As iron sharpens iron, so a friend sharpens a friend.
~Proverbs 27:17 (NLT)
The thing is, I’ve never really liked cheerleaders. Maybe it was my all-girls-school upbringing where we were always encouraged to play the sport, rather than cheer on other, presumably male, athletes. Or maybe I just took one too many Women’s Studies classes in undergrad. Either way, I’ve never really been wild about the clapping, dancing, waving, pom-pom-wielding folks on the sidelines.
Until recently. The past couple of months have been fairly trying for me. I have been adjusting to a new work environment, learning a new area of law, and just not feeling so great about my ability to pull off the daily balancing act of being a working woman, a wife, mother and general co-manager of my household. On one particular day, I called my mother and was just in tears about one particular struggle I was having. After a brief “Mom?” to ensure it was her, I proceeded to unload all my heart’s trouble on her– brave, brave soul. After listening to an earful of my sobs and slobberings, my mother took a deep breath, and dived into the morass of my life.
With the skill of a trained therapist, my mother began to methodically ask questions, brainstorm, and make suggestions. She walked me through each possible solution step by step. She listened to my feedback, and gave additional suggestions and feedback of her own. She repeatedly told me that I was capable, that I could tackle this problem, that I could do it. By the end of the conversation, I had a plan and my confidence was restored. I felt so much better. (Thanks mom).
The other day, I was talking to one of my best friends about another challenge that seemed fairly insurmountable at the time. (I promise y’all, I have happy days and am usually fairly pleasant in my disposition!) She suggested prayer and fasting and said she would join along with me in doing so. Walking with me step by step.
There is so much value in having someone’s back. I wouldn’t know what to do if there weren’t people in my life who had mine. So often we all put on this tough exterior for the outside world. We put on this face that says we’re unflappable, unbothered, and tough as nails, and can get the job done. And there is certainly a place for that, I think. But there are definitely times when I’ve appreciated my cheerleaders, whether it’s been my husband, my mom or my best friends, who have come alongside and gave a rallying cry and encouraged me to keep it moving.
So, as it turns out, there is value in cheerleading. Who knew? Sending an encouraging text, a thoughtful email, or just a poignant conversation can help someone along the way. And why else are we here, if not to help each other? Who have you done splits and a backflip for recently? Next time you think about it, or someone comes to mind, take a minute to mentally, (emphasis on mentally) put on your short little skirt and mid drift top and do back flips for someone. Tell your spouse they can achieve the goal they’ve set. Talk to your friends and make sure they’re not discouraged about whatever endeavor they’re participating in. Walk with a friend through their issues step by step. Tell them they can do it. Rah, rah, sis boom bah, and all that. It makes a world of a difference. 2,4, 6, 8, whom do we appreciate? (And I can’t believe I’m saying this): cheerleaders.