A fortnight ago, Matey (9) competed in a junior triathlon. He absolutely loved it and had a ball. Due to his fabulous bike riding, he blitzed the field and came second. What amazed me, though, was the atmosphere in the place.
Before Matey’s race, we were standing watching his coach compete in the men’s event. I was gobsmacked with how encouraging all the staff were. There were oodles of staff members, one at least every 20 metres or so. Their job was to point the way plus encourage each and every competitor. It had to have been in their job description because I have never seen anything like it before in my life. “Way to go”, “Well done”, “Keep going,” “Not far to go now”, “You’re going well”, were common from the staff members of the triathlon.
I found myself becoming quite teary. Whenever I experience emotion that is unusual for that timeframe, I then usually ask God, “What is happening?”. Then, “What lie am I believing?”. Then, ”What is your truth I need to hear?”.
I felt God say to me, “That is how my church is meant to be”. Encouraging. Spurring one another on. Getting alongside and cheering people on whilst pointing the way forward.
I immediately realised that the sporting arena has really taken over one of the church’s responsibilities – that of encouragement and spurring one another on to good things. No wonder people want to spend their Sundays running triathlons. Not only is there the adrenalin high, but an amazing encouraging atmosphere that I have never encountered anywhere else.
This has caused me to also look at how encouraging we are in our immediate family. Two nights before, Matey had had a swimming race night for his junior swimming squad. In the car on the way home, we had fallen into the habit of critiquing his diving off the blocks and how that had hindered his race. As soon as I changed the conversation to “Well done, we were proud of you”, he brightened considerably and said “Thanks mum”. I instantly realised how we can improve on our encouragement. Not false encouragement but true encouragement of “giving courage” and spurring one another on to greater works.
What about you and your family? Is encouragement one of your family’s values? How do you encourage each other?