“You know what’s different about volleyball from basketball?” our 13-year-old daughter asked after practice the other day. “All the touching!”
Apparently, this team is very intentional about encouraging and supporting one another. After every mistake: every missed serve, wild pass, flubbed set or blocked spike, the entire team surrounds their teammate with a flurry of high-fives, shoulder pats and side hugs. The gym is filled with cheering as the girls encourage their teammate to “shake it off,” “you’ve got this,” & “keep going.”
Our daughter normally plays basketball, so this volleyball phenomenon is new to her. On the basketball team, when someone makes a mistake, there’s just no time for intentional encouragement. The team might huddle up during a timeout or give a high-five during a free-throw, but for the most part the support comes from the coach while the rest of the team scrambles to make up for the mistake.
As I watched the volleyball team surround my non-touchy daughter with touchy-feely love, I couldn’t help but compare it to ministry. As a pastor’s wife part of my role is to encourage and support people who are trying to live their lives for Christ. But when I see people make a mistake or stumble in their walk I have a tendency to just give a quick shout of encouragement while I scramble to cover for them.
But what if I took a cue from the volleyball team? What if I stopped what I was doing and became more intentional in my encouragement? What if I took time to give a hug, be a listening ear, or offer a word of encouragement along with the gift of my time?
Everyone makes mistakes. Everyone drops the ball from time to time. But we’re still all on the same team.
LORD, help me to see the importance of intentional encouragement. Open my eyes to opportunities to build someone up even in the midst of the busyness of life. Help me never be too busy to reach out and touch someone in need. I know our team will be much stronger for it!