Tidbits of Encouragement

Since last week’s post, I’ve found some tidbits of encouragement I thought I’d pass along. Really, I’m compiling them for myself. Sharing with you helps me digest them a little more. I know some of you aren’t writers, but these can apply to a wide variety of situations and challenges.

The first was a blog post over at My Book Therapy. Rachel Hauck wrote about a bad writing day and how she deals with them. I tried some of her suggestions last week and found they helped quite a bit.

Next, I finally broke down and watched the video of Ashton Kutcher’s acceptance speech at the Teen Choice Awards. That one, I admit was almost a self-defense thing. Facebook friends kept sharing it and I figured if I bit the bullet and watched it, maybe they’d stop. (They did.) The good part starts about two minutes in, and he talks about how opportunity looks a lot like hard work. It doesn’t happen. You have to make it happen a step at a time, and you don’t stop the current step until it’s time for the next one. That’s particularly encouraging to me, but it’s also convicting. So often I gaze longingly at what I think is the next step and let it distract me from the work needed to get to the next level. So thanks, Facebook friends who shared (and shared and shared) that video.

Finally, our pastor read a piece in his sermon yesterday called “The Fellowship of the Unashamed.” It was found in the room of a young Rwandan man soon after he was martyred. The part that stuck out for me was, “I will not flinch in the face of sacrifice, hesitate in the presence of adversity, negotiate at the table of the enemy, ponder at the pool of popularity, or meander in the maze of mediocrity.” I’ve been meandering in the maze of mediocrity. It’s scary to admit that publicly, but one of the things I’ve noticed since I started pushing boundaries a year ago is how much of my behavior is based on fear. I thought I overcame fear years ago when I finally quit worrying over things I couldn’t change, but it’s so much deeper and more insidious than worry. I don’t push my workouts as hard as I could because I’m afraid I can’t do what I’m trying to do. So what? I quit running before the end of a segment. Big deal. Yeah, it hurts, but pain makes us stronger. Pain isn’t the enemy. Pain is the friend that tells you you’re going in the right direction.

Several years ago, I was taking a yoga class. We were holding a challenging pose and I wasn’t the only one with quivering muscles. The teacher, a young woman with the calmest voice ever, said, “I can see some of you are getting tired. Hold on. Be comfortable in the discomfort.” I came home, wrote that on an index card, and posted it on my bulletin board.

Am I still in the Pit of Despair? Oh, yeah. You bet I am. But it’s different this time. I’m getting comfortable in the discomfort and breathing through the pain. When I get out of The Pit, I’m going to feel amazing!

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