“You are doing so well!”
At the moment, I am nine weeks past my surgery to replace a knee. Oh, what I have learned during this time.
My brother, who had heart bypass surgery three weeks before my procedure, called me about three hours after I had returned to my room from the recovery room. Bad timing! His question: “Have they told you how well you are doing?” My answer: “Go away, call me back tomorrow.”
Within an hour of that phone call, the nurse and physical therapist stepped into my room, introduced themselves and explained the reason for the tubes and hanging bottles around my bed.
After the polite courtesies, the nurse said “Move your leg.” I looked at her in disbelief. My leg was swathed in layers of bandages–three times its normal size. The anesthetic was wearing off. I had just endured three hours of a major procedure to give me a new knee…and she wanted me to try and move an immovable object?
After much internal debate, I really did try and my foot moved an inch.
Both the physical therapist and the nurse smiled and exclaimed, “Oh, you are doing so well!”
That comment became the mantra among the hospital staff coming into my room.
When my brother called again, he asked the same question. “Have they told you how well you are doing?”
I chuckled as I now lucidly explained what had happened to me. The same thing had happened to him following his bypass surgery. We both made the same comment…by the third day we were starting to believe what they were saying to us.
My leg was still the size of Thanksgiving turkey, but each day I could see that I really was doing just a bit more and believing that I could do more if I tried.
When my hospital stay ended and home care began, the same comment was made from the home care therapist and my husband. More and more I believed it, finding my own expectations higher because they believed I could achieve the flexibility and extension for my new knee.
There is such a spiritual parallel for us as believers. We are commanded to disciple new believers in the Lord Jesus Christ. Discipling is mentoring. Discipling is saying to new believers with every new good behavior…”You are doing so well.” Discipling is watching as new believers grow in their scriptural knowledge and saying, “You are doing so well.” Knowing they are baby steps. Knowing they have only begun their spiritual journey. Knowing that your words may be what is needed to keep them on the road. Such a simple phrase, “You are doing so well!”
It must be how runners feel as they near the end of a long race: their legs ache, their throats burn and their whole body cries out to stop. This is the important time for someone to come along and encourage them to push through to the finish line.
Eugene Peterson wrote in The Message, “So speak encouraging words to one another. Build up hope so you will all be together in this, no one left out, no one left behind. I know you’re already doing this; just keep on doing it.”
It made all the difference in my recovery. Someone believed in my efforts. Someone told me they believed I could make a full recovery.
The next time you have a chance to encourage someone, do it. It feels so good to have someone say to you “You are doing so well!”