Drawing a Line with People Who Suck the Oxygen Out of Your Tank

drawing a line with people who deflate us

“Almost buddy! Try again. There you go!”

I watched other parents coach my eight-year-old through his first time in a batting cage and a smile crept across my face. They saw the areas where he was struggling, and they each worked together to help him improve.

“Put your right arm up a little bit. Spread your legs out more. There, nice hit!”

With each shout of encouragement, my son got better. His confidence grew, and within a few minutes he was hitting the ball with more often.

On the way home later that evening, he gave a coy little smile and asked Daddy, “So, did you like watching me hit the ball in that batting cage?”

He already knew the answer. But he loved hearing it.

Watching him reminded me how those little pushes from the people who surround us can change the trajectory of our whole lives. Although I know my son will discover his gifts lie in certain areas as he gets older, I never want to discourage him from trying new things.

I never want him to look back on his life and say, “If only I had tried this…”

Recently I shared with some friends how it was their encouragement, accountability and reinforcement that helped me reach new goals in my writing. They rallied behind me as I strove for things I never would have dreamed possible five or six years ago and never once said, “Don’t get your hopes up,” or “Do you think you’re being unrealistic?”

People who speak life make us seize life with both hands. They make us attempt to do what we never thought we would, not because we’re able, but because God is.

But there’s a flip-side to those life-giving words and people, isn’t there? There’s that person we hesitate to share the good news with or discuss dreams with because we know as soon as we do, our hopes will deflate.

limit the negativity 2

Like a balloon getting stuffed into a freezer, the enthusiasm that filled us instantly shrinks. Instead of reaching for the moon, we suddenly feel the need to defend ourselves.

Now, I don’t know who, as my eight-year-old likes to say, has “sucked the oxygen out of your tank” today (thank you, Lego Movie). But I do know a few truths that have helped me face those situations. We will always have some naysayers in our lives, but can I speak a little truth to you? The next time you’re feeling deflated, remember:

  1. You don’t have to prove yourself to anyone. If God gave you a dream to pursue, he is able to see it through. There isn’t a person on this planet who can stand in his way.
  1. You can limit the negative in your life. If there is a certain person who speaks discouragement every time you share good news, it may be time to find someone else to share your victories with.
  1. You can choose the people you do life with. Like I stated before, I don’t think I would be where I can without the positive influence of friends who have pushed me beyond the limits I placed on myself. When we hear people saying, “I believe in you,” it makes us believe in ourselves.

Always remember to extend grace. You never know what someone who speaks discouragement may be going through. But choose your tribe wisely.

Surround yourself with others who believe the same God who spoke the stars into existence can sustain you as you reach for them. Shine on, and give our Creator all the glory.

 

Linking up with these communities: #RaRaLinkup, #TellHisStory

Why You Shouldn’t Withhold Your Encouragement

Don't Withhold Your Words of Encouragement

I’m a sucker for a good Hallmark card. Don’t make fun. This Mother’s Day with the pregnancy hormones raging, I may have gotten a little teary-eyed as I was reading mine.

It said exactly what I needed to hear. Greeting cards have a way of doing that, don’t they?

You pour your heart and soul into this family

And it shows.

It had been a rough week. As we received notes home from our son’s teacher about his recent difficulties staying focused, I questioned the causes for his change in behavior. I questioned my abilities as a mom and whether or not we’d be able to handle a third child.

I knew as the last weeks of school wound down it wasn’t uncommon for kids to lose focus, but the feelings of defeat still followed me. Especially after the second note in one week. It didn’t appear as though our conversation had helped.

Sometimes when the stresses of life pile up, we need a reminder. And I thank God that Mother’s Day greeting cards aren’t the only time my husband gives me one.

He tells me he sees the love I pour into our family. He lets me know my labor is not in vain. But as I remembered the lines his card, I wondered.

How often do we let those words of encouragement and affirmation go unsaid? Are holidays and cards the only time we say the things that matter, or do we tell the people we love how much we care?

I recently watched a video that had gone viral on Facebook. It was about regret, and talked about how people nearing the end of their lives here on earth didn’t usually regret the things they did.

They regretted what they didn’t do.

why you shouldn't withhold your encouagement

The video talked about pursuing our dreams, very carpe diem in its message. I was moved and inspired.

But the type of regret the video didn’t talk about was things left unsaid. Words of love left unspoken. Words that say, “You matter, you inspire, and you’ve made a difference in my life.”

Not just in a greeting card, but spoken out loud.

I thought about how often God has blessed me with people who moved and inspired me, but I didn’t tell them. I thought about the people in my life who have passed, and wondered if they knew what they meant to me.

They say actions speak louder than words and I believe most of the time this is true, but you know what? Our words matter. They can breathe life into a soul who needs it and turn thoughts into movement.

But we have to speak them. Instead of simply thinking good thoughts about someone, we have to say them out loud.

Words of encouragement never spoken are like thirsty seed. They have the potential to give life, but they don’t.

Tell someone she matters today. Tell her you see her and notice the love she pours into her work, her family and those around her.

You may never know how much she needs it. You may never know the life you bring with your words.

 

Linking up with these communities: #RaRaLinkup, #IntentionalTuesday