No Encouragers in the Camp?

Share

Everyone needs a little encouragement in life: a “You can do it!” cheer, or a “Way to go!” pat on the back. Dreamers, in particular, need to surround themselves with people who are willing to encourage them to pursue their dreams and achieve their goals. But not everyone is an exhorter, and for a variety of reasons, there will be people in your life who will find it difficult to be in your corner when you’re struggling to accomplish something great, or to share in your victories once you do.

A general lack of encouragement can make the road to success lonely and harder to travel, but one of the hardest things to bear is the lack of support among your closest friends and even family members! If you have that support then you are indeed blessed. Unfortunately many who dare to dream big may find there are no encouragers in their camp!

Give us a cheer. No, no, not a raspberry!

We’ve been greatly blessed to have friends and family who believe in us and what we’re trying to accomplish. In fact, our closest loved ones are also our biggest fans; and it’s hard to imagine tackling our goals without their support and encouragement. But not everyone is as fortunate. In fact, the people closest to you are often the last to believe in you and your abilities, to rally behind you, or to praise your achievements. And believe it or not, even Jesus Christ experienced some of this familial disbelief and disinterest when He walked the earth.

Once, while Jesus was working hard to fulfill His great dream of reconciling our lost and wayward world back to God the Heavenly Father, “…The crowds began to gather again. Soon He and His disciples couldn’t even find time to eat. When His family heard what was happening, they tried to take Him away. ‘He’s out of his mind,’ they said.” (Mark 3:20-21 NLT) It’s easy to imagine that if Christ had allowed it, His family would have hurried Him home and done their best to convince Him to “give up this foolish dream!” Thank God — literally! — Jesus stayed the course all the way to the Cross and beyond.

When it concerns our friends and family members, it’s vitally important we understand the thoughts and motivations behind a general lack of encouragement, because…well…these are our loved ones, and their attitudes stem, innocently enough, from the most common traits of human nature. Yes, even your blood relations can harbor resentment from fear and jealousy: everyone has dreams, and it’s hard to watch someone else — sometimes even a family member — move forward when you seem to be stuck in neutral. No one wants to feel left behind.

But more often, friends and family lack conviction about our greatest goals and most daring dreams simply because they have trouble viewing us as the type of person able to accomplish great and daring things! No, they’re not necessarily diminishing our talents and abilities; but most people share a common misconception that extraordinary things can only be accomplished by extraordinary people, and few of us recognize our friends and family as being extraordinary!

The people we’ve known the longest are the ones with whom we’re most familiar: our dearest friends and family. And the “familiar” is never extra-ordinary — it’s what we’re used to; it’s ORDINARY. Jesus Christ was familiar to His family and the townspeople He grew up with. Hence, Jesus was viewed as commonplace, not the sort of  individual who writes history!

[When Jesus] returned to Nazareth, his hometown… He taught there in the synagogue, [and] everyone was amazed and said, “Where does He get this wisdom and the power to do miracles?” Then they scoffed, “He’s just the carpenter’s son, and we know Mary, His mother, and His brothers—James, Joseph, Simon, and Judas. All His sisters live right here among us. Where did He learn all these things?” And they were deeply offended and refused to believe in Him. (Matthew 13:54-57 NLT)

The people closest to us are often the ones who see us as commonplace: we’re the familiar, the ordinary; but it’s often the most ordinary people who accomplish the most extraordinary things. For instance, as a young man, Thomas Edison was viewed by his instructors as VERY ordinary. They told his parents he’d never amount to much, but as an adult, Edison invented and patented hundreds of items, including the first viable lightbulb!

Feeling ordinary? Jesus said, “A prophet is honored everywhere except in his own hometown and among his relatives and his own family.” (Mark 6:4 NLT) Just remember, you’re friends and family may not share in your dreams, but they still love you; and they usually don’t intend to rain on your parade. So pursue your dreams with confidence. Encourage yourself in theLord, as King David did, (1 Samuel 30:6) and accomplish EXTRAordinary things!

On the flip side, do you have a dreamer in the camp? Be an encouragement to that close friend or family member. They need your support!

Share

Got Aggravations? No Sweat! (Diet for Dreamers)

Share

Smile and the world smiles back at you! Right? Well, not always. Our society has its fair share of scrooges and sourpusses, bigots and bad seeds.

We can’t control how people will treat us in this life. We can’t make them value us or our work. We have no control over whether they will value us or show us respect. And we should never try to force any of these things! We have better things to do than dealing with the shortcomings of those bad eggs we daily encounter. For one, we should be far more concerned, and far busier, about the business of pursuing our dreams and achieving our goals.

We can’t change people or their perceptions. But we CAN control how we’ll respond to their treatment. We can let their stares and suspicious looks, their critical comments and nasty attitudes, penetrate and get under our skin — or we can let it all bounce off our backs as we face new horizons and explore promising opportunities. In other words, we don’t need to spend any precious time or emotional energy on what others are saying. Ignore Negative Nancy, Bobby Bad-mouther, Pessimistic Patty, Jealous Johnny, Debbie Downer, and Arguing Andy.

Nothing can zap your peace and creativity faster than being around these “foul friends” and engaging in their toxic emotions. We can “entertain” thoughts of frustration, anger, unforgiveness, and rejection — and allow such strong emotions to poison us and our prospects; or we can choose to “flip the channel” and get on with more important stuff. Big stuff, not “small stuff”!

In his book, Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff, Dr. Richard Carlson, Ph.D. states: “The first step in becoming a more peaceful person is to have the humility to admit that, in most cases, you’re creating your own emergencies. Life will usually go on if things don’t go according to plan.” Beyond our social interactions, a few of the other things that often tend NOT to go as we planned are our schedules, the weather, the price of gas, the traffic conditions, even the lines at the grocery store. We can’t change these things, so we need to have a victorious attitude concerning them.

Dr. Carlson suggests several tips for a victorious attitude. For instance:

“Life is not an emergency”! We don’t need the added pressure of feeling we must achieve a certain number of things each day. This perception keeps us in a frenzy. So chill! Tomorrow’s another day.

“Refuse to let it bug you”: no matter what someone else says or believes, when you get down to it, it’s JUST their opinion. Should you allow their erroneous, misinformed, or biased opinions to get in your way? Of course not!

“See the innocence”: people are flawed, just like us. They’ve experienced their own hurts and disappointments, and these feelings often come out in their words and actions. Understanding this is another big step toward not being offended.

“Think of your problems as potential teachers”: we can learn something from every “kooky character” we meet, every “sorry circumstance” we find ourselves in. If we allow God to work in us, He will grow peace, patience, love and forgiveness from the dirt of our adversity.

But the best tip we can give you comes from God’s Word: “You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you, all whose thoughts are fixed on you!” (Isaiah 26:3 NLT)

Dwell on God’s faithfulness and His goodness, not on your problems and other people. Don’t waste your emotional (and creative) energy fretting over “fouls”; or attempting to fix your friends (or “enemies”)! Concentrate on God’s destiny for your life. Don’t sweat the small stuff — and as Dr. Carlson states, “And it’s all small stuff.”

Share