Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Handing out Courage

"Realize that when you encourage you are giving out courage for people to continue on the journey of life." - Debbie Alsdorf, The Faith Dare

Giving out courage? Sounds like a real superpower...


I've been journeying through this book, The Faith Dare, with a great friend and have had to sit on one of my day's dares, "To use your tongue to bless and build up others..", for a few days. I just can't move forward. It's striking something deep in my heart and needs more attention.


How many of you rub shoulders with people day in and day out that could use an extra dose of courage for what lies ahead? Maybe the better question is, who doesn't need a bit more courage to continue their journey of life?


Our words are powerful, people.


For me, I have four little ones and one great man in my life daily that could use some extra courage. Am I seizing the opportunity I have to impart to them?


I've really been challenged by this question in regards to one of my children, in particular. We can, at times, have the perfect clash of weaknesses (as we are all-too-similar) that leave us a bit exasperated with one another. It's my issue ultimately, since he is five, and I'm the one that is supposed to be the adult around here. If someone is going to bring him to maturity and show him the way to go, it should be me.


Well, I sometimes do ok with this, but honestly, have been doing very poorly at encouraging this little guy as of late. And he needs it. He, after all, is tackling all kinds of new uncharted territories....reading books, working math problems, and trying to learn self-control with his anger. These are all big things. 


Sometimes an absence of words is best. 


Because truly, at times, it would be best if my words and I, with my raised eyebrows and disapproving scowl, would just leave the room and hide. If I stay, even more pain can ensue as I do the opposite of handing out courage, but instead, bring defeat with sharp, careless words. Oh, it makes me cringe to replay some of the encounters I've had with my son. I'm not trying to be out to get him. But when I replay our interactions, I can see he is only gathering that I am very disappointed with him, over something that is honestly just an immaturity or a natural weakness. Fail. Unless....


Unless, I really start taking thought about what my words can do.


Unless, I humble myself and ask for forgiveness when I wish I could take back my words (or my scowl...). 


Unless, I seek out the good and actually take the time to speak it to others.


To practically help myself in this arena, I started a sticker chart for my son for reading books. This chart is a visual reminder in my home to celebrate the things accomplished. It is a forced stop to dose out courage. It sounds so simple, but it's really helping set a tone in the home. 



As well, I've been learning from my husband and my four-year-old, as they have been truly blessed with this superpower, effortlessly encouraging others as they go. Really, God has made them to be encouragers and I'm aiming to stop and see how awesome it is when they just do what they do, living their lives handing out courage as the color, eat, or say good-bye. Do you know people like this, too? It's so refreshing to be in their presence, isn't it?


Life is tough. Let's do this. Let's start being intentional to bite our tongues when needed, and instead hand out some courage as we go.


I'd love to hear your thoughts, too! How to you guard your tongue or intentionally use it to bless others? Please share :)

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