Sour Spots

sour1 Thessalonians 5:11“Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.”

You’ve probably heard the term “sweet spot.” Everything flows together at just the right time and just the right place to produce the maximum effect. We’re in the groove. We’re in harmony with the universe. We feel productive, purposeful. Who doesn’t love to experience sweet spots?

But might there be such a thing as “sour spots?” I think so….

Usually when I’m writing or preparing for a talk, all is flowing well, when suddenly (and almost inevitably) I hit a wall. It seems all my work to this point has been worthless, my efforts good for nothing. I feel like tossing it all aside and quitting. That’s what I call a “sour spot.” I suspect I’m not alone.

Sometimes sour spots can be remedied with a good night’s sleep or a walk around the block. But sometimes they linger long and start to paralyze us. What do we do then?

Find someone to encourage us.

Had it not been for C.S. Lewis, The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien might never have been completed. After the success of The Hobbit, Tolkien wrote the opening chapter to the trilogy. Then…he stopped. Bogged down with details and overwhelmed with a busy academic and home life, he lost confidence in the project and stalled. His sour spot lasted seven years. The only one in his life who urged him on in the project was Lewis. Lewis served as encourager extraordinaire, convincing Tolkien his work was meant for a larger audience. Lewis relentlessly pursued his friend to the point Tolkien himself said, “But for his [Lewis’s] interest and unceasing eagerness for more I should never have brought The L. of the R. to a conclusion.”

Never underestimate the power of encouragement.

We all run into sour spots. If they cause us to throw in the towel, we will never know what might have been. So let’s take a cue from Lewis and Tolkien. Let’s commit ourselves not only to receiving encouragement, but also to giving it. You and I have calls to complete, missions to accomplish. Let’s help each other get back to those sweet spots….

I have an inkling life would be much richer for all of us if we did.

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