As I was making breakfast for my husband the other day, I was ruminating on the fact that I hadn’t been keeping up to the word count goal I had set for myself for the month of November. The immediate thought that popped into my head was, “Failed Again.” Which got me thinking on all the other things I felt I was failing at in my life at present, which led to thinking about all the other times in my life I had been/felt like a failure.
After about 2 minutes of this (a lot can go through your mind in 2 minutes) I suddenly stopped myself.
I actually said, “NO,” out loud. Because this wasn’t doing anybody, especially me, any good.
I decided to start remembering the times I felt encouraged instead.
When I was at Bible College I had a prof who encouraged us to start an Encouragement File. This was a place to keep anything that had brought cheer or comfort. Any encouragement at all.
The point was that in the future when those discouraging moments came, we should pull out the file and see what others actually saw in us.
So I started a file.
If it were a few words someone had kindly spoken to me, I would write them down and put them in the file. If it was a card or a letter that made me smile, built me up, I deposited that in the file … anything that lifted me up in that moment.
Eventually I even found and put in that file a card my three younger brothers had made for my tenth birthday. In it they wrote, “You are so bossy but you always think of the best games.” It still brings a smile to my face. And I’m still bossy.
Over the years the file filled with notes from campers I had counseled, piano students I had taught, young women I had mentored.
While I think on all of this I am reminded of my own piano instructor. As a newlywed I was preparing for my Associate Teacher/Performer Piano Exam. My teacher spent 2 whole lessons recording me playing through all of my exam pieces. This was at a level where one piece could take 20 minutes to play. I didn’t appreciate it fully at the time. But every once in awhile I take it out and listen to it. Remembering that I could actually play like that once is so encouraging to me. My teacher knew I would need that some day. Bless her!
I don’t have a writing encouragement file yet since I haven’t written much for the public market, but I know I will need one of those someday.
For now I’ll keep up with my regular Encouragement File, which has conveniently been moved to a computer document.
This is the story of one of the most recent items entered:It had been a discouraging day but at the bank, the young teller complimented my perfume and asked what fragrance I was wearing.
When I told him what it was he said, “It’s a head-turning fragrance.”
Well, I walked out of that bank with a smile and a lighter step, all the way to my car where I thumbed out the exchange on my smartphone.
Remembering encouragement does wonders for the "Failed Agains".
Photo credit: http://www.digitalscrapbookinghq.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/11/remembering_WA.png