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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Encouragement (among believers) (11/08/07)

TITLE: Above, Below, or Along Side
By Larry Whittington


Above, Below, or Along Side

The need for encouragement is great. You may need it now. You may be in the middle of a project you can’t seem to complete. You may have a problem that you seem to have no solution for. You may have started the project with enthusiasm only to now be making excuses for not carrying on with them. You need encouragement.

Encouragement can come from three directions. It can come from above, below, or along side of you. Now don’t quit reading just because you think you can already see what I am getting at when I say “above, below, or along side”. You might be wrong.

Encouragement can come from above you. You may have volunteered for or have been asked to do some “church” related project. Time is an issue. You seem to have no time to complete it. A road block hampers completion. Your dedication is the same as it was when you started but unforeseen situations holds up the completion. Those who have given you the task or assignment can ask about the project or notice its progress and see that it may not be progressing in a timely manner. Some discouragement might be found in your voice as the project is discussed. You yourself may express concern to them about the progress. Upon recognizing this as a sign of discouragement, encouragement can come from above. Those in charge can and should offer help in the form of ideas, reconfirmed directions for the project, and suggestions of solutions to some of the problems that seem to be holding up the project. Besides these, simple words to encourage can be given. Some statements like the following might be given.

• “What you have done so far is great.”
• “Sometimes, unanticipated problems that come up will make the rewards more rewarding when it is all over.”
• “Unforeseen roadblocks can be a gift from God to produce patience.”
• “Keep on doing your best.”
• “Are there any other angles you can approach the problem from.”
• “Do you need more help?”

This encouragement “from above” may be all that is needed to give new life and energy towards the project. It may open up your mind to a remedy of a problem that has been hindering progress. Sometimes, just a little encouragement from above gives new life to a project and a sure hope for completion.

The needed encouragement may come from along side of you. You may have a helper that is in this project with you. This helper may not have any authority to direct the project but it may just be that this helper will have the encouraging words or some helpful insights into the problem that you had not seen. The helper may not have had the burden of responsibility for completing the project and so may not have had the stress and pressure you have had. Their minds may be free to think. Their hearts may have the desire to succeed and therefore they may be the source from which the most encouragement can come.

Encouragement from “down under - what is this? There may be individuals who have thought all along that you were not the right person for the job. They may have been waiting for the time you would struggle and fail. Their negative statements lik:
• “I knew you wouldn’t be able to do the job.” or
• “They should have put me at your task.” or
• “I would have had the job done by now”.

These negative words of encouragement may kindle a fire and spark the imagination to new heights. The goal to finish the project can resurface and the imagination work double-time so that new methods and creative ideas come to the surface giving hope to a successful conclusion of the project.

Yes, the need for encouragement can be ever present but don’t let the negative source of encouragement hinder its effectiveness. Rise above those few who may be against you by turning their negative statements into strong encouragements.

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Member Comments
Member Date
Joanne Sher 11/18/07
Definitely a unique approach to the topic! I must admit I'd never thought of those trying to discourage you as a means of encouragement. Thanks for your thoughts!