going deeper

Seven ways to stay encouraged

By: Stacey
Stacey's picture

  1. Take Care of Yourself First…and Breathe

You are on a journey with a ticket to fly towards encouragement. Your flight will take off with your decision to stay encouraged throughout 2020 with these seven steps. The first one is something that God created you to do and that flight attendants across the world recommend when your plane is experiencing decompression; breathe. “In the event of a decompression, an oxygen mask will automatically appear in front of you” is the beginning of the instructions that lead to a sometimes perplexing directive, “If you are travelling with a child or someone who requires assistance, secure your mask on first, and then assist the other person.”  Knowing that you will be conscious to help someone else is important in this crisis but what about your every day life? Breathing through a stressful situation can give you clarity and encouragement to keep going. It also releases the toxins that stress can bring so take a deep breath down to your tummy now and feel that release. Watch Stacey's video on the importance of breath >

  1. Focus on the Positive

This flight to encouragement will take off on time and land so that you have plenty of time to pick up your luggage from the carousel but there might be some turbulence. What out of that last sentence are you focused on? Is it what is going right or what is going wrong? For you there is a choice that you can make each time you face a challenging situation and that is to focus on the positive. Once you have taken that deep breath above, you can decide that what is encouraging is where you will put your thoughts. On a recent flight, the attendant made the announcement that the flight would land fifteen minutes early. They then followed it up with, “yes, now you can go on social media and say something nice about us because I see what you say when things don’t go right.” It is a small example but how you react when things go right and where you focus your mind are important fuel for this journey to a life of encouragement. Watch Jerry's video on changing your perspective >

  1. Take Your Disappointment to God…and Get Real with Him

And what about when nothing is going right to focus on? Be real with God. Your flight is canceled, you will miss the big event and no one will listen to you to help. Disappointment is right in front of you and it hurts to think that what you are facing is bigger than everything around you. But not quite everything. The God that we serve is big enough to take your hurt and disappointment, along with your angry words, so that you don’t have to take it out on someone else. With that in mind, also be real in life. Real for Christ-followers involves reacting the opposite way the world tells us to. When we react to nothing going right with a quiet voice and encouraging words, we are teaching those around us (even our children) what the difference is between someone who knows God and someone who does not. And you can be encouraged by the perplexed looks on their faces. Watch Becky's video on getting real with God >

  1. Focus on Today

If Jesus was making the announcements in the airport before your flight was boarding, he would keep it simple,

“Therefore don't be anxious for tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself.”

Could Jesus be any more clear than this? Matthew 6:34, “So don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today.” There should be a mike drop at the end every time this verse is read. You will be soaring towards encouraging yourself and everyone around you when you take the load of tomorrow off your shoulders and put everything you have into today. A family close to WGTS recently lost a baby. It broke all of our hearts and taught us each to hug the children around us a little closer because no one is promised another day. Look into the sweet faces around you and pour into them today. Tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Watch Spencer's video on overcoming anxiety >

  1. Be Good to Those Around You

And since we discussed finding encouragement by enjoying the family God gave us, let’s agree that the family we choose needs love too. We say “WGTS family” and that means that we each have an impact on each other’s lives. We have the touchstone of Jesus Christ and attempt to share our love of Him with each other and everyone the “WGTS family” comes into contact with. Flying on an airplane with a group of flight attendants who don’t work well together can become very obvious, very quickly. From the first announcement, you can see that your flight is going to be directly affected by those serving you not serving each other. Don’t think that this is to pick on flight attendants but they can make or break your flying experience. Same thing with those that we choose to bring into our lives and the love that we choose to show them. Feeling grateful that God calls us His children, gives us a new family and promises to love us forever can lead to encouragement through the family we have chosen. And a much smoother journey. Watch Blanca's video on being good to those around you >

  1. Look for Someone to Help

And when your flight arrives on time, everyone leaps from their seats to grab their bags and wait. And wait they did on a recent flight when the jet bridge was stuck. No matter what the woman did to align it with the plane, it just would not reach far enough. Passengers were getting antsy as the pilots called for maintenance but the entire mood of the plane changed when a baby started playing peek a boo with everyone in line. The child’s laughter rang through the plane as it jumped up and down, hiding behind the seat. In that moment, everyone’s focus shifted from their problems to the entertaining baby in Row 4. The ability to be able to shift your attention to someone else and their needs will provide you with encouragement as well. It feels good to give to others, regardless of the level of the gift. Listening to a friend who needs to talk, reaching out to a man experiencing homelessness to provide clean socks or volunteering to help someone at work with a project will get your attention off of your problems and help you know what is really important. Watch Claude's video on serving others >

  1. Trust in God

And finally, Gate 7 may be where we should have started on this journey. It is our security and peace when we rely fully on God. Psalm 27:13-14 says, “I would have despaired unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the LORD In the land of the living. Wait for the LORD; Be strong and let your heart take courage; Yes, wait for the LORD.” Our society has a hard time waiting on anything or relying on what is not seen but God is worth the wait and the faith! Be encouraged that He hears your prayers and is in front of your discouragement before you feel it. A little later in the Psalms it declares, “Commit your way to the Lord, Trust also in Him, and He will do it.” Not “maybe He will do it” or “put part of your way with the Lord and risk it” but He will do it and commit your way to Him. There is no greater encourager than seeing God’s work in your life so be encouraged today!

Then cycle back to #1 and start all over again. WGTS and you; making encouragement your greatest destination. Enjoy your flight!