Who’s UR Cheerleader?

1 Jun

Cheerleaders in RedQuestion: How does a cheerleader answer the phone?

Answer:  H – E – L – L – O!  He-e-e-e-e-e-e-e-e-e-e-llo!

Question:  Do you know what a cheerleader’s favorite beverage is?

Answer:  Root beer!

MegaphoneCheerleading has evolved over the years. When I (Dawn) was a cheerleader, my big focus was making sure I didn’t fall down while jumping up and down and yelling “Push ’em back; shove ’em back, wa-a-a-a-a-ay back!” Cheerleading was pretty simple ~ cute little ditties while clapping hands or using pom poms.

Pam was a cheerleader a decade later, and cheerleading was already changing, with far more physical skills and gymnastics thrown in. Pam is a born cheerleader, and I can just imagine her enthusiasm!

But what used to be simple cheering on a team or getting an audience to participate is now an art form with intense training and competitions.  Cheerleading is an exhibition that garners its own applause. On ESPN2, those who are interested can even watch hour-long exhibitions for recognition and championship trophies. Cheerleading has become a “sport” in and of  itself.

I’ve been thinking a lot about cheerleading lately. I’m beginning to realize how much I need other people, and there’s really nothing wrong with that, because we were not meant to be “solo Christians.” I am so thankful for my cheerleaders.

One of the mentors in my life is Pam. She’s been a spiritual “cheerleader” par excellence! She pours her life into many women’s’ lives, cheering and encouraging them in their life adventures. She encourages persistence, faith, and living life to the max ~ all to the glory of God. She encourages women to choose joy and live in wisdom. And Pam inspires me to encourage others … to pass on the blessing I’ve received.

Renee Johnson is another friend, a young woman who inspires 20-somethings; and she has encouraged and motivated me for a couple of years now. Every time I think of her, I think of the way she ends her Devotional Diva newsletters ~ with this verse: “Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works” (Hebrews 10:24 NLT). Other versions say “stir up one another” or “stimulate one another.” The idea is that we care about someone’s spiritual growth and ministry so much that we try to figure out how to cheer them on!

Cheerleading doesn’t have to be all rah-rah, though. One of the most powerful cheerleaders in my life is author and speaker Nancy Leigh DeMoss. She pours truth into my life. She encourages me to live what I believe, and be sure that I am living out the priorities of God’s Word for the various roles in my life.

And many others have cheered me on at different seasons of my life. Just as no one friend can be everything to us (except for Cheerleaders with Scripture BannerFriend Jesus), every cheerleader in our life will encourage our walk with God and our understanding of how to live out our calling with joy ~ but in different ways.

And we have the responsibility, as believers in the family of God, to encourage one another (1 Thessalonians 5:11) ~ to be their cheerleaders and help them to “press on” toward their spiritual goals.  We encourage and strengthen others’ faith, like Timothy did in the Thessalonian church  (1 Thessalonians 3:2); and we encourage their stability so they won’t be “hardened by sin’s deceitfulness” (Hebrews 3:13). We encourage one another more and more in these difficult days before Christ’s return (Hebrews 10:25).

Encouragement is one way that we “carry each other’s burdens” (Galatians 6:2) and come alongside to help.

So who are your cheerleaders? Identify them. Be sure to thank them. And take a few moments to think: who are you encouraging?

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