Is your aspiration to be an inspiration?
There are many people whoa re willing to encourage others, but what about those people who inspire? Pat Kennett explains.
From the comfort of my armchair, I sat watching some of the Great Manchester Run, a race designed to welcome all types of runners, and all types of people; those called “elite” runners, first-timers, club runners and fun runners; children and young people, able-bodied and disabled.
It is an inspiring sight. Doubly so in the tragic shadow and aftermath of the Manchester Terrorist attack on 25 May 2017, where 22 people so tragically lost their lives, just three days ago as I sit writing this.
Someone who encourages is a person who gets alongside someone, willing them on to get up and carry on. For some who need encouragement, it will involve the apparently simplest of acts – helping them in a hospital bed get their mouth around a straw to drink a sip of longed-for water.
For some, it will be the T-shirt clan of supporters spotted as you round the next bend in your race. For others, it will be the awareness of another’s hand that is still holding yours after endless months of chemotherapy. These encouragers will stick with you, running alongside you, whatever the race you have to run entails.
But an inspirer does not necessarily know what they are doing.
No, I am not saying they are incompetent – far from it. But as I live, work and fellowship with people in general, and women in particular, I see many Godly women who take active steps to encourage others, and that is brilliant. I am personally committed to deliberately and strategically building up others with specific words and acts of encouragement.
But it struck me recently that those who inspire us in the everyday minutia of life probably do not realise that they are doing so at all.
I may never meet people who inspire me. You do not necessarily have to physically meet with someone for them to be an inspiration – or for you to inspire them. Many of my heroes in the bible I have not met face to face, although I suspect in heaven they might have quite a queue of people wanting to meet them!
I am sure today, as the Manchester runners stories were highlighted, there will be many who watched, will be inspired to have a go at some point in their future, to try and run from one lamppost to another, then two lampposts, and then just a bit more.
An inspiration for me is a light-bulb connection that makes me wish to rise up better, stronger and more determined, because of what I see in another.
One of the definitions of the word “Inspire” is “to fill with an animating, quickening, or exalting influence.”
To animate – literally means “to give motion to”. When we need inspiration, it is often because we feel demotivated, unable to move, not knowing which direction to take, or when and how to move. You can inspire someone to take action, someone who needs to get out of a rut.
To quicken – literally to revive and restore. One definition, in particular, brought a great insight – to quicken is “to enter that stage of pregnancy in which the foetus gives indications of life”. There are those around us who may have a God-given dream within them, and our inspiration to them is to cause the dream inside to start “kicking”!
To exalt – to raise up, and also to intensify. To lift another’s spirit above and beyond what you might consider normal.
I am so grateful to God that there are many characters in the Bible who were flawed individuals, yet God used them to animate, quicken and exalt. Undiplomatic Joseph; Argumentative Moses; Scared Gideon; Terrified Jonah, and Impatient Mark, to name a mere handful.
You may never meet the person who has inspired you the most; similarly, you may never know a person who has watched you, and is watching you and considers you to be their inspiration.
As you intentionally encourage others, be aware that God is using you daily to inspire many. Be the Godly influence, deliberately support others, and witness God using you to inspire this, and the next generation.
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