I hate doing sit ups but with the passage of time, my stomach muscles have loosened up and all my extra weight seems to have settled right in the middle of my belly. Carl seems to understand my displeasure as I curl up on the exercise ball and count each excruciating sit up. The problem is, if he isn’t contained, he will scratch at my hair or stomach until I have to stop and move him. A couple of days ago, I was able to eliminate this issue with a simple solution. I lifted Carl up and placed him into the large Jacuzzi tub that is adjacent to my exercise mat. So now, when I am doing my exercises, Carl rests his paws on the side of the tub and looks at me with an encouraging stare that gives me just enough motivation to get to the finish line.
The other day I was playing tennis and found myself yelling for my partner to run towards difficult balls that were a little out of her reach. I asked her if she minded and she shared that she loved having a cheerleader to encourage her to go after the balls that she might not go for. Nehemiah is one example of someone who was a great cheerleader. When he was given the opportunity to go back to Jerusalem and rebuild the wall of the city, he was able to motivate thousands of people to help rebuild the wall that had been destroyed. How did he do this? Most importantly he avoided the skeptics and listened to the people that worked with him on the wall.
As I think back on how Nehemiah was able to rebuild a wall under such opposition, I began to think about how important encouragement is for all of us. Paul writes in 1 Thessalonians 5: 11 “Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.”
I have to confess that building people up takes more effort than tearing someone down. If I am not careful, I can open my mouth and before I even know what I have said, slanderous or discouraging words can come tumbling out. On the other hand, building others up takes more energy and restraint. Dr. David Jeremiah recently shared a conversation a foreman had about tearing down a building. The foreman stated that he didn’t need trained men to tear a building down but he definitely needed skilled workers to build one up.
What kind of world we would live in if we were all cheerleaders for each person we came in contact with? Instead of the demise we see on TV each day, we could be experiencing acts of kindness and encouragement. It would be an amazing planet to live on if we just cheered people on… Thankfully, Carl has the mentality to be my cheerleader. During my workouts or just when I am relaxing in a chair, my four legged cheerleader comes up to me with his deep brown eyes and crooked smile to inspire me. Got to love it..