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RESOURCE CENTER AND ARCHIVES

Providing support, motivationcomment (0)

June 3, 2010

By Jean Roberson


Have you ever known someone who was very capable of something but too afraid to actually do it? I am thinking of a well-known Christian artist who has a beautiful singing voice.

However, she struggles with stage fright, so she has all but given up her career. It really is a loss for all of us, because she can bring such insight into the Christian life. Now few, if any, will ever hear that insight and miss hearing her use her gift. 

That is an extreme example of how fear and discouragement can sometimes paralyze a person with great ability. A more familiar way of describing this would be the importance of getting back on a horse after you have fallen off or not letting a bad experience stop you from doing what you are good at doing.

It is a common experience for all of us, struggling with discouragement, and we are surrounded by people in the midst of this struggle. They are the people we look to for insight or suggestions on an issue they know a lot about but they remain silent.

They are the people we expect to volunteer for a task they are really skilled at, but they never offer to help.

They are the children and teenagers who suddenly are reluctant to get involved in something they usually enjoy. 

The problem is we tend to become frustrated with people when this happens. We take it personally and begin to wonder why they refuse to help. Sometimes we even want to tell them to just get over it.

However, imagine what would happen if a person were dealing with discouragement and I came to her angry that she was not getting involved. What would be her reaction? Would it lessen her discouragement or would it deepen it? The truth is expressing my frustration would only serve to make me feel better. 

Instead this is the time to be supportive. When you see someone at work, church or home dealing with this, try approaching him or her with “Are you OK?” instead of “Why didn’t you ... ?” This is the time to listen, help the person make decisions and continually encourage him or her. This is the time to invest in that person and remind him or her that he or she can do it. Basically it is building back confidence — getting back on that horse.

A Takeaway Value …
If someone is capable of doing something but seems to lack the motivation to do it, then that is the time to provide support and build confidence.

EDITOR’S NOTE — Jean Roberson, MSW, LCSW, is a ministry consultant for national Woman’s Missionary Union. She serves as team leader for the adult team and director of Christian Women’s Job Corps/Christian Men’s Job Corps and International Initiatives.

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