"But David encouraged himself in the Lord..." 1 Samuel 30:6
Yesterday, just for fun and encouragement, I totaled (as best I could) the money I have saved and earned since Tom lost his job. I've kept records so to assure myself that I'm, uh, not just spinning my wheels, traveling nowhere, wasting time.
So I flipped through my notebook where I scribble totals from online survey checks, grocery refunds and credit card rewards. Also, I went through my supermarket and Rite-Aid receipts, totaling my savings from sales and coupons then added the values from free stuff I've received in the mail, even estimating the coin totals I gathered from around the house which we'll use for yard sales. Etc.
Totaling all that, I arrived at around $670. Dollars saved and dollars earned.
Of course, that's not counting the many elusive, too-much-strain-for-my-brain savings from cooking meals from scratch, cutting my own hair, keeping the heat down low and lights switched off, staying out of stores so to avoid temptation, shopping yard sales for used goods rather than new, not ordering books from Amazon.com and--well, you know.
That stuff adds up quickly, but rather than try putting a dollar number to those savings, I just let myself feel good about them.
Of course, people with real jobs make tons more money but, as I see it, real encouragement doesn't make those kinds of comparisons. Real encouragement recognizes a job well done--and how it can be improved upon later. (See my last post.)
Sometimes you just need to encourage yourself rather than waiting for others to do it. Or maybe most of the time, I don't know. But what I do know is that, if we listen, God will tell us we're doing a good job. He'll tell us He appreciates our obedience and that, always, He's standing right beside us to lighten the load and help us do/be/listen even better next time.
And that He loves us even when we--by recklessness or laziness--veer off the road. Even then He's there to help drag us back up and fix what our inattention broke.
So today I would say if no one else is encouraging you, well, just encourage yourself. Let God be your audience of one, allow Him to be the reason you do what you do. And let His applause be all that you seek.
"... and every man shall receive his own reward according to his own labour." . 1 Corinthians 3:8