Is God Your Source of Encouragement?
By Victoria Riollano
Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the LORD your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you.” - Deuteronomy 31:6
En·cour·age- to give support, confidence, or hope to someone.
Many of us are looking to be encouraged or supported.
We look to family.
We look to pastors.
We look to our friends.
We look to self-help books.
We look to influencers.
We look to man to give us that boost that will change our lives and perspective. However, at some point your friend will decline your call, your books will get lost, and your pastor will disappoint. This is the sad reality of life. Eventually, you will have to dig deep and find your encouragement from someone who cannot fail you… EVER!
In 2017, I learned very quickly that our source of encouragement must come from the Lord. The year started off seemingly normal. However, just three weeks in, my father-in-law passed away. Following this, my husband became severely ill as well. Thus, the person who was typically my source of encouragement was grieving and in need of physical and emotional support. Even more so, many of my personal relationships with friends had started to fade. I found myself in need of someone who could encourage me. Being a military spouse far away from home only added to this frustration of needing someone to stand alongside me. Amid all the trials, I was isolated and had very little strength to continue.
It was during this time of my life, I realized how much I relied on other people to be my source of hope and encouragement. When all was stripped away, and I had no family, friends, or the support of my husband, I realized how I had not leaned on God as much I had pretended to for so many years. This took me on a journey of asking, “What would it look like to depend on God for my encouragement?” In other words, what would happen if God was the source of my hope and joy? I learned day by day that if I could shift my perspective on who God is and allow Him to be what keeps me going, I could get through the most difficult times of my life.
Let’s reconsider the word encourage. Encourage…or IN-courage! The truth is when someone “encourages you” they are really giving you that extra needed push to walk “in courage.” They are helping you to be fearless and keep going when you want to give up. In order to move forward and be successful, you have to learn that true encouragement comes from withIN! This is where God comes in to shake things up.
He says… Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the LORD your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you.” Deuteronomy 31:6
In other words, your courage comes from knowing that He will never leave you or forsake you. Your courage comes from knowing that everything that happens will work out in the end (Romans 8:28). YOUR courage comes from knowing that no matter what you are going through the Lord has a plan (Jeremiah 29:11). Your inner courage comes from knowing that the Lord is on your side.
When we have this viewpoint, we can walk confidently in any situation. We can know full well that even when everyone and everything fails, you serve a God who sees you and who has a plan. Although God has created us to be in a community, we recognize that others do not dictate our hope. Our friends now become a resource, not our source. God is the source of our encouragement. The bible is now your personal love letter and instruction book for the midst of every trial.
It took the hardest time of my life to realize this important aspect of who God MUST be in my life. However, in learning to trust God and look Him above all else, I gained such confidence. Even more so, I was able to help my husband through his low times. The key, however, is I was able to direct Him to the Lord versus just being dependent on me. I was able to remind him that his ability to get through those hard moments will be found in God’s presence. Thus, looking to the Lord for courage and directing others to do so, puts the ball in God’s court to bring peace and support.
Truly, there is nothing more refreshing than having God lift you up! May you be encouraged in the Lord.
John 14:27 Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.
Victoria Riollano is an author, blogger, and speaker. As a mother of six, military spouse, Psychology professor and minister’s wife, Victoria has learned the art of balancing family and accomplishing God’s ultimate purpose for her life. Recently, Victoria released her book, The Victory Walk: A 21 Day Devotional on Living A Victorious Life. Her ultimate desire is to empower women to live a life of victory, hope, and love. She believes that with Christ we can live a life that is ALWAYS winning. You can learn more about her ministry at victoryspeaks.org.
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