Have you ever been to a little kid’s flag football game? If you have, then you’ve probably noticed the moms on the sidelines? I’m referring to a particular mom, the one with her face painted in support of her son’s team, losing her mind as she cheers for her son. Whether he’s playing like a pro or making fumbles and loosing flags, she is shouting encouragement at the top of her lungs for her “baby”. Well, minus the face painting, that crazy hollering Mom is me. One of my favorite responsibilities as a mother is being a cheerleader, if you will, for each of my children. I can remember when my son started playing flag football. On Saturdays during the season, we would load up the family, the cooler, and the chairs to go and cheer our hearts out for the little Rams. Win or loose, I was there cheering! It wasn’t about winning, it was about what the boys were learning, it was about time together and the memories we made that will be cherished forever.
I’ve never, personally, been to a game and heard a mom scolding or tearing down her son when he lost a flag or fumbled the ball. This is probably a good thing, because I would lose my mind over that! It isn’t the norm to hear a parent yelling sarcastically at their child things like, “What are you thinking” or “Good job, you loser!” On the contrary, moms are usually throwing encouragement onto the field the entire game with comments like, “Great try”, “You can do it” or “You’ll get the next one, buddy”. As moms, we should want to build up our kids, reminding them of who they are and what they can be or accomplish, but why is it often different when we grow up or interact with others?
Life can sometimes be like a flag football game. We can often be running down the field of life, in the middle of a great play, only to have Satan snatch our flag. It could be many different flags, like that of joy, peace, or purpose. We can feel discouraged and defeated and have the tendency to throw in the towel. We’ve all had those times, and the most encouraging thing we can hear from the sidelines is the cheers from other believers. Just that little verbal nudge to get up and try again can be all that’s needed to keep us from giving up. Just being reminded that someone believes in us and sees who we were created to by and not just where we messed up or “dropped the ball”.
The same is true as we watch others on their “playing field”. There are always people around us who have lost a flag, and it isn’t our job, as a fellow follower of Christ, to say things like, “What were you thinking” or “I cannot believe you just did that”. We are called to “encourage one another and build each other up”. (1 Thess. 5:11) We need to be the cheerleaders in the lives of those around us, instilling hope, courage, and inspiration.
Acts 20:1b says, “Traveling through the country, passing from one gathering to another, Paul gave constant encouragement, lifting their spirits and charging them with fresh hope”. This is the kind of “teammate” and leader I desire to be. As I am traveling through this journey of life, I want to give constant encouragement to others, lifting their spirits and charging them with fresh hope. No matter what they do or how hard they fall, I want to be a person that takes the time to lift them up and invigorate them to “get back in the game”!
I am confident, if you’re pursuing greatness, that you have this same desire. Let’s be intentional this week as we are in this, sometimes hard, game of life, to uplift those that are down and encourage those that have had a flag snatched by the enemy. Let’s run down the field of life together, remembering we are on the same team and the score is already been determined. OH, and just for the record, we win!
May the Lord help us to be people who build others up, instill fresh hope in those that are down, and cheer for those who are running with us, for His glory! May our voices of encouragement and inspiration be louder than the jeers that are coming from those trying to discourage and tear down. In our pursuit of greatness, may we cheer on those in pursuit alongside us!