“I have confidence in confidence alone” I’m sure 95% of you reading that will know where it came from. (For the 5% it is Maria singing in The Sound of Music.)
Confidence. Wow – what a word. When someone has confidence in you – especially when that person is someone you trust or respect — you start having confidence in yourself.
And a word that comes together with the word “confidence” are the words “encourager” and “encouragement”.
Through life we often face challenges that seem insurmountable. There is absolutely no way we can do it. Along comes someone who gives us a word or two of encouragement and soon we find that what was insurmountable is finished. You did it. And that gives you lots of confidence and a great feeling of pride in yourself that you actually did that thing.
The person who is an encourager is often over looked. We look at the one who succeeds. There is an old saying that behind ever successful man is a mother and/or wife. And that is true too of every successful woman. But we need encouragers and we need to be encouragers as well.
I had a neat thing happen to me recently. First some background: within the last year I’ve had both of my knees replaced. For my therapy after each surgery I went to the local city-run indoor pool for exercises. As I became stronger, especially after the 2nd surgery and ‘alignment’ I started to walk the length of the shallow pool – 25 metres. Every so often I would swim – using the crawl which I had detested growing up. But mostly walked.
One day late last fall I had just completed doing the crawl for one length. One of the seasoned life guards came over to me and said, “Peggy, you have a great crawl there. You should work on doing lengths to build up your stamina.” After muttering, in jest, ‘gee thanks. Now I have no excuse to not swim’ (remember I detested the crawl!) I decided to make better use of my time at the pool.
By Monday I had worked myself up to 30 lengths – 15 walking and 15 swimming. (That is 3/4 of a kilometre by the way.) Then the same life guard came over to me and encouraged me and suggested a new thing to add to my regime. Why? Because I was trying and she saw that and encouraged me to try more. I did add the different stroke for my last 4 lengths at her suggestion and I felt good. Good because she had enough confidence in my ability and was willing to encourage me and push me further. Of course I grumbled – I wouldn’t be my lazy self if I didn’t, but seriously, I am looking forward to my next date with the pool to implement her suggestion for the full swim.
So, this week, who can you encourage? Is there someone who has encouraged you? I am thankful for the many who have encouraged me over the years — especially those who don’t stop! And as a follower of Christ I am also reminded about the ultimate Encourager: