Day three of my week of thankfulness!
I am thankful for those who encourage me!
Most of my life I have been a person who likes to be comfortable. I’m not talking about a nice cushy couch or a chair you can sink into, though those things are also very nice! I’m talking about feeling comfortable — around those we spend time with, in our surroundings and in the things we do. I would allow my need for a certain comfort level to determine what I did, where I went and who I did things with. If I wasn’t sure how I would like something, or if I would be good at something or not, I usually didn’t try.
The sad part of that is that sometimes that need for comfort leads to us missing out on opportunities.
In the last couple of years, I made the decision to surround myself with encouragers. Family and friends who challenge me to try new things. Not in a pushy way, but in a way that helps me see the benefit of just trying.
In simpler things, enouragers have led me to try painting, learning to build websites and going more green. To learn new ways of cooking and organizing, to try reading different authors and listen to and discuss view points that are not the same as mine. Whether it’s taking classes, learning on my own or from others, each new thing I’ve tried has been interesting. Some I am ok at, others not so much. In either case, I have enjoyed the learning experience.
There are also some profound impacts that encouragers have had in my life.
Encouragement helped me find my way back to my faith, after having been away for more than 30 years. Some had tried to motivate that return through guilt and scare tactics, which did nothing for me. It was an encourager, who saw how I was needing that faith back in my life, who took the time to just talk to me about it and share their experience. Of all the changes in my recent life, that has been the most important and impactful!
Encouragement helped me to step out of my comfort zone to participate and eventually take a lead in a ministry group, helping me to see how my experiences could be of help to others. These same encouragers helped lead me to useful bible studies, and then to a small group, that allow me to continuously grow in my relationship with Christ each day!
Encouragement led me back to writing. I work in a very technical and procedural environment. For me, writing is an outlet. A way to express my creative side. I’ve written on and off for years — some just-for-fun topics, but mostly about my feelings and life lessons I’m learning. I might do it for a while, but then would stop when I became too concerned with what people thought of my writing, how it was received and whether or not it touched people.
It was an encourager, who in starting her own writing project a while back, encouraged me to do the same. It was the nudge I needed to restart, push past the need to write for others and enjoy the comfort to just write for myself. Writing has helped me through some major life changes and doing it again has been very rewarding. If some people enjoy my writing, or get something from it, that’s great. If not — even if not one person read a thing I wrote — I still feel the benefit of doing it.
So to all those who have ever uttered a word of encouragement, no matter how big or small — Thank You.
To those who step out of their own comfort zone, to encourage another — Thank You.
And to those who take the time, to see unexplored potential in others, to help someone limited by their fears or who just needs a boost in their confidence to try something new — Thank You!