POWER OF ENCOURAGEMENT

Written by Richard Pidgley (Birmingham UK)

Richard Pidgley is married to Lynne, has two adult sons and two super cute grandsons. Richard is an AoG minister who leads Millpool Hill Church in Birmingham U.K. Richard has an MA in missional leadership and loves to teach the Word of God. He also loves early morning trail running.

October 5, 2021

I was out of shape and overweight!

Harsh but sadly true. I had to courageously embrace the brutal truth and I knew that I needed to do something about it!
After considering my situation, I decided to adjust my diet by eating healthier and lowering my daily calorie intake and also start doing some daily exercise.

The exercise I chose was running!
Why?
Because running is free, you can do it anywhere, and it burns more calories than any other mainstream exercise.

It’s Official – Running is Good for You!

The U.K. National Health Service states that ‘Regular running can reduce your risk of long-term illnesses, such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes and stroke. It can also boost your mood and keep your weight under control.’

As a 53 year old who hadn’t run since I was 17 years of age, I decided that I was going to need some help.
And so, without hesitation, I downloaded the free ‘Couch to 5K’ App on my mobile phone.

With trepidation, I started on week 1 of a 9 week programme designed to get people off the couch and to build up their running strength.
The goal is to run constantly for thirty minutes and that should equate to approximately 5 kilometres.
The going was tough!
My breathing was unregulated and I found myself panting and gasping for air after only a minute or so of running.
I really felt like giving up!

Starting is Good but Finishing is Better!

I didn’t give up because, Laura, my ‘coach’ encouraged me.
Yes, just when I had felt like quitting, her voice cut through my music playlist.
She would chime positive words that made me feel like staying on course.
Over the weeks, Laura would help me with my breathing, running style and pace.
She would speak encouragement to me at the start, middle and the finish of each session.
Through Laura’s help, I achieved my goal of running 5 kilometres several times before the end of the course.
My fitness levels rose rapidly, my stamina increased greatly and I even lost over a stone in weight.
I no longer felt ashamed.
Instead, I had become confident and energised.

I got this far because I made a decision to make a positive change and I could not have accomplished it without Laura cheering me on by my side.

We All Need Encouragement in Life

Here is the thing;
That free App was really good for me, as it showed what a few words of encouragement from Laura, a pre-recorded voice on the Couch to 5K App, could do…
So if a pre-recorded voice could encourage me in such a positive life changing way, how much more can we benefit from encouraging each other in life?

When we speak encouragement to those who feel like giving up, we are literally speaking courage, strength, hope and life into them.
The Bible says that we should seek to encourage one another…

“So encourage each other and build each other up…” (NLT, 1 Thessalonians 5:11)

It will not cost you anything to download that running App, and it will not cost you anything to speak words of encouragement to others who have grown tired, and who maybe are at the brink of quitting their race in life.
Your positive words may be just the help they need to get up and run again, in fact your encouragement may even help them to run spiritual marathons!

REFLECTION:

Running regularly has been a great boost for my physical and mental week being, but what about my spiritual fitness?
The runner needs certain disciplines like eating the right kind of food, getting enough core strengthening work done, stretching and ensuring adequate rest.
Likewise, the follower of Christ also needs some disciplines to maintain their well-being and ensure that he/ she can run the distance:

Am I feeding on the Word of God?
Am I worshiping God and singing His praises?
Am I building myself up by praying in the Holy Spirit?
Am I resting in God?
Am I sharing the Gospel?

CHALLENGE:

Who can I encourage in the faith?
Do I have a ‘Word’ for somebody that will lift their spirit and point them to God?
Who can I encourage in their running?
Kingdom Runners has a great Facebook page and there are a lot of opportunities to see what others are posting in terms of their runs.
Why stop at ‘liking’ posts when you can take some time to meaningfully interact with another from a different place in the world and encourage them?

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