Four Keys That Keep Me Encouraged
Sheryll Ashmore | Co-Lead Pastor | LifeGate Church | Villa Rica, GA
Philippians 4:8 tells us to fix our thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable-if anything is excellent or praiseworthy-think about such things.
For me, this is such a key factor in keeping myself encouraged. There are always discouraging or stressful things that are vying for our attention. The good news is that we get to choose what we give our time and attention to. Paul is giving us specific instructions on what we invest in.
My husband, Tony, and I have been in ministry of some type for over 30 years and we have seen a lot. That also gives us plenty of opportunities to learn a lot, some of it the hard way by the choices I made! 😬 My outlook on life has everything to do with whether I live my life encouraged or discouraged. Am I looking for the good in my situations, relationships and challenges? Or do I sometimes just expect the worst? Here are some things that have made a big difference in my life:
- Think the best. Expect God to show up. Let your conversations be filled with the goodness and greatness of God. Remember and talk about all the times He has come through for you!
- Expect the best. Even when I feel like people may have let me down in the past, I can choose to be graceful. I certainly haven’t done everything right and I really appreciate the grace others have shown me. Store up memories of what people have done right, not the ones where they messed up.
- Add value to people. Even the ones you aren’t crazy about. People left a conversation with Jesus knowing there was hope. Let people know how valuable they are to God and to you.
- Celebrate small victories. Find ways to celebrate what others are doing well. Celebrate right then. Don’t wait until later. Stop what you are doing and have a victory party when that person at your church is serving so well in the nursery, when your child is making an effort to do something well, or when your spouse is thoughtful.
We’ve all been in situations where we felt overwhelmed with sadness or hurt. That’s the most important time to guard our hearts so that we don’t give in to depression or want to give up. These four habits keep me encouraged in these times. A lifestyle where we think the best, expect the best, add value to people, and celebrate small victories not only blesses others, it keeps us in our happy place with God. It keeps us focused on what is good and right, even with people we may find difficult. If we stay busy focusing on what is honorable, right, pure, and lovely, then we are constantly encouraging ourselves in the Lord.
Hope you find this encouraging and helpful.
I would love to hear how God has shown you ways to keep yourself encouraged in Him.