As you are no doubt aware by now, I am not very smart. The title of my webpage claims, truthfully, that I believe myself to be FairlySmart – in other words, more smart than not smart, even if by the thinnest of margins.
You may have also read on some of my posts that I am not always the swiftest to pick up subtle hints, particularly in the spiritual realm. Often my prayer has been for the Lord to show me what He wants, and to make it abundantly clear and evident. Today such an event took place.
I have an app on my phone called iDisciple, which I think very highly of – it is one I can plug into my car and listen to sermons from a host of accomplished pastors. I use it a lot when I travel and have time to take in an entire sermon. Today, I was listening to Jim Cymbala, pastor of the Brooklyn Tabernacle in, well, Brooklyn. New York. Pastor Cymbala was making a point about three words – Courage, Encouragement, and Discouraged. All the same root word, but all different meanings. As he was talking through Encouragement, he said something that triggered the Lord speaking to me. Not audibly, but He planted in me a mission for 2018 – to make it a year of Encouragement – for me to seek out and encourage others.
So much of what bombards us daily is negative, discouraging (there’s that word), and just beats me down physically and mentally. Many of you face the same feelings I do. The Lord put on my heart today to make 2018 a year in which I look for opportunities to encourage those around me.
Being too lazy to use a dictionary, I Googled synonyms for Encouragement. (You can find anything on Google.) Though not a synonym, the following definition popped up first: “the act of giving someone support, confidence, or hope.” Hope. To build up instead of tear down. Over the course of three hours, this has become a case of I can’t do everything, but I can do something. Encouragement is one of my spiritual gifts, and I can use it more effectively than I have been. Here is the plan that God has dropped in my lap (remember, subtlety is not my strong point).
There are 12 months (duh) and 53 Mondays in 2018. Each month I have developed a theme of people to encourage, ranging from Family, to The Invisible People (curious?) to Those In Authority Over Us to…hmmm…nine other things!
The first Monday of each month I will post the theme for that month, including the weekly specific people or people groups I can encourage, and each Monday I will post which particular group I will single out to encourage that week. This might sound a little convoluted at the moment, because it kind of is. Look for the initial post for Monday/January coming up New Year’s Day. I think it will be a little more self-evident when you see what is bouncing around in my head. My reason for putting it out in the blogosphere is purely for accountability on my part. When this hits the web, there is no going back. If you choose to join in this journey, please let me know I am not the only one, although even if I am, that’s okay. Pray that I will have perseverance, clarity of thought (yes, I believe in miracles!), and flexibility to adapt to specific situations that might arise in the year ahead.
Thank you for reading this today, and remember – 2018 is The Year of Hope!