We all need encouragement, right? Here are 5 easy ways to offer it to others.
This summer, while taking a break from decorating the church sanctuary for Vacation Bible School, I was talking with some members of our church’s staff about developing deeper connections and community among the body of Christ.
In other words, we were talking about making friends.
It’s no easier when you’re 40 than it was when you were fifteen.
But it’s every bit as important.
In a world of constant communication, people are craving true connection. It’s something we talked about recently with the college small group we host on Sunday nights, this knowing everything about everyone but not really know anyone well.
We talked about social media and matters of pride because “why post a picture if no one is going to like it”?
The problem is, no matter how many little hearts a post has, it doesn’t always encourage your heart.
We need more: real encouragement from real relationships.
It’s something I’m thinking a lot about these days as I prepare to head back into the classroom in the coming weeks. How can I encourage the kids I’ll see each day? How I can encourage and build up the teachers with whom I’ll work?
As I’ve thought about it, I’ve become reminded that it’s really not too hard, but it’s extremely important.
In fact, God’s word commands us to encourage each other:
- 1 Thessalonians 5:14 – “And we urge you, brothers and sisters, warn those who are idle and disruptive, encourage the disheartened, help the weak, be patient with everyone.”
- 2 Corinthians 13:11 – “Finally, brothers and sisters, rejoice! Strive for full restoration, encourage one another, be of one mind, live in peace. And the God of love and peace will be with you.”
- 2 Timothy 4:2 – “Preach the word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke, and encourage – with great patience and careful instruction.”
- Hebrews 3:13 – “But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called “Today,” so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness.”
- 1 Thessalonians 5:11 – “Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.”
The message of these verses is simple: encourage, encourage, encourage.
Go the extra mile
One of the simplest ways to encourage some one is to go one step further.
For example, when someone posts a prayer request, do more than click “like” or reply “praying.” Click over to messenger and send a quick note.
When a friend comes to mind, pray for them, but also send a quick text letting them know you did.
It takes very little time but might make a big difference in her day.
Share and Share Alike
One of the things I started doing during the last school year was baking really big batches of cookies and sending extras for my kids’ friends.
Because how easy is it to double a batch of dough?
I’ll probably do the same for my fellow teachers this year because some days a chocolate chip cookie just might be enough to get you through til the bell rings, you know?
Doubling dinner is another way to encourage a friend. Make a little extra chicken spaghetti and let your friend pick it up on her way home from work.
Or better yet, deliver it.
It’s not always about the food or the gift but the thoughtfulness behind it.
Words, Words, Words
Proverbs 16:24 says, “Gracious words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones.”
If you want to encourage someone, speak some sweet words over them!
I’m not talking about puffing someone up or false flattery. No, I’m talking genuine compliments.
Those things you notice about your friends? Tell them you noticed.
- Stop and thank the mom who always cleans up after co-op.
- The creative kids who can be a bit shy? Let them know you see the talent others might overlook.
- Comment on the little things your husband does to help around the house.
If you don’t say you noticed, they will never know you noticed.
Write the Old-Fashioned Way
I have a box of greeting cards that dates all the way back to my college days. I’ve added to it over the years, but to be honest, I haven’t used the cards much in years.
Because we used to keep stamps on hand, right?
Now, I text or use social media more than anything else, but who doesn’t love to get a letter?
I was cleaning out a box from the attic and came across a letter my grandmother wrote me when I was in college. It probably encouraged me even more today than it did then because, to be honest, I’d completely forgotten about it over the years so it was as though I was receiving it for the first time. Seeing her handwriting and being reminded of her love for me was a beautiful gift in the bottom of that box.
It takes a little more effort, but consider sending someone a note. It will encourage them today, but who knows? Your friend might find it in the bottom of a drawer at the end of a long day years from now and read words they need to have strength to keep walking in faith.
All for the cost of a postage stamp.
Embrace Technology, Too
Of course, I almost never have a stamp to use, and to be honest, by the time I remember it’s someone’s birthday, it’s much too late to send a card.
The traditional way, that is.
Just this morning, I sent a birthday card to my nephew electronically. I woke up and realized that it’s his birthday and didn’t want him to feel forgotten so I chose a card on Paperless Post and sent it to his mom’s email.
So easy to do but so encouraging, too!
I’ve only just discovered it, but I’m so excited because, beyond the fact that I forget to send invitations to my kids’ birthday parties until the very last minute, Paperless Post makes it easy to send greetings when I think of them, allowing me to dash off a precious get well card or a thank you note quickly and easily, turning my intentions into actions for a change.
And, that makes it really easy to encourage others.
I’d love to hear how you encourage others or how someone has encouraged you! Leave a comment and make a suggestion or two. Oh, and be sure to leave a link for Encouraging Word Wednesday!
*Disclosure – This post was sponsored by Paperless Post, but it reflects my honest, personal opinions.