Begin with a Whisper
Begin with a Whisper
We’ve been engaged in a season of change. This constant change, though it’s mostly good, has worn at us till our positivity has begun to fray.
You’ve been to that crumbling edge, haven’t you?
Not enough good sleep. A tickle that blossoms into a hacking cough. Too much fast food, and fast talking with not enough deep conversation about what’s important. The challenge of teammates who’ve misplaced the mission, the hassle of technology gone awry, and endlessly shifting expectations and reactions. It’s not all bad. Not really. But it does stretch leadership engagement.
Encouragement is the answer
Encouraging others is especially effective when constant change is battering your leadership ability.
A whisper of encouragement during a trial has more impact than shouts of praise after a success.
“Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.” – 1 Thessalonians 5:11 (NIV)
A whisper of encouragement could be a song at the right moment
A personal experience for us. We were in the middle of real life, including running late for an important event. There was an essential element with us in the truck for this event, we were the designated contacts required to open the rented facility for everyone waiting, and the traffic was not co-operating.
Pushed to the limit, our conversation wasn’t going in a useful direction.
And then a whisper of an encouraging tune changed our entire perspective. Just singing together the first few lines of “Joyful, Joyful, We Adore You” (while “la-la-lahing” the forgotten words) encouraged us both to get back on track for the day. In fact, that tune played over and over in our heads as we later cleaned up spilled fruit punch and swept the floors at the close of the event.
Are you making use of the power of music? The lyrics of a favorite hymn or an uplifting praise chorus can be encouragement to you and those you are leading. What’s on your playlist?
Scripture made personal can be encouragement that lasts for years
In the Lead Like Jesus Encounter training experience, there is an exercise where participants are handed Scripture verses with a blank spot for a person’s name can be inserted.
A few years ago, we were at a Lead Like Jesus event in Atlanta, and we were both “randomly” assigned one of these little squares of paper from a pile. We then read them out loud and shared with the group at our table. For both of us, these Scripture verses became an ongoing source of encouragement – keeping them taped to our bedside tables for over three years, until we moved. Every night and every morning they were there – reminding us of God’s faithfulness.
“…so that through the endurance taught in the Scriptures and the encouragement they provide we might have hope.” – Romans 15:4 (NIV)
Below are some options you might choose as a whisper of encouragement. Just insert your name where the blank spot is. Read them aloud and feel God’s encouragement – for you.
- I will never leave you, ___________ or forsake you. (Deuteronomy 31:6)
- Follow me, _________, and I will make you fisher of men. (Matthew 4:19)
- I am the vine, you are my branch. Remain in me, __________, and I will remain in you. (John 15:5)
- __________, I take great delight in you. (Zephaniah 3:17)
- I stand at your door, ______, and knock. If you open it, I will come in. (Revelation 3:20)
If you’ve ever been in a Lead Like Jesus Encounter, you’ll remember the power of the exercise. The opportunity to hear these phrases whispered into your ear with your own name mentioned, is a moving combination of humility and elation.
Do you have some favorite Scripture verses that you are encouraged by? Is there someone you lead who also needs to hear these words? Don’t wait. Share these verses with them today – and using their name!
The echo of encouragement continues
Do you remember receiving encouragement from those you love? Maybe the encouragement and praise happened in childhood, or as a young adult. Remember? Or maybe there are words of encouragement you wished you could have heard.
It’s never too late to engage a whisper of encouragement.
“Therefore if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any common sharing in the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind.” – Philippians 2:1-2 (NIV)
Talk with those you lead – including families members – about which words and phrases have the most impact for them. And don’t hesitate to share yours. We are all different, yet all of us need encouragement.
Whispering encouragement benefits everyone
Encouragement is a fascinating experience. Even while you’re encouraging those you lead, you’ll feel encouraged too. Begin today!
“May our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who loved us and by his grace gave us eternal encouragement and good hope, encourage your hearts and strengthen you in every good deed and word.” – 2 Thessalonians 2:16-17 (NIV)
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