Shepherding Realities

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image via iStock Photo user IB

Self-perceptions are more spoken into existence by others than they are self-taught.

Don’t believe me?

  • Why do you think that some kids feel awkward? It’s because they’re told that they are.
  • Why do some kids feel un-loved? Because they’re told that they never measure up.
  • Why do some leaders perceive themselves to be weak? Because everyone tells them that they are.
  • Why do some wives feel like they never measure up? Because they’re never told that their work investing in their homes is worth the effort.
  • Why do some older people feel like they have no life and wisdom to give? Because they’re devalued by those who claim to love them.

We speak perceptions into existence every day through conversations and interactions we have with coworkers, family members, and the annoying guy at the drive-thru. The words, tone, and attitude you share with others can literally change the way that others view themselves.

I am speaking my son’s reality into existence every day: I tell him that he’s courageous. And strong. And that he’s a leader. And that nothing can hold him back. And that God’s going to use him in big ways. And that my love of him is secure. He can’t do anything to lose it.

Speaking Realities in Leadership

Want to lead someone? Then change their perceptions of themselves. The Bible calls this ‘encouragement.’ Encourage even the smallest step in the right direction. As you feed the work of God in someone’s life, people see where God is working. Your encouragement acts as a new set of glasses, changing the way they see everything. As you encourage with love, people feel loved. As you encourage with grace, people feel graced. As you encourage people with hope, despair melts away. Negative perceptions are overcome with a timely word and action.

Without your encouragement, though, they’re going to continue feeling an absence of love and grace and motivation. Without your encouragement, they won’t know which direction to head.

  • Encouragement focuses not on what is, but on what could be.
  • Encouragement focuses not on past failures, but on future hopes.
  • Encouragement focuses not on current shortcomings, but on timeless Truth.
  • Encouragement focuses not on overwhelming fear, but on a big God.
  • Encouragement focuses not on weaknesses, but on gifts and strengths.

Through encouragement, you have the chance to shepherd a person’s reality of themselves.

Correction may be warranted at times, but right now, just point out the bright spots. Help them see what you see.

There’s someone in your life right now that needs encouragement. Let them hear it from you today.

And we urge you, brothers and sisters, warn those who are idle and disruptive, encourage the disheartened, help the weak, be patient with everyone. – 1 Thessalonians 5:14

*image via iStock photo user: IB

 

Christ follower, husband, father, writer, small groups pastor at Saddleback Community Church. Communications director for the Small Group Network.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

  • http://www.jasonvana.com Jason Vana

    The core of my college ministry really is speaking potential into young people who never saw that potential within themselves. I’ve heard too many times that I’m the first person to say I’m proud of them, or that they can accomplish big things, or that God can use them to change the world. A little honest encouragement can go a long way to changing someone’s life.

    • http://www.benreed.net Ben Reed

      Yes! That’s real ministry there, Jason!

  • http://www.bigb94.wordpress.com Brandon

    This is awesome! Thanks for sharing!~

  • Christy Dubois

    Great stuff!  Thank you!