There are times when we feel we are under some very dark clouds. They shadow us in gloom and despair. The wind is out of our sails; our ocean shores are at low tide. At such times in my life I whinge, for nothing seems right or even just OK. Our lives are darkened by some whose entrance discourages us, limit our plans for advance. Raining on our parade, they dampen and deaden hope. Refusing to recognize progress, they boo, say things could be better. Pity you can't get it perfect.
Leaders are often paralyzed by such remarks. So many positive responses to a pastor's sermon at the door, but one person didn’t care for it, shares negative words and critique; frowns rather than smiles, offers a look of silent rebuke. And we take it to heart - not the positive responses, and dwell on that. We can be brittle, so hard on ourselves and resentful of those who seem to, or really do, oppose us.
It's easy to deaden and deflate (anyone can), to hamper attempts of others to succeeed. Biting sarcasm and failed attempts at humour wounds rather than warms the spirit of both giver and recipient. But there are those who build, who build up. They are awaiting God’s right-side-up Kingdom, working for it, longing and praying for it, encouraging others to press towards it. They want to help others be right-side-up, certainly not by flattery nor by propping up when one can well stand on one's own, but by helping another regain footing, by honest and loving words and actions. When some are bent and bruised, the fire almost gone from their life and service, thank God there are still encouragers who come along-side, bent on helping. As they do, the tide comes in, gradually buoying us leaders up once more.