Growing up, every child has dreams. For some it is to be a professional athlete and for others it is to be a firefighter. Often our friends and family support those dreams through their words of encouragement and give us perspective when we face setbacks and obstacles. We interviewed Cristela Alonzo, Owen Wilson and Kerry Washington in 2017 and talked with them about encouragement from others, family support and overcoming obstacles.
Alonzo shares what her family support looked like when she decided to pursue acting as a career.
“I didn’t get a lot of support from my family because it was such a foreign idea that they couldn’t understand. My brothers and sisters were first generation Mexican-Americans and the culture is so different, we come from a blue-collar family, we work with our hands and put in a hard day’s work so for me to say I wanted to act and to perform seemed so excessive. I used to tell them, ‘I know you don’t understand but go with me on this, because if I can do this, it’s going to be great for everybody.’ Finally, I was able to show them, [and they understood]…I think all of us have to take a moment to wonder, ‘Why are people saying no to me? Why are people not joining me on my journey?’ Sometimes it’s a foreign idea that they can’t grasp.”
Wilson opens up about the importance of encouraging others.
“We all sort of need help, we are all sort of connected; you don’t do it alone. You need people to believe in you and give your encouragement – whether that is your parents or friends, or someone at work, everyone can benefit. Knowing that, when you can be that [encouragement] for someone else that can also be something that is very good.”
Washington explains how she overcomes obstacles by taking something negative and viewing it as something positive.
“I think it is always important to look for the opportunity for growth. I am a firm believer that everything happens for a reason. I’m always looking for, what’s the message, what’s the lesson, how do I move forward from here? And to really try and think that things are not necessarily happening to me, but that things are happening for me. I just may not always see the end.”
“Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.” Ephesians 4:29-32
Be a secret agent of encouragement. Find someone in your life this week to encourage. It can be a friend, family member, class mate, neighbor, teammate or someone you see on your daily routine. Think of a way that you can encourage them. It could be a written note about how something they have done has impacted you, a character quality you admire about them, or a verse that might encourage them. You might even want to pair it with a small gift like a coffee, journal or a book that might help them where they are at. Leave the note on their desk or hide it for them to find it. Don’t write your name, a secret agent of encouragement doesn’t seek recognition.
Support someone’s dreams. Whether it is a friend, family member or someone you mentor, there are people all around us that are pursuing their dreams. We can support them by mentoring them, going with them to an event that might help refine their skills or helping them prepare a resume. Pray and ask God who you can support and how you can support them. Even something as simple as listening to someone’s aspirations and giving them feedback is a way that you can support their dream. It could even be giving them some of your gently used professional clothing for an interview or as they start a new job.
Change your perspective. It can be too easy to view our circumstances and get discouraged. From comparing what others may have on social media or watching our favorite reality television shows and thinking they have the “perfect” life. When negative things happen in our lives, God wants us to turn to Him. He wants to help shape our perspective. Just because we have God in our lives does not mean everything is going to be easy or perfect. Instead, He has given us the Holy Spirit to guide us through those situations. Take time this week to pray and ask God to give you His vantage point on any difficult circumstances that you are going through. Look up passages in the Bible where different characters might have experienced something similar and how they responded.
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