Standing tall…

As a child, I was the smallest in the class. I felt swamped by people in other ways too, as I was also bottom of the class. It took me a while to reach my full height in more ways than one, and truth is, I’ve got more ‘growing’ to do!
Haven’t we all…?

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Growing more fully into our true selves is a life-long process. It’s about standing tall, not being a shrinking violet; it’s about taking our place in the sun, not lurking in the shadows. But this doesn’t mean standing on others, or trampling them underfoot.

I’m inspired by Nikesh Mehta, a deputy director of GCHQ (the UK Intelligence Agency) who in a short BBC video speaks about daring to be different. He packs wise words into just a few minutes, and one of the things he suggests is finding a ‘champion’. He says:

It’s really important when you’re breaking new ground to find somebody who will encourage you to be yourself.

I guess we all benefit from having a champion in our life.
I believe that God, as our creator, is our ultimate champion. Having created each one of us with a unique combination of traits and gifts, God is clear about our potential and where our true fulfilment lies.
But God is not a remote controller. Rather, I believe that God can champion us through the words and actions of others. Champions come in many different shapes and sizes, so it can take an open mind and open mind to spot them.

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Champions sometimes confirm and affirm, other times they question and challenge, but always with our best interests at heart. It may be that they have the perspective to point out something that’s right under our nose, or maybe we are helped by them ‘being in our boat’ as we ride out a storm, or perhaps we gain courage from their belief in us.

As well as benefitting from champions, we can be champions ourselves. The world is a better place when we stand up for others and stand alongside them.
Life’s too short not to stand tall!

Truth is…  Listen, stay alert, stand tall in the faith, be courageous, and be strong.
(I Corinthians 16:13)

A little bit of encouragement…

I recently heard a heart-warming story about someone who’d found her voice, or more accurately, had re-discovered her voice. I don’t know all the details, but the point is that at a large family gathering her delight in singing was rekindled.

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My guess is that she hasn’t had many opportunities to sing in recent years, so her reflective comment “all you need is a little bit of encouragement” really caught my attention.
How right she is! We all need authentic encouragement to be our true selves.

I wonder how much goodness and giftedness lies within us, stunted or undiscovered –
maybe a dismissive classroom comment extinguished an emerging talent in us,
or maybe we haven’t always ‘fitted in’ and consequently stay on the margins,
or perhaps our reluctance to be open to constructive criticism has prevented us from moving forward.

Situations like these may have arisen through no fault of our own, while others may be of our own making. Whatever, we have a choice. To remain stuck in a rut, or to step out.

That’s where encouragement can pull us to our feet –
self-encouragement,
the encouragement of others,
and as a believer, I’m adding the encouragement of God to the list!
In stepping out, the encouraged can in turn become the encourager, and so goodness and giftedness is perpetuated.

The word ‘courage’ lies within ‘encouragement’. It can nudge us to have a go at something, and to keep going when the going gets tough.

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‘Truth is…’ is testament to this. It arose from what I sensed was a God-prod, and when I’ve wavered, the encouragement that’s come from ‘likes’ ‘shares’ and comments has been uplifting because truth is, I struggle with self-doubt.

I guess I’m not alone in this. But the way to stop being a shrinking violet is to stand tall –
to come out of the shadows into the light,
to take our place in the Sun,
and to find our hearts and hands and voices in whatever ways are fitting.
As Gok says:

“It’s all about the confidence”  

Truth is“Encourage one another and help one another” 1 Thessalonians 5:11

 

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