Learn how to encourage one another in this post by Carol Harrison. Encouraging others can be immensely rewarding if done well.
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The dictionary defines encourage as giving support, confidence or hope to someone. In the Bible it talks about encouraging and building one another up. To me, encouragement is giving someone support, helping them be confident in knowing that they are not alone.
It is great to be able to recite Bible passages. We need to know what they say about how we should live life God’s way. Scripture tells us we should hide God’s Word in our hearts, meditate on it and study it. We need to know it, but living it becomes even more beneficial, not only for ourselves, but for others who are in our lives and who we meet.
Encourage and Other Positive Words
Encourage, embolden, hearten, invigorate or reassure are all positive words. They carry a positive message and we long for those times where we know we are not alone, where we have someone in our lives who does encourage us. What does encouragement look like action?
I have been encouraged in various ways. Sometimes it is a listening ear and a hug. Years ago, when I stood beside the incubator of my youngest daughter, who lay in a comma in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, I felt so alone. We were part owners, along with my brother, of a trucking company. There was no one to just step in to take my husband’s place so he needed to return to work. He organized the trips so he could come to the city and stop in briefly but most of the time I stood alone in a scary, unknown world, in a city where I did not live.
A Friend Who Knew How to Encourage
A friend, our former pastor’s wife now living in Saskatoon, came to the hospital and stood beside me. She asked me to tell her about my baby and then listened intently and intentionally. After I finished the story, she simply put her arms around my shoulders and cried with me. She didn’t try and answer the unanswerable question of Why? She didn’t offer me any platitudes. She simply stood with me during this tough time. Then she prayed and offered to keep praying.
At other times encouragement has come in the way of words of affirmation, a note, a visit or a gift. I keep all the written words of encouragement, in part because I have pack-rat tendencies. However, I have taken them out to reread them when I feel discouraged or down. One written note can be a benefit more than once.
Encouragement Can Take Many Forms
Encouragement can be a smile from an acquaintance, a stranger in the supermarket or a business associate when you feel like no one cares. It might be an act of kindness. Encouragement varies with the circumstance, your personality and what works as encouragement for you.
Zig Ziglar said this:
“When you encourage others you in the process are encouraged because you’re making a difference in that person’s life. Encouragement really does make a difference.”
A Time To Show Encouragement
A young woman asked me to help her with a presentation she needed to get ready for her one class at college. I met with her one evening at the library. She had already completed a lot of her preparation. She had been a member of my Toastmaster’s group for a few years and learned lots of techniques for giving a good presentation. She had practiced those techniques. She did not really need any help in putting the presentation together, but she needed the encouragement of someone being willing to listen to her ideas and give feedback on the order she chose to put them in. She had so much information she also needed the feedback from someone she trusted in order to choose what to put into the presentation and what to leave out. She also just needed the chance to talk about her subject. This helped ensure she could describe to others what she understood for herself. I listened. I gave feedback. I reminded her of the skills I had seen in her over the last few years. I encouraged her to believe in her abilities and move forward with confidence.
A few days later I asked her how she thought the presentation, to her class, had gone. She felt confident of a good mark. She appreciated the time I took to be with her and listen as she prepared. She also appreciated my continued interest afterwards. When she received a grade of 100% I cheered. I felt encouraged by having taken the time to encourage her and seeing the confidence it inspired. Cheering the outcome of a good mark was an added bonus.
What encourages you? How have others been an encouragement to you? I want to challenge us today to go out and think of a way to brighten the day of someone else. Smile. It will help us feel better as well as the person who sees it. We don’t need to wait for a Pay It Forward Day to be announced to offer a random act of kindness to encourage someone else.
Listen to Carol’s program Puzzle Pieces Of Life.
Carol Harrison B.Ed is a speaker and published author with one book, Amee’s Story and stories in twelve anthologies. She is passionate about helping people of all ages and ability levels find their voice and reach their fullest potential. She knows, through personal experience that some of life’s experiences are tougher than others. She encourages people that even in the twists and turns of life God’s amazing grace provides hope. She lives in Saskatoon, SK with her husband Brian. They have four adult children and a dozen grandchildren. Visit her website carolscorner.ca
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