Monday, October 17, 2011

That's Supportive

     It's possible to support people, without REALLY supporting people. Maybe we think we're being supportive by saying "good job" and "do what you know is right". But I'm starting to realize that that is like water through a sieve. It does last for a while, and does keep the sieve wet after the water falls through, but most of that water (that support) drains out after only a short time.

     So what IS real support? Well, what have you noticed are the most supportive things done towards you in YOUR life?

     What comes to my mind is people who take the time to be inquisitive and ask about what I'm doing and thinking - then taking the time to listen...who are also genuinely interested and encouraging me beside me in my endeavors. That's supportive. People who join me in my efforts. That is supportive. Also those who know more than me in the area I may be struggling with, who come alongside me as helpful and encouraging role models in that area - that is also very supportive.

     But then there is the flip side. Have you ever met people who drain your confidence and make you feel incapable? Sadly, sometimes they are even fellow Christians. I will admit that I have avoided people before, or given half-hearted replies to their inquiries, just because I am tired of the drain of the expectations they place on me in the place of the support they should be giving me as a fellow child of God. Instead of helping me, they say what THEY think I should do. Sometimes they are expectations that I can't bring myself to believe and I can grow weary of defending myself, feeling alone in my efforts. Ever been there? They may even say "good job" or "do what you know is right", but I can tell by their tone of voice and follow-up comments that they aren't really genuinely supporting me or helping me.

      Sometimes it is indeed good to listen to what others have to say. There can often be wisdom in what others say - especially those older than us both in age and in spiritual growth. Always do the Berean check: see if what your friend says matches up with what the Bible says.


     So my challenge to you for the next few days is two-fold. First of all, be that encourager! Especially for us young single ladies, you've probably heard it said before that we have more time now that we'll ever have again. If that statement is true, we should take the time now to practice being supportive of others. Mingle with people that have similar interests - both young AND old - and TRULY support them. Come alongside them. There is a good chance they are starving inside for your help and support. And remember that sometimes, it even simply means doing what you know is right, even if YOU don't have that support. Be a role model to the person you don't know is watching you. Encourage them - even if it's only you going at this with God by your side. One day the most unlikely person may approach you and thank you for the supportive example you didn't know you were being.

     And secondly, look for encouragement like this! I have found over the past few months that God knew what He was talking about when He said to hang out with the people you want to be like. Yes, yes, I know you should help people who are in need of God, but PLEASE, don't forget those encouragers in your life too. The people you hang out with and spend your time around really DO rub off on you. Try it and see.

"Oil and perfume make the heart glad, So a man’s counsel is sweet to his friend." ~ Proverbs 27:9

"But actually, I wrote to you not to associate with any so-called brother if he is an immoral person, or covetous, or an idolater, or a reviler, or a drunkard, or a swindler—not even to eat with such a one" ~ 1 Corinthians 5:11

"He who walks with wise men will be wise, But the companion of fools will suffer harm." ~ Proverbs 13:20

     And, of course, remember that our top encourager and supporter is our God, the Creator of the world.  Though the support of physical beings around us is very important - don't forget that God is the One who is Lord over it all. He's the One who created all these physical supporters and placed them in your life. Since He put these great people in our lives, how much more can He Himself be your top supporter?

"May He grant you your heart’s desire And fulfill all your counsel!" Psalm 20:4

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