The value of encouragement

One of the best parts of a race is rounding the corner and seeing the water station just ahead.  As you slow to a jog, or in my case a walk, and grab that tiny paper cup to lift it to your lips, it is as if you receive a transfusion of energy.  Somehow, a few ounces of Gatorade in that moment at mile marker 11 makes you forget the last 10 and the fact that you still have 15.2 to go. For a split second all you are aware of is that your throat, parched from the rivers of sweat that have left your body, is bathed in cool wetness and the sugar sends a jolt down to your legs. Somehow, you find yourself picking up the pace for a little while longer.

And so it is in life.   Sometimes you are doing the hard parts of life and someone comes along and tells you, “I believe in you. I think what you are doing is great.”  Or maybe, ” God has great plans for you.”  In an instant you forget that you are out of money, out of ideas, out of energy. You can look past the kids pulling at your legs, the dog running in circles barking, and the husband asking, “what’s for dinner?”  One word of encouragement can feel like a stream of cool water that sloshes down your face and out the sides of your mouth.

There are plenty of people in this world who want to tell you that you are on the wrong path. Walk on anyway.  There are plenty of people who love to point out the negative aspects of where you find yourself. “Look” they say, “You still have 15.2 miles to go”.  Ignore them, because just around the corner is a friend with a cup of Gatorade. She will encourage you as you slow to a walk through the water station. “You can do it”, she says, “only a little further.”

God plants those encouragers along the route. Ignore the naysayers, the negative people, and when God asks you to help in this great life, volunteer to be a water station helper. You’ll do a lot more good than the guy at the mile marker reminding you how far you need to go before you get through.


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