A sincere word of affirmation or a gentle word of encouragement is often all we need to motivate us toward our better. And any more might break our spirits. But there are also times in which we need a good kick in the butt and for someone to spur us on along the way.
To be sure, growth often requires us to experience necessary friction. Even washing clothes requires some agitation to clean. And we need similar agitating agents to bring out our best as well.
For instance, this might be a friend who calls us out whenever we start to drift off course in life. Or perhaps it’s our wife who gets onto us because of our growing neglect within the family. It might also come through a counselor, teacher, or pastor – someone willing to speak hard and uncomfortable truths into our life.
Whatever it looks like, we’re spurred on when we experience degrees of discomfort and pain to move us in the direction we should go. This is similar to a rider pressing his spur into a horse to get the horse to move in a different direction.
Of course, we don’t accept such corrections from just anyone. Not everyone has our best interest in mind and they’re often just pushing their agenda onto us. It’s wise to resist such individuals. But our trusted others should have the privilege and permission to agitate us as needed.
This is not pleasant or comfortable, but it forces us to confront ourselves and make needed changes, while also allowing us to grow into the fullness of our impact and love.
We risk becoming stale and stagnant without these challenges throughout our life and relationships.
In the end, enjoy warm and positive affirmations every chance you get. And learn to appreciate the necessary friction when you’re spurred on to love and good works as well.