Lesson #2 from The Joy of Encouragement is about hope. You see..when we are discouraged, for whatever reason, we tend to go through 3 phases within the discouragement; that brings about a need for hope. The phases are
When we expect something to happen in our lives we usually rev ourselves up. Depending on the level of importance we get so excited that we can’t sleep, eat, or work right. In our expectancy we also have a tendency to put an expectation date on the “hope at hand”. When/If it does not happen on the expectation date we may give it a little extra time. But when it still has not happened we start to doubt; ourselves, the person/persons involved in bringing that thing to life, etc.
This inevitably leads to disappointment. All that we had hoped for seems so far off. We are probably saddened. Then we start asking ourselves crazy questions like:
- How could I have fallen for this again?
- Why didn’t I see this coming?
- I should have known better?
- What was I thinking?
The list could surely go on. As it does the pity party usually starts. If this & the doubt go unresolved you will be in the midst of despair in no time; because we have lost hope. THIS IS A TERRIBLE PLACE TO BE!!! Depending on the “hope at hand” people around us could be questioning our logic & intuition about the situation. And #really, who likes to be questioned about their hopeful matters?
So how do you work your way out of this? (All together now) ENCOURAGEMENT! Very good!
When you’ve gone through the 3 phases of discouragement it takes a special process to get you through it. Encouragement through this will take a combination of what we discussed in Encouragement #1, dialogue & (personal) discovery. In the dialogue with a discouraged person you have to get them to tell you what they believed about the “hope at hand” & what they are thinking at that moment. There won’t be much need for you to comment. You need only ask questions that will lead them to the point of (personal) discovery that will trigger their restored hope in all things. Now if they ask you questions you should respond, but sans judgement.
I have been at this <a title=”Crossroads” href=”crossroad many a times with friends. It is very difficult to have nothing to say. (I love to talk. LOL!) But I’ve learned that when someone is at the point of despair nothing you say will change their mind. They have to see the light for themselves. It may take some time. But once they have digested everything & put some things into practice they will be revitalized & encouraged to move forward…to move out of that terrible place.
They still may not have the “hope at hand” but they will have a new outlook that brings hope; which encourages them to face future disappointments with a new heart. This may sound simple, and trust me sometimes it is. But this process has its nuisances. You have to discern what questions to ask & what thoughts to speak. Remember, some of this they will need to discover on their own.
No need to worry that you can’t do this.
- I ask him pertinent questions.
- He may ask some in return. But I only answer some.
- He figures out the answer.
- Now he’s excited because he did it himself. So the next time he thinks he can’t he is encouraged by the last incident to try on his own first & to not lose heart too fast.
I use this method not only with my son & friends, but also with my participants at work. It seems to work well. Some people may get angry because you won’t tell them what to do. Others may be frustrated because you’re asking probing questions (that they may not want to answer). But 98% of the time it brings forth great results.
So I ENCOURAGE you to put this into practice in your life. What happens when you teach a person to fish vs. giving them the fish…Uh huh.. OKay!
Take care & *be encouraged*!!!