Unchained by Sara Stansberry
I watched dauntingly as he piled on the plates. Each one giving a sharp clang as it settled in. It was too early on a Saturday morning to do math in my head. But a quick add told me the whole contraption was probably over a million pounds, or maybe closer to 225 – but at least double my bodyweight because that was the gig. The expectation was set - I was to pull the thing to the other side of the room. It looked hard. I wasn’t sure I was quite in the mood for hard.
About half way down, things started getting heavy – really heavy. I looked over at one of the facility’s trainers and said, ‘this is really heavy.’ She looked me straight in the eye and stated with quiet confidence, ‘yeah, I know it is – but you can do it.’ Of course – how had I forgotten? Of course I could do it. I went on to do it several times in fact and then continued to be put through the paces of the rest of the drill as set forth by my local gym.
Sometimes life requires us to carry a heavy load. Sometimes we need a master encourager - someone who can sit quietly beside us with a gentle reminder that even though things seem impossible, they can be done.
Encouragement is not telling someone else what do to. God only knows there is enough of that crap in the world already. And, here’s the deal: you don’t have anyone’s answers, nor does anyone else have yours. Shocking, yes – but it’s the truth.
Encouragement is something entirely unique all together. Real encouragement requires that you put your expectations and needs aside to focus on the other person. Assess their situation, evaluate what they are experiencing - then stand aside and simply remind them that they are equipped; they have what it takes to make it through - because they do. Don’t leave, if you can, stay with them until the end because then you will both experience a sweet victory and hopefully a memory that will last a lifetime.
If you can do this, if you can become a master encourager, then you will experience the gift of authentic relationship. I will tell you, there is no gift more satisfying and unfortunately, more rare – for most of us cannot put ourselves aside long enough. We want to fix, we want to change – if you could just do it my way, you’d be doing it ‘right.’ That attitude shows epic self-centeredness which has become the standard of our culture.
Do you need encouragement today? I’ll tell you, you do have what it takes to make it through whatever it is you’re going through. There is always a win in every situation – though it might take some work (sometimes a LOT of work – and change) to find it.
Is there someone in your life who needs a master encourager? I encourage you to be that person in their life, for you’ll be the one who benefits the most.
Here’s to authentic relationship, selflessness – and making it great!