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Lexi (name used with permission) stood at the door. Clearly, she had somewhere else to be. Hair pulled back tightly in a bun, cheerleading uniform crisp, hands on hips in typical cheerleader fashion, she impatiently waited as her sister was seen by the dentist. Tapping her foot, she was anxious to fly the coop.

I passed Lexi in the doorway and was impressed by her appearance. Also, the look on her face showed she meant business and was ready to get to whatever game she was headed to. “You look fabulous,” I gushed. She thanked me, still tapping her foot.

There was something I needed to know from this 8-year-old.

“Lexi, what do you do when you have to go out and cheer, and you just don’t feel like it?”

It was a fair question. Lots of things can fight against being upbeat and perky. Sometimes the team is not winning (aka losing). Sometimes you’re just tired, or your head hurts, or your hair is too tight — a real thing. Sometimes, as a kid, you have homework or a project waiting to be finished when you get home, late. Sometimes you would just rather be home watching TV.

She pondered my question for a serious minute, then spoke words I hope I won’t ever forget. With hands still on hips, she proclaimed dramatically, “You just go out there and cheer!”

Preach it, little sister! We need more cheerleaders these days, don’t you think? Cheerleaders encourage you to keep going. They push you to press on when you feel like giving up. They remind you that someone is in your corner! Even when they‘re tired, distracted or their hair is pulled too tight!

As followers of Christ, we are also called to be cheerleaders, OK — encouragers. First Thessalonians 5:11 spells it out: “Encourage one another and build each other up…”

Numerous times in the book of Acts, we read that Barnabas was a great cheerleader. (His nickname was “son of encouragement”.) He had a knack for stepping in and lifting people’s spirits when they needed it most. I want to be like that!

My mom was an awesome cheerleader, too. While she didn’t wield pom poms, she held in her hands a cell phone and a laptop, using social media in the very best way. Just hours before she went to heaven, she was on Facebook offering encouragement and prayers for her FB friends.

Life can be hard. REALLY hard. It seems that the year 2020 is trying to do us in! Many around us are feeling pressure and despair. God can use us to cheer them on — not with just our words, but with HIS Word! Is there someone around you who needs your encouragement? I bet there is!

Even if you’re not feeling peppy, you can do it! Listen to Lexi, and “just go out there and cheer!”

Dawn Reed writes a weekly column for HD Media. She can be contacted at preacherswife7@yahoo.com.