I was a cheerleader in high school. It wasn’t because that was what the popular kids did or anything as shallow as that. I was a cheerleader because it was what I was good at doing. I tried basketball and probably played a total of two minutes the entire season. I was terrible at it. I tried running track and pulled a hamstring like the second or third practice and was out for the season. I even attempted to play tennis, but my hand-eye coordination wasn’t very good. Turns out that I liked jumping up and down and cheering others on.
As much as we love to make fun of the cheerleader type, you know what I mean, the popular, snotty girls, when I look back over my life, I am really grateful for my cheerleaders. Think about the people who have always encouraged you to keep going or who believed in you or in an idea you had. Those are your cheerleaders. My mom has always been my loudest cheerleader. She has always been ready to cheer me on to victory whether it was for cheering tryouts in high school or deciding to go away to college. She has always read just about everything I have written and has always encouraged me to keep going.
That’s really what cheerleading is; it’s encouraging. Paul tells us in 1 Thessalonians 5:11, “So encourage each other and build each other up, just as you are already doing.” I think we are supposed to encourage one another to help each other reach our full, God-given potential. I had a high school English teacher, Nancy Kennedy, who always encouraged me to write and I think of her every time I sit at a keyboard. I have had many encouragers along the way and I try to be an encourager myself.
I try to go out of my way to tell my kids that I am proud of them or the kids that I’m subbing for that their work looks good. Children will bloom right before your eyes with the right encouragement, but adults will too. I once interviewed this woman for an industrial type job and I asked her why she had never considered office work; she looked at me without hesitation and told me that she never thought she was “good enough” for office work. While I was stunned at her revelation, I told her I disagreed with her. You wouldn’t believe how much taller she sat up in her chair. A little encouragement can go a long way.
I think Jesus, was the best example of encouragement that we will ever have. I love the story of him walking on water. Peter sees him and I picture him bouncing up and down in the boat like a child, “let me walk on water too!” Jesus tells him to come. Now you know Jesus knows, he’s going to get scared and sink, which of course he does, but he encourages him to come anyway; just like we encourage our own kids to ride their bikes without training wheels, even though we know they will likely fall. Why do we do that? We do it for the same reason Jesus did it; riding a bike takes practice, just like fearless faith takes practice. Even though Jesus knew Peter’s faith would fail him, he encouraged him to try, and then reached out for him and saved him as he started to sink. Jesus’ belief in Peter’s faith did pay off in the end.
Today, I am going to think of some of the people in my life who have offered me much-needed encouragement on my way, my journey cheerleaders of sorts. I’m going to say a special prayer of thanks for them and then I am going to try to thank at least a few of them with an e-mail or a call. Next, I’m going to find at least one person who I can cheer for today. What about you? Care to join me? Feel free to comment.
Have an awesome day!