In our purpose-filled lives, each of us at various times and in different ways is meant to encourage others. Our lives are not ones of isolation and independence but of relationship and interconnection. Although our talents, personalities, abilities, and backgrounds may differ, every one of us is called to develop an encouraging heart. The good news is there is no one perfect way and we even get “do overs”. We may have no idea the impact our gracious words, sound advice, or acts of kindness has on another person.
At all times encouragement is intentional. It might come in the form of comforting those who hurt, affirming those who struggle, spending time with the lonely, or simply helping to meet someone’s practical needs. There is nothing like a conversation where one offers attentive eye contact, intentional listening or a comforting hug. The words, “You are not alone” are amazingly powerful!
Sometimes encouragement is spiritual. When people are struggling to trust the Lord in hard times, they need someone to remind them of God’s constant presence, unfailing promises, or unlimited power. Sometimes it’s helpful to point out an applicable verse of Scripture that gives God’s perspective, instructions, or comfort. Spiritual encouragement also comes in the form of advice to someone headed down the wrong path accompanied by loving correction.
Sometimes encouragement is a knowing quiet presence. I remember the number of times my mother went to the IBM office on Saturday mornings to listen as I practiced my IBM sales presentations. She knew I was a trained, behavioral, unconditional-positive-regard-person who was new and somewhat uncomfortable in a what-have-you-done-for-me-lately world. She played the role of executive and listened intently. Many times she did not understand the entirety of the message. Yet her image sitting there, nodding and smiling has stayed with me all these years, motivating me to remember I am never alone.
Sometimes up close and personal encouragement is not possible. On those occasions, we have the gifts of technology and the United States Post Office. Technology is awesome however, it is hard to ignore that special feeling when you open, touch and read an encouraging card or letter. Those often become new additions to a special memory box or just read over and over until the loving encouraging power has been absorbed. I think it’s sad that today time seems to cost too much to take and the cards and letters seem to come less and less often.
Lastly, there are times when we have to encourage ourselves. We have to go to that place where we remember that we are worthy and strong and creative; that we have a purpose and everything we need within us to fulfill it.
I invite you to join this conversation. Comment and share a special time of encouragement in your life. . Your voice matters.
Until next time, remember,
You are not alone.
You are not your circumstances.
You have everything within you to live a purpose-filled life.