I ran across this idea while reading Ann Voskamp’s blog and was intrigued by it. Naming things helps to bring them into focus and keep them in focus. I’ve been reflecting in the back of my mind about this for a while and finally came up with a “name” for this year.
The Year of Encouragement.
Not something I’m very good at. I tend to focus on what needs to be fixed, what needs to be done, what needs to change especially with the children.
Some months ago I realized this was true when I was describing F to someone who didn’t know him. We were at a wedding and I was keeping a very casual eye on him. He was running around outside with his cousins and some others and while I had instructed him on the boundaries and asked him to keep an eye on Su I was really paying very little attention to him. The woman I was talking to seemed a bit surprised by this and I said, “He’s very responsible and reliable. I don’t have to worry about him.”
As the words left my mouth I realized how true they were and what a blessing that things should be that way… and then I thought “How often does he hear that from me and his father?”
I know that expectations make a big difference to all of us. We tend to be what people expect us to be – and I started thinking “What if most of what the children heard was about the good things they are and do? Wouldn’t they do these things more?”
It’s hard though. Today when they woke me up half a dozen times in the night, I find it difficult to muster the energy to be encouraging, to recognize the good things that they do and are. Here grace is needed; to speak each day into them the encouragement that they need to hear. Each day, over “ordinary things” ministering grace to them.
Encouragement is commanded several times in Scripture:
“But encourage one another day after day, as long as it is still called “Today,” so that none of you will be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin.” Hebrews 3:13 (New American Standard)
“Therefore encourage one another and build up one another” I Thessalonians 5:11 (New American Standard)
I want to follow those commands throughout 2012.