The art of encouragement

Monday, October 18, 2021

Encouragement is an art. It is also a choice. In order to learn it well, we need to practice it often. Where do we start? 

We can always start by talking to God about who He wants us to encourage. 

We can verbally encourage others. It costs absolutely nothing and it makes a world of difference. During the many races I run, encouragement from the crowd pushes us to keep going and not to give up. I remember getting special encouragement from friends when I was on mile 20 of my marathon. A couple of friends came to encourage me in person. I was strengthened by their words, their presence, their voices cheering me on. I will never forget how their encouragement got me to the end of that challenging race. 

We can do the same thing when we choose to encourage our friends with our words, our presence, and a simple "you got this." 

Our acts of service can offer encouragement. It can be as simple as helping a neighbor with a task. It can be offering an unexpected gift to someone in need of encouragement. 

I am sure that you are wondering who you should encourage. It can be someone you know in need of encouragement. It can be a person who came to your mind this past week. It may be someone God placed in your heart. 

Sometimes, a cheerful text message with a word of encouragement can make a world of difference. Be sure to listen to God for direction on who to encourage and how. 

The more you practice encouraging others, the easier it gets. Encouraging others is a skill that gets easier each time you do it. 

While I believe you can't give what you don't have, I also believe that when you feel down you should encourage others. Why? It is a good way to get out of your feelings and do something great and honorable. Instead of crawl in self-pity, think: how can I offer encouragement today? And do it. I guarantee you that your attitude will improve. 

We can encourage ourselves in the Lord. David, in 1 Samuel 30:6 did just that. He was in distress so he found strength in the Lord his God. That's what encouragement means: being strengthened. The little-known fact about this particular circumstance with David is that he prayed and asked God what He was supposed to do. We can encourage ourselves in the Lord and we can pray and ask Him for direction when we are distressed. 

Encouragement is like fresh water being poured out in a thirsty land. It revives the soul. We read about many in the Bible who encouraged others on purpose. Paul encouraged others on purpose. He assigned people to go to certain communities to purposefully encourage believers. The goal of the encouragement was to find the strength to serve the Lord. 

The world around us is thirsty for encouragement. The greatest source of encouragement is God's Words. I believe that as we walk with God we should use His words our own to encourage others. 

It is a choice and a decision. Will you do it?