Encouragement is a big deal. Encouragement can turn a rough day around and make someone who is struggling realize that their situation is really not the end of the world. Encouragement can point someone to Christ and better yet show them an example of what Christ is like. Encouragement offers hope and speaks life not death into the minds and hearts of those around us.
However, if encouragement is so full of life why is it so hard to do? Why is encouragement so easy to hear, but so difficult to speak? It may be that in order to feel equipped to encourage others one usually is being encouraged in their own life in some way. It’s like a chain reaction. If we don’t feel encouraged ourselves it makes it difficult to help another feel this way.
Lately, I’ve been trying to make a conscious effort to speak life and encouragement to the people around me. A lesson has become clear to me in this process: in order to encourage others it also takes me encouraging myself. In the past, I’ve dealt with a negative attitude especially toward myself. God is truly reshaping my perspective and helping me to see that before I can encourage the people around me I must also speak encouragement to myself. He’s put people in my life who encourage me. Friendships have been formed on the foundations of faith and encouragement and I’ve been blessed endlessly by these people God has placed in my path.
We have to be cautious that we aren’t motivated solely by the encouragement of others. That is setting ourselves up for failure. People will never encourage us enough to keep us motivated to do good works so our encouragement must rest with God and ourselves.
It’s really important to understand the consequences of our words and actions to ourselves and those around us. What we think may be an small negative comment has the potential power to destroy. Our words can give life or take it away. As for me, I choose to have my words be life-giving.
Today I challenge you to make a list of people in your life who offer encouragement to you. Beside each name write one way you could encourage that person as a “thank you” for all the positivity they bring to your life. Maybe that means writing them a letter, picking up a coffee for them, or spending a few moments in prayer with them for something they are going through. Whatever challenge you decide to take on I pray that you are encouraged in turn!
“And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.” (Hebrews 10:2-4)