Not many years ago I opened a fortune cookie that read, “Someone you know believes in you.” Right then I felt a little lighter. Despite the corniness of it, I wanted those words to be true. I wanted to know someone believed in me, especially when I doubted myself. Daily.
I wanted an advocate.
An advocate is someone who takes up the cause of God’s purposes in another’s life. They elevate another’s potential, seemingly at the expense of their own. Refusing to listen to the WiiFM (“What’s in it for me”) station that permeates the airwaves of our thinking, advocates lift up others through two primary disciplines:
- Disciple of celebration. Advocates energize others by celebrating with them. They have no trouble “rejoicing with those who rejoice” (Romans 12:15) even when things may not be going so well for them. Rather than being critical, they celebrate another’s unique gifting and character, seeing in them the raw potential for greatness. They celebrate another’s sphere of influence and seek to expand it, believing that doing so will benefit others. And they celebrate by advancing another’s aspirations even when it may mirror their own. Celebrating God’s purposes in another’s life is a potent way that advocates discover it in their own.
- Discipline of service. Advocates serve others. And it costs them because they stand to gain nothing directly by it. You can ask another to be your coach, your mentor, even your cheerleader. But you don’t choose your advocate. They choose you. They choose you every time they sacrifice their own agenda to help you with yours. They choose you every time they ask probing questions, not to show off their knowledge, but because they have a genuine interest in helping you fulfill your purpose. The presence of an advocates is felt, seldom seen.
The world is full of coaches, mentors, and teachers. It’s likely you may be that for another, if only informally. Yet, there are so few true advocates, those who purposefully and intentionally seek to inspire another’s purpose.
Wouldn’t it be great to have such an advocate for your own adventure?
Someone you know is longing for that from you. Why not be the advocate you’re looking for?
In the video below, I discuss these power of advocacy in more detail. This message was delivered at IronWorks as part of the O Brother Where Art Thou? teaching series.
What are some traits you’ve experienced with advocates in your own life?