you and will see the best in you in spite of your weaknesses and there are those who will make you feel like they know it better. I would say that I have been surrounded by both of these groups of people in the past 10 years.
I was able to process my past and the abuse I suffered and have become more mature as I stepped out to do things and gave things a go because of people who believed in me, listened to me and encouraged me without any judgement. Encouraging words and prophecies spoken over me have also freed me and helped me to become a better version of myself.
In the recent years, I have come across organisational structures, people with different views and backgrounds who have made me feel I somehow knew less and I had to work harder in order to be accepted and my views to be valued. Don’t get me wrong, there were still people who would encourage and support me but various organisational structures have made it harder to carry on growing as a leader and to reach my full potential.
I did learn to be more patient and understanding towards those with different beliefs but feeling that my ideas and opinions were always questioned have made me doubt myself and eventually it has made it a lot harder to express my thoughts and pushed me to take a step back.
Encouragement means empowerment, when people believe in us and push us to our limit, we will try harder and we will step out of our comfort zones more. When people stop to listen to what we want to say, it will be harder to believe that our voice matters.
Effective leadership is about seeing potential in others and giving them an opportunity to grow and develop and to challenge themselves and others around them. Encouragement also means that you are helping the individual to develop something in them and it might not be what a person wants to hear.
Young people when they are given the space and voice they are able to bring change that older people might find harder to do. As time goes on people become more cautious and more used to their own way of doing things. Young people are called to bring light and hope to the older generation by exercising leadership and by simply being who they are, therefore we need to have more faith in them.
The Bible is all about individuals who didn’t feel they were capable or good enough and then God came along and told them otherwise. He chose leaders using an entirely different set of criteria than men do. And we could ask how did these leaders perform? As long as they had faith in God, in their calling and followed God’s guidance, they performed really well.
Did you know that the Greek word for “encourage,” parakaleo, appears 105 times just in the New Testament? Throughout the Bible we see instructions to encourage one another and to build each other up. Encouragement is necessary in our walk of faith.
The members of the early church contributed to their services with prophecies, encouragements, prayers, songs, speaking in tongues, sharing communion together etc…. None of the members had any special training but were all invited to share what God has put on their heart.
The beauty of this was that they trusted each other and had faith that God could speak through each one of them. So lets encourage one another, have faith in each other and challenge each other to step into our calling and to never back down.