When my husband and I were getting married, we were on a specific budget. We picked an all-inclusive venue, which was affordable. My whole outfit (dress, shoes, veil, undergarments, jewelry) cost less than $400, and for our rehearsal dinner we only paid for food. Everything was perfect, except I wanted a photo booth for our wedding. The photo booth was outside of our budget. My husband said he could create one, but I discouraged him from it. I would rather not have one, than one that didn’t work or looked horrible. In that moment, I should have told him, “Really? That would be great.” Instead, I discouraged him because I believed he couldn’t do it. I had no basis to believe he couldn’t do it. You see, I knew I couldn’t figure it out, so of course he couldn’t figure it out, either.
We didn’t have a photo booth for our wedding. However, my husband was so interested in how photo booths worked that he did countless hours of research and decided to start his own photo booth company. I did not discourage him this time, and I am glad I didn’t. In less than a year, he had a successful business, and in two years, I was able to quit my job and help run the company, while he grew another company.
We have been married for almost 5 years and there are still times when he comes up with ideas that I automatically want to discourage him from, and then I remember the photo booth for our wedding and choose to encourage him. He may or may not do it. His idea might even fail, but he will remember that I encouraged him through it, that I was there beside him, even if I didn’t agree.
From my experience, discouragement comes from prideful or selfish desires. We tend to discourage when we don’t think someone is capable, when we feel we aren’t capable, when we are jealous of the other person’s ideas, or when we just don’t care.
Encouragement requires putting aside your wants, needs, and desires and putting someone else’s wants, needs and desires ahead of yours, if even for just a moment.
Both encouragement and discouragement are very powerful weapons that affect the soul. With encouragement, you can lift someone so high they feel like they can accomplish anything, they can feel like they have a chance. It creates a very powerful emotion full of strength and power.
With discouragement, unknowingly, it can create wedges in relationships, it can cause people to doubt themselves, and it can even cause a person to abandon their idea, an idea which potentially could have been life changing. Discouragement also creates very powerful emotions of doubt, insecurity, confinement and even distrust.
Encouragement does not come easy. It must be practiced and worked on continually. Discouragement comes very easily. It is already on the tip of your tongue.
I am on the journey of choosing encouragement over discouragement. Come learn with me on my blog on how to choose to encourage, instead of discourage, and how to encourage yourself.
We who are strong have an obligation to bear with the failings of the weak, and not to please ourselves. 2 Let each of us please his neighbor for his good, to build him up. 3 For Christ did not please himself, but as it is written, “The reproaches of those who reproached you fell on me.” 4 For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that through endurance and through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope. 5 May the God of endurance and encouragement grant you to live in such harmony with one another, in accord with Christ Jesus, 6 that together you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. 7 Therefore welcome one another as Christ has welcomed you, for the glory of God.