An Open Letter of Encouragement (To Myself)
How many of you out there could use a little encouragement right now? Who’s your go-to when you need it? There are many sources we could (or should) turn to when our hearts could use a lift. Like your friends, your family members, your spouse. And the Lord, of course. But how many of you have also experienced times when you know that encouragement from others is just not gonna stick?
This happens to me more often than I’d like to admit. And though I’m a pretty good encourager of other people, I find myself getting easily discouraged without a good strategy to get out of it. Last week, I was describing some of my worries and insecurities to a fellow student in one of my coaching classes. She asked me, “Where are you going to go to get encouragement about these things?” In my mind, I scanned through the people I know, knowing more or less what they’d say to me. “I guess I really need to get it from myself,” I concluded. But how?
The last thing I want to do is give myself a corny pep talk, a “yay me,” a daily-affirmations-with-Stuart-Smalley kind of speech. But then I had the idea to encourage myself in a letter, a blog post–one that others could read. I’m clearly no authority on this stuff, but what if my little experiment works for me and inspires others to do the same kind of thing?
So, I’m giving it a try.
If it jibes with you, feel free to steal it; use it like a template and adapt it to your own specifics. If it feels a bit weird…alright, so be it. Vulnerability usually does feel weird and awkward, but often it’s the only way God can get in there and heal us. Besides, I’m trying to put into practice some of what I preach: if you want radical transformation, you just might have to get a little radical.
So if I haven’t yet scared you off, hang in there with me through the following letter and give me a little grace for any awkwardness, and I’ll try to do the same, too. And with that disclaimer out there, here it goes:
Hey there, heart-mind-soul-spirit, listen up.
You’ve been incredibly hard on yourself lately. Pretty unfair, actually. It’s time you started really taking in the encouragement you give out, and believing for yourself the stuff you believe for others.
Your feelings are valid, but your insecurities are unfounded. You’ve worked hard to get where you are right now, haven’t you? So take a moment and stand where you are. Look around. Survey your personal environment and what is true.
You know what you believe and what you believe in. It’s your greatest gift, really. A faith that can’t be stolen no matter how many times it’s been tested. It’s your inner compass, your guiding force. It’s the Holy Spirit given to you in a unique measure and manifestation. No one else carries him the same way you do. And you are uniquely equipped to carry him to others.
You worry too much about having impact, being successful, making something of yourself. Like those things set the overall value of your life. It’s just not true. Who’s the only one that can measure a person’s value and worth? You know the answer–it’s the Father alone. The One whose approval you already have.
You won’t stop short of accomplishing your life’s purpose. In the long run, you cannot fail. Why? Because you care about pleasing God. Because you are obedient to what he asks you to do. You choose, every time you are aware of it, to follow that inner compass.
You have a great mix of gifts and talents perfectly suited to your personality, and you are eager to work hard and learn what you need to acquire more skills. Trust yourself. There may have been times you’ve let yourself down and made mistakes, but what about forgiveness? What about rebuilding trust in yourself the way you’ve done it with others? Are you less worthy of it than other people?
Do you remember the one common factor among those who experience the kind of success and impact you seek? It’s persistence. They don’t give up. And you’re not a quitter, either–you never have been. Keep going. Keep doing what you’re doing as the Lord leads.
He’s got you, he really does. Has he ever failed you?
You know a lot of this stuff on some level. But it’s time you begin to own it and walk forward in confidence. Fake it ’til you make it. Because you will.
Get back in the Scriptures and commit more of them to memory. You’re gonna need them. It isn’t self-indulgent to feed yourself good food. You can’t function on empty, or go very far on the junk food the world has to offer. But don’t be afraid to look for encouragement in other good books, either, because often in the silence of reading God can get in a word edge-wise. He loves to speak to you.
Now, take a deep breath and breathe in peace; breathe in his presence. You’re gonna be ok and things are gonna be good.
You’ve got this, because he’s got you.
Until next time (and don’t make it too long),
Your Loving Self.
How do you encourage yourself when you really need it?