Who didn’t cry watching Shaun White UNCONTROLLABLY SOB on international television? I didn’t watch it live since I gave up TV for Lent, but I saw all the FB posts (“I’m not crying with Shaun White, you are!”) and all the replay videos. GOOD GRACIOUS the emotions!! If you didn’t hear his story, Shaun White came in 4th in the last Winter Olympics, and he was determined to go BIG at this Olympics! He also took a pretty rough spill right before the qualifiers this year too, which required him to get 62 stitches. He faced so many obstacles to just GET to the Olympics.
You KNOW I immediately trolled his Instagram account! He posted a photo of him standing on the podium while the US National Anthem played, and said “Thank you to everyone who has supported me and stuck by my side during the highs and the lows. I love you all! We did it!🥇”
You see, he didn’t say “I” did it or “I’m so proud of myself” or even “I worked so hard to get here”, he thanked everyone and the people who stayed by his side and said “WE” did it. It made me wonder what kind of community he has. People who, after he fell short of the podium and faced his only real major loss in his career, came alongside him to encourage him to keep going – to try again.
It’s simple – we need friendships to encourage one another. We need someone on the outside to speak truth to you when you can’t see the truth. You need them to encourage you to see outside of your circumstances.
Here’s the “one another” verse from 1 Thessalonians 5:9-11:
“Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing.” ESV
“So speak encouraging words to one another. Build up hope so you’ll all be together in this, no one left out, no one left behind. I know you’re already doing this; just keep on doing it.” The Message
I love The Message version of this verse, which expands the original text just a bit. First, speaking encouraging words builds up HOPE! Any famous person has “a person”. You know, that person who was with them from the beginning. Encouraging words builds up hope in us to keep pursuing that goal or that dream. To keep going. We all need “our person”, who keeps reminding us to see the good that what we’re doing and what we’re chasing matters.
Shaun White had to shed some people in his life after the last Olympics, and he knew it. He chose to surround himself with people who had hope in him and rebuild his support team. He was quoted in the NY Times article saying “I got a new P.R. person, a new manager, a new agency, a physical therapist”. Who’s your PR, Manager, Agency, or Physical Therapist in your life? It may not be a PR person, but someone who can see all the good and speak those back to you. Maybe you don’t need a manager, or maybe you do, but they’re someone outside of your immediate circle to listen to you and speak wisdom and hope into what seems like a dark time. Maybe it’s not an agency, but someone to encourage you to seek out new environments/opportunities. Maybe it’s not a physical therapist, but a therapist – a counselor. You need hope that you’re not alone in this life we’re all fighting to live or that you’re simply not crazy in the head.
I’m working on figuring out who all these people are in my life, but I can definitely pinpoint a few. I’m sure they know who they are. I’ve turned to them more times than I can count, specifically in the last year or so, as it’s been a year of so many changes. In searching out what this ever looming “calling” is that God has on my life and my search for community as a 30-year-old single. I definitely could see myself going down a very long dark road had I not had my people to encourage me along the way. They’ve kept me going and continuing to live life, even when it’s felt tough. It’s knit them closer to my heart, and I am so grateful for them!
Just like friendship + bearing, speaking encouraging words unifies us – “so you’ll be together in this, no one left out, no one left behind”. You’ve heard the phrase “we’re better together”, haven’t you? It’s true!
“The more of this the better. Christian people should constantly converse with one another for mutual edification.” ~ Spurgeon
Spurgeon was on POINT with his comments on 1 Thessalonians 5:9-11! A friendship and encouragement cannot be one-sided but must be mutual. Friendship is based on and sustained by a mutual value and input into each other’s lives. Friendship is lost when this becomes imbalanced on one side or the other or both. Seasons of this may come and go when one friend or the other needs more encouragement, but I’m learning that any relationship needs the same placement of value.
Who in your life do you need to encourage today? I can guarantee you one of two things – you’ll just feel great about encouraging them OR they’ll encourage you right back! 🙂 Mutual edification. Maybe there’s a close friend that you haven’t reached out to lately that you want to let them know that you value them and their friendship. GET OUT THERE AND DO IT!
Join me in a challenge this week – I’m going to take the time to encourage a different friend each day. That’s just 7 quick e-mails, texts, a phone call or during a conversation. It doesn’t need to be SUPER deep, but let’s just do it!