Devotion for the Week...
A little over a year ago, when I started this blog, I hoped that having set a schedule for myself would mean I would actually spend time writing. I wanted to be writing devotions, and had plenty of them started, but I wasn't actually finishing anything. I wanted to change that and figured telling myself that I would post one every Monday would be the kick in the pants I needed to get myself working. And it has worked. I will confess that most of my devotions are actually typed into the computer on Sunday evening, but I'm usually thinking about them through the week so that the typing is just a matter of getting the words from my head onto the screen.
Sometimes, though, my thoughts get a little negative, and I wonder if people would prefer I just stick to quilting posts and get rid of the devotions altogether. Other times I wonder if I'd have more followers if there weren't "religious" posts every week. But then I get a comment on one of the devotion posts from someone who says she really enjoys them, looks forward to them even. That encouragement is a wonderful thing, and really motivates me to keep going with the slightly odd combination that is Devoted Quilter. So if you are one of those who have commented, thank you! I appreciate your kind words so much.
Some people are especially good at encouraging others. I've had several friends who were, or are, always ecouraging me. My husband, Paul, is my biggest supporter and encourager. If you're anything like me, being around these wonderful people leaves you feeling like you can do anything. The list of spiritual gifts outlined in Romans 12 includes encouraging, and I think these people are exactly the type the apostle Paul had in mind when he wrote that list.
Some of us, though, are not so good at encouraging others. I've noticed that I don't have that same ease with speaking words of encouragement. I first realized this shortly after meeting my friend Carol while we were living in Igloolik. Carol is one of those people who exudes positivity and confidence in others. She often affirms others, calling to attention their more admirable qualities. Even now when I read a letter from Carol, I marvel at how she can encourage me from clear across the country. I'm the one who often thinks of encouraging things I could have said, except the conversation is over before I think of them.
The Bible tells us to "encourage one another and build each other up" (1 Thessalonians 5:11) and to "encourage the disheartened" (1 Thessalonians 5:14). It doesn't say only those who are good at it should do it. Though it is listed in Romans 12 as a spiritual gift, in 1 Thessalonians there is no indication that this command to encourage one another should only be carried out by those who are especially gifted. We are all supposed to be encouraging others, especially if those others are feeling discouraged or down.
What is your encouragement personality? Does it come naturally to you, so you find it easy to encourage almost everyone you meet? Or are you more like me, rather less of an encourager than you would like to be?