We All Need a Little Encouragement
Every one of us has more than one memory of a specific time when we have felt hopeless, helpless, and at the brink, ready to give up on our dreams and worst of all, even to give up on ourselves. This universal life condition is shared by all, no matter where we are born, who our parents are, our educational standing or social status.
At the same time, we can also remember vividly how somehow, somewhere, someone came along to announce loudly, just the words we needed to hear at that exact moment—to totally change our outlook on that troublesome situation. These words—small, big, gentle or brash—gave us back our mojo, and the confidence to again be willing to take the next step.
Sometimes the words were accompanied by action—a grip of a firm hand, two hands on your shoulders pushing you forward, a soft touch on your arm to remind you of a caring heart and even a warm hug from someone asking, “What do you need and how can I help?” A few loving, caring, words of encouragement can surprise us all with miraculous results. Yes, we have all had the unexpected experience of wonder, relief, and/or exhilaration from the blessing(s) of kind little words of encouragement—just when we needed it most.
Recently, I authored an article in our church weekly newsletter on the topic of encouragement and take this opportunity to share it here with our Fil-Am Voice loyal readers and supporters.
We all need a little encouragement. It is so important to offer kind encouragement, especially as we face challenges and uncertainties on what comes next. Encouragement is vital oxygen in the life of our family and our community. It keeps us focused on God’s sovereign power; it inspires us to be faithful in service to Him; and directs us to praise His Holy Name with a heart of humility and gratitude.
Why is it so important to encourage one another? Because God commands us to extend His Grace with kind words. 1 Thessalonians 5:11 amplifies how vital it is to be an encourager: “So encourage each other and build each other up, just as you are already doing.” Hebrew 3:13–14 states: “Encourage one another daily, as long as it is called Today, so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness. For if we are faithful to the end, trusting God just as firmly as when we first believed, we will share in all that belongs to Christ.”
This is a pointed reminder if we fail to give encouragement to our family members, friends, neighbors, strangers and ourselves most of all, many of us will feel abandoned, isolated and alone or even disconnected, undervalued, unimportant and perhaps, inconsequential. God knows us intimately and we all need grace-filled reminders we are loved and valued. When these truths are shared with joy, it will lift our family, friends and community’s hearts toward the power of the Holy Spirit and help all of us to stand on God’s promises of Grace and Mercy.
Here are some ways to extend encouragement:
• Pray the God will make you an encourager.
• Pray for and with each other.
• Express and extend kind words with grace and a heart of humility.
• Be willing to listen to and understand others from their perspectives and experiences. This action is powerful; it is called empathy.
• Remove judgement, offer love, show understanding.
• Take someone out for coffee, tea or their favorite beverage.
• Continue fellowship by sharing a meal, a book, a story, a game, a movie, something fun.
• Visit family, friends, neighbors and let them know they are loved.
• Give a helping hand to someone in need.
• Express often your genuine gratitude.
• Find as many ways as possible to communicate kindness, thoughtfulness, encouragement.
• Be among the first to congratulate for special occasions or accomplishments, to express condolences with offers to help and to be always sensitive to and mindful of others at those times when they could use just a few words of goodwill and support from one who believes in them.
Let us be the community God calls us to be, encouraging one another in love and giving grace with our words. Just a little kindness goes a long way in uplifting someone’s spirit. And that uplifts us all!