In this enterprise, there is rarely a day when we can sit back and be content.
We are constantly asking ourselves so many questions: “Who are we not reaching?” “What are the outside forces seeking to break us down?” “How can we better connect with certain clients?” “Are there new services we need to offer?” “Do we need more space?” “Do we need to reinvent ourselves in order to be more effective?”
Honestly, I could write three or four dozen more questions but you get the point. If we are to be candid in this column, let’s admit that there is never that time when we look around our offices, pat ourselves on the back and say, “Whew, we’ve got it made and the mission is complete.”
There is always more that can be done. Always.
Because of this truth, it is easy for any of us to become discouraged when we see bad news or face challenges in our ministry or organization.
So when we see on the political front that one national party falls all over itself to widen access to abortion, and the other’s leading presidential candidate wants to keep funding Planned Parenthood, we get discouraged.
Or when we look at our funding and can’t find the financial path to where we need to go as an organization, our shoulders sag again.
But there are two powerful antidotes for discouragement in the pregnancy help community; together, these can and will bring both resilience and ultimately, victory. With these two cures, we change the entire dynamic. These are must-haves. And the best news? We can provide both for each other.
This dual-faceted solution is so darned simple even I understand it. These two work in my new home state of Tennessee (well, for the last 10 years), or in New Hampshire, Ohio, Florida, Iowa, Oregon, California or any other state. They both prove effective in Italy, China, South Africa, The Bahamas and so many other countries where the pregnancy help community is growing.
This one-two approach changes everything. If we only implement it.
Ready? Don’t read over it. Here it comes:
First, we as the pregnancy help community must take a proactive approach to encouraging each other. This writer doesn’t do this enough. I see friends in this work who are battling, yet get caught up in my own world so much that I forget how important one word of encouragement and help can be.
Tweet This: The #pregnancyhelp community needs to take a proactive approach to encouragement. @KirkWalden #prolife
I’m reminded of Hebrews 3:13 where we are told to encourage one another other “day after day, as long as it is still called today.” It’s an understatement to say this is just another good idea.
Encouragement is absolutely essential. Without it, many of the best in the pregnancy help community start to feel isolated, and begin to take on a sense of fatigue and yes, discouragement. Honesty compels us to say our burn-out rate is higher than most professions or callings. Let’s turn this upside-down and make ours the calling where fellow soldiers are most likely to stay in the spiritual fight.
A brief word of encouragement instills new life and new resolve. With words of hope we recharge, reminded that others are watching and cheering for us.
What would happen if each of us took five minutes to drop an email, make a quick phone call or use any one of a number of avenues to encourage a friend in the pregnancy help community? What is the dynamic when literally thousands of us connect with each other, figuratively “joining hands” as we serve side-by-side?
This is exactly how the first century church operated, which is one of the many reasons the early followers of Jesus were so effective in advancing the faith. In Acts 2:46 we see these champions of faith gathering together, eating together and doing so “with gladness and sincerity of heart.” They were building up each other, doing so daily.
Today we are spread out across a continent and the entire globe. Yet we have so many ways to communicate, we can break bread together without the bread. Not one of us should ever take on a sense of isolation or defeat; there are too many of us who can jump in and bring hope.
While writing this column I was reminded of a friend more than 2,000 miles away who deserves encouragement, whether “needed” or not. In a couple of minutes, it was done.
If we think encouragement is only a sweet and kind sentiment, we miss its power. Planned Parenthood, NARAL, a state or federal legislative body, a local newspaper editor with an ax to grind, a blogger; not one of these entities can defeat us when we stand together.
We stand together when we encourage.
That’s the first of our antidotes. Let’s make it a part of our daily lives so that together we are stronger than ever before.
There is another, second antidote. Let’s put encouragement into practice today; and next week we have the second half of a powerful formula to change the world as we know it.