…Three strong, promising words. All these have been on my mind as I have gone about this week.
I’ve been thinking about ‘encouragement’ for a while, though not necessarily under that name. I’ve been wanting to become a more positive person to be around, someone with the power to help others to feel lifted and refreshed after seeing me. I’m aware that my tendency to rant and my dislike of pretension can lead to negativity (especially when combined with early mornings and a lack of coffee!) I’ve been mulling all this over, so it was quite remarkable that when I popped into a Christian bookshop the other day, in search of something to help me refocus on God, I found a little book about Encouragement. It was brightly coloured with a sunshiney picture on the front, with the cheesy but undeniably positive title ‘Bring me Sunshine’. On a whim, I bought it, and had my first proper sit-down with God in weeks. I found a seat in a big Costa with good, big windows, first thing in the morning, and read through the first few days’ worth of material (it gives a reading a day). The first section reminded me that God is an Encourager, and challenged me to step back from any misconceptions of Him that contradict that… From then onwards I began to get a real insight that when we experience God’s encouraging character, we might just start to reflect it.
Encouragement is very much a theme in an article I’ve been putting together about ‘Dreams’. I’ve been exploring what it means to have hopes and dreams for our lives and the world, and the fact that sometimes we experience disappointment or confusion as we wait for them to be fulfilled. One of the key messages that seems to be appearing is that we need encouragement in our dreams, and to encourage others in theirs. Encouragement leads to hope, which is such an important, life giving thing.
Part of trying to be positive is also about appreciating and enjoying life – and this week something that has been making me really happy is colour 🙂 In winter, it’s especially important to me to get light and colour fixes every day. It struck me that when Jesus said ‘I am the Light of the world’, one of the things he was saying was that he is the source of colour. I’ve been loving colour in all kinds of places and things (most of them free, incidentally): my sister’s art work, flowers, rainbows, clothes, food and more. We also revisited an Audrey Hepburn film, Funny Face – it’s a relatively early colour film, and I love the way it uses it.
Photo from Funny Face, found via Google images
Another photo from our holiday in Rome, taken in Campo di Fiori
Codden Hill, North Devon (an old photo I found on our camera)
Wishing you all a colourful, hopeful, encouraging rest of the week!