Don’t underestimate power of encouragement

By Joan Clayton: PNT columnist

My students loved for me to tell this story: “A group of frogs were traveling through the woods, and two of them fell into a deep pit. All the other frogs gathered around the pit. When they saw how deep the pit was, they told the two frogs that they were as good as dead. The two frogs ignored the comments and tried to jump up out of the pit with all of their might. The other frogs kept telling them to stop, that they would never make it and that they might as well give up and die.

Finally, one of the frogs believed what the other frogs were saying and gave up fell down and died. The other frog continued to jump as hard as he could. Once again, the crowd of frogs yelled at him to stop the jumping and to just lie down and die. But the frog jumped even harder and finally made it out.”

You see this frog was deaf and unable to hear what the other frogs were saying. He thought they were encouraging him the entire time.

This story teaches the power of encouragement. An encouraging word to someone who is down can lift them up and help them make it through the day. A destructive word only increases despair and hopelessness.

What better seeds to plant than those of encouragement? Everyone needs encouragement at one time or another. Problems in life can leave a feeling of defeat, rejection and loneliness. In the midst of loneliness, faith and encouragement can stretch to the heights of heaven for a hurting soul.

Encouragement comes wrapped up in hopes and dreams, just waiting to be discovered. Encouraging words make your day by someone saying, “You can make it. I believe in you. I’m on your side. I’m proud of you. I appreciate you.” Such words as these put life back into perspective.

You can read about Barnabas in Acts 11:23. In fact his name means “Son of Encouragement.” He was instrumental in the development of the early church. Many came to know the Lord because of his encouragement.

You will never know the impact of your words of encouragement in someone else’s life. In Samuel 30:6, David felt discouragement big time. His men even talked about stoning him. Instead of being overwhelmed by his situation, David turned to God, sought guidance and emerged victorious. “David encouraged himself in the Lord.” I love that statement.

Of all the obstacles and tactics of the enemy, I think discouragement is the worst. With discouragement come depression, apathy and a defeatist attitude.

I’m convinced if I allow my thoughts to bring discouragement, that is exactly what I will have. “For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he …” (Proverbs 23:7 KJV). I want to be “transformed by the renewing of my mind” (Romans 12:2).

God’s child boldly declares, “I will rise up. I will be successful. I am more than a conqueror. I am confident in the Lord. My inner being is renewed day by day. I have hope that something good is going to happen. I expect the best. I have a victorious attitude. I am not a quitter. I am God’s most prized possession. I am not a failure. I turn disappointment into Gods’ appointment. I am loved and highly favored. ‘With God, all things are possible.’ ‘No weapon formed against me shall prosper.’ (Isaiah 54:17) ‘I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.’ (Philippians 4:13)”

Discouragement is the “pits.” So let’s be the world’s best encouragers. Encourage someone today. It makes life exciting. It’s an adventure. I call it “delicious.”

Encouraging others brings out the best in people. It shows your interest and appreciation. It tells them they are important to you.

Someone needs a pat on the back, a hug and a kind word.

Encouragement makes a great world.

I’m glad I live in it!

Portales resident Joan Clayton is a retired teacher and published author. Her e-mail address is: joan@yucca.net