Bob Spencer has been such a blessing to me. He has an incredible gifting in encouragement. He also gave me a word this week, which really touched my heart. He's in the process of writing a book about encouragement.
I haven't given much thought about encouragement before, it's not something that I'm good at, but certainly it's something that I need to learn more about.
So I have been thinking a bit about this topic, and here's some of my random thoughts:
It's like an artist making an art work with lots of little fabric pieces of various colours. She needs to sow all these little pieces together onto another bigger fabric to make a pretty pattern. Well, before she sowed them together, all these little pieces seemed meaningless and purposeless. They're just messy. Then she starts to pin these together and start sowing them into a great artwork. The sowing process, the needle and the thread is like the commitment. But for the work to finish, for the little pieces to "become" the meaningful artwork, it takes time and a process. But before they "become", there's this "pinning" period, which is a pretended "become", or a temperary "become", that gives the little pieces a purpose in their being.
Now I see these pins are like the encouragements. We all have our giftings, characters, but they're like the little pieces of fabric, not sowed together, seemingly purposeless and messy. God has called each and everyone of us to a great destiny, which is like the finished artwork. But to get there, it takes time, commitment and process. But instead of letting all the pieces messing around, the artist pin the pieces together, so we can have an idea what the finished work would look like. Although it's not true at the moment, we know once it's finished, it will be true. It brings a sense of purpose to the little pieces. It temporarily pins our hopelessness into His hopefulness so we can get a whole picture of what it will be like when the process is finished, and also it makes the sowing process much easier. Once the work is finished, then we won't need the pins any more, and so encouragement is to offer true identity before it's time, so that the people being encouraged are more motivated and more confident to reach their destiny.
Another way that I see encouragement is like dusting and mopping. A piece of beautiful timber furniture, leaving it for a while, there would be some dust. Now we use a damp cloth to wipe the dust off, and it looks clean and shining again. We live in a world that's full of dust and dirt. If we don't watch our thoughts closely, after a while our thoughts will get dusty, we're polluted with all kinds of negative influences and ideas. Encouragement would be like the damp cloth, that will just gently wipe and wash off all these dust, and leaving our thoughts clean, refreshed and shining again.