Published on October 31st, 2014 | by Nathaniel0
Encouragement for the Encourager
Growing up (…still in that process), I was a cartoon fanatic. I watched anything and everything from classics like Popeye and Looney Toons to the contemporary Doug and Scooby Doo to the lesser known Top Cat and Hong Kong Fuey. But never did a cartoon character quite affect me like Mr. Spongebob Squarepants. There’s something enduring and magical about someone who is the consistent go-to source for encouragement. Despite Patrick’s blatant stupidity and despite Squidward’s selfish ambition, Spongebob generally remains encouraging and optimistic.
Would you consider yourself that “go-to” person? You know, the one who purposely takes the extra step to read the check-out lady’s name tag? Bring breakfast in for your overstressed co-workers? Make an encouraging attempt to call someone just because they popped in your head, only to never hear back (…you know who you are)? Isn’t it overwhelming to be THAT person sometimes? Especially when your deliberate efforts to forge “world-peace” one smile at a time go unnoticed?
The problem with encouragement?
Those who encourage are perpetually perceived by “the others” as ALWAYS encouraged. You spend your life seeking to pour into others, but when your cup runs dry, you find it difficult to just get a little condensation. Think about the relentless efforts of a pastor to uplift a congregation- his or her work never stops- preaching multiple services every week, counseling, praying over others. Yet, the congregation criticizes and analyzes his or her work. And then when we hear the news of pastors like Pastor AB Antrim of Iowa or Pastor Michael Mullis of North Carolina committing suicide, we question humanity as if they could never be susceptible to the pressures of the world, the pressures of “discouragement.”
Well Encouragers, pastors, and Sponge-Bobbed individuals alike, I just want to take this time to affirm your conscious efforts. At times, it seems they go unnoticed, unappreciated and even undeserved- but in the process of striving to encourage others, don’t fail to recognize you’re being encouraged. You are magnetizing and attracting light and beauty to yourself and those around you. When done authentically and sincerely, the act of encouraging produces spiritually connected and scientifically-proven goodwill.
I don’t find it surprising that the neurochemical, serotonin, the main component of most anti-depressant drugs, also responsible for mood regulation, increases with kindness and encouragement, further contributing to the health of one’s immune system. The act of kindness not only produces these results for the giver, but also the recipient, and anyone else observing the act. A study conducted at Harvard vouches this theory. Dubbed “The Mother Teresa Effect,” 132 subjects watched a film about Mother Teresa’s work with impoverished people of Calcutta, India. They subsequently measured the amount of Immunoglobin A, which helps immune function, and noted that it was significantly higher. Interesting, right?
So encourager, don’t let your efforts be diminished because you can’t see the reach of your positivity. Know that through your efforts, you’re sparking and catalyzing the world inside and out of you into one that is synonymous with the one Jesus crafted when He gave His life for our sins.
“We shall never know all the good that a simple smile can do.” –Mother Teresa
Hebrews 10:24-25 “And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.