I posted many months ago about what God was teaching me about Learning to Walk in my journey with Him.
I was listening to a devotional on a rare solo and quiet drive the other day. The verse and insights the author shared stirred my heart.
The Lord spoke these to Joshua as he was about to lead the Israelites to the promised land in Joshua 1:9 and He was also speaking to me about learning to walk, or better yet, what I'm to do while walking.
"Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”
The author pointed out that fear and discouragement are two of the biggest challenges we face in our spiritual journey.
To discourage is to cause someone to lose confidence, hope, spirit, enthusiasm whereas to encourage someone, is to inspire confidence, hope, spirit and enthusiasm.
Imagine you're learning to run. It's awkward looking because you've never done it before.
Someone comes alongside you and says, you're doing it wrong. That's not how you're supposed to run. Why would you run like that? Look at all the people around you. Run like them. I don't understand why this is so difficult.
To say you would feel discouraged would be generous. I'd go with deflated.
But imagine, you're learning to run. It's awkward looking because you've never done it before. Someone comes up beside you and asks how're you doing. They say, I started out just like you. Along the way, I've learned to focus on lifting up my feet instead of pounding on my steps. It decreases the impact on my lower joints. If I keep my arms slightly bent at a ninety degree angle and don't cross the mid-line of my body, I save energy. When I bend slightly forward at the waist, I can use gravity to my favor. They slap you on the back and press on.
God pointed out that He has called me to be an encourager, an infuser of courage, not a highlighter of error. On any journey, whether marriage, relationships, motherhood, walking with the Lord, we all need encouragement. We want if there's a better way and how to get there without feeling like a complete failure.
That person learning to walk, they need to be infused with courage. They need to be assured of His love, reminded of His presence and that He is the great I Am.
My little Boo is now learning to talk. Tonight I heard a mini kerfuffle before she ran into the room and said with wide eyes, "I made messy mummy!" Lately we've been working on cleaning up. She knows what to do. She wasn't coming to me so that I could tell her she'd made a mess and she shouldn't have. She knew what needed to be done but needed a bit of encouragement and wanted me with her. When we re-entered her room she, looked at me and said, "Meen-up?" Yes, I said. We are going to clean it up.
So today, as you walk, be a Barney (Barnabas means "one who encourages"). I'd be willing to bet you won't need to look far to find someone who needs to be in-couraged.
Lord, work your grace deep into our hearts so that encouragement overflows. When people leave our presence, may they feel confident in your love for them and your presence in their circumstance, hopeful about your work in their lives, and enthusiastic about the spiritual adventure that lay ahead.