Expecting Encouragement

Feeling Encouraged

Encouragement can feel a variety of ways. When I’m encouraged, I’m any number of the following…

  • Motivated — Appreciated — Energized — Hopeful
  • Validated — Inspired — Reassured — Comforted
  • Supported — Positive — Enthused — Supported

When I’m encouraged, I’m more patient as well as more motivated to pursue peace with others. Encouragement just makes me an all-around better person. Does it do the same for you?

Expecting Encouragement

When I expect encouragement from other people, I’m always disappointed. They never meet my expectation, usually because they’re too high and/or because they just don’t know what they are and have no way of knowing. Also, I want encouragement from others to be authentic, a genuine part of who they are, and not from a place of obligation and should.

When I expect encouragement from God, I’m never disappointed. He goes beyond my expectations and far surpasses anything I can hope or imagine.

“Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all we ask or think, according to the power that works within us, to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever. Amen.” (Ephesians 3:20-21)

Beyond Expectations

What does it mean to not only receive encouragement from God but to have what He gives go well beyond what we can think of or even imagine? Maybe you are like I once was and how Han Solo so perfectly expresses…

“I don’t know. I can imagine quite a bit.” (Star Wars: A New Hope)

God’s encouragement always seems to be surprises and unexpected even when they happen every day.

  • A sunrise or sunset
  • Ocean waves
  • A child’s laughter
  • A smile from a stranger

Even though He so faithfully and consistently doles out encouragement, I still find myself surprised by it.

God encourages through the people we know as well as through the daily events in our lives too. He encourages us in many unusual ways too. Take a minute and think about the ways God has encouraged you recently in through these areas.

Really, there are simply too many ways to list. You just don’t always realize that until you get going. I find that once I start to list them, I have a hard time stopping. I’ll simply list how scripture says we are encouraged by God:

1. Through the Holy Spirit

“The church then had peace throughout Judea, Galilee, and Samaria, and it became stronger as the believers lived in the fear of the Lord. And with the encouragement of the Holy Spirit, it also grew in numbers.” (Acts 9:31)

2. Through Scripture

“Such things were written in the Scriptures long ago to teach us. And the Scriptures give us hope and encouragement as we wait patiently for God’s promises to be fulfilled.” (Romans 15:4)

3. Through our position in Christ

Is there any encouragement from belonging to Christ? Any comfort from his love? Any fellowship together in the Spirit? Are your hearts tender and compassionate?” (Philippians 2:1)

When I experience all the emotions that can accompany being encouraged, I better understand what Isaiah meant when he wrote what has become one of the most quoted passages of Scripture.

“He gives strength to the weary, and to him who lacks might He increases power. Though youths grow weary and tired, and vigorous young men stumble badly, yet those who wait for the Lord will gain new strength; they will mount up with wings like eagles, they will run and not get tired, they will walk and not become weary.” (Isaiah 40:29-31)

While I’m changed in many ways when I am encouraged by the Lord, the biggest impact comes in a desire to encourage others. Encouragement is just one of those gifts you don’t want to keep for yourself.

Amplify

1-11-13 amplify

Understanding the Word

To help understand the meaning of “amplify,” consider the purpose of audio amplifiers. They aren’t about adding volume; instead, they are about control. Through control of sound, amps give extra power, which leads to more detail and better sound quality. In other words, a sound amplifier produces a more powerful and detailed version of an audio signal.

To amplify in any way involves deeper analysis and further illustration. Amplifying also means increasing in amount and strength.

As I focus on amplifying in 2013, I want to create better understanding within each of my goal areas, which I’ll talk about in Monday’s post. I want to take my time to go deeper and create more detail. I liken this to becoming an expert in fewer areas rather than a generalist in many.

With amplification in 2013, I want to expand the basic meaning and purpose of what I am already doing and give them increased depth. I want to discover more power, power that is “immeasurably more” than all I could ask or imagine, “according to His power that is at work” within me (Ephesians 3:20-21).

Already Prepared

As I meditated on and studied the word “amplify,” I realized that the Holy Spirit had been cultivating the concept in my spirit for a while already. Let me explain.

Isaiah 43:18-19 has been a sort of theme verse for me for the past three years

“But forget all that—it is nothing compared to what I am going to do. For I am about to do something new. See, I have already begun! Do you not see it? I will make a pathway through the wilderness. I will create rivers in the dry wasteland.”

After choosing “amplify” as my focus for 2013, I realized how well Isaiah 43:18-19 fits with that focus. When I choose to give control of my life over to my Creator, I know that I will experience increased power and depth in ways beyond what I can even imagine. In other words, He is the amplifier!

Another avenue leading toward my “amplify” focus came through a quote by Aslan in the Chronicles of Narnia, The Final Battle.

“Come further up, come further in.”

Another way to say it is to go “deeper down and further out.” (I was reminded of this quote after reading If You Started a New Community, Where Would You Begin? by Tom Tarver at A Curious Band of Others.)

My accountability partner and I have been talking a lot these past few months about application of “deeper down and further out,” which I now realizes can be summed up in one word – “amplify.”

So really, I started to “amplify” about halfway through 2012 but didn’t realize it until participating in my family’s annual goal setting. God prepared my heart for this focus, and His timing remains perfect.

1-9-13 amplify beach 1

What’s next?

On Monday, I will go into more detail on how I plan to integrate “amplify” into different goal areas for 2013.

For what it’s worth, I had no idea when writing Vacation Reflections: Resolutions that I would be writing today’s post going into details on the meaning behind “amplify.” I also had no idea before writing this post that I would decide to continue the topic in “How to… Amplify” in my next post.

Perhaps that illustrates well part of the process to “amplify” as I allow the Holy Spirit more control. In that, I realize that to “amplify” for me involves increasingly more of Him and less of me as 2013 progresses (John 3:30).

DISCUSSION: What are your thoughts on the word “amplify”? 

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