No matter the language spoken, words have power. The human heart responds to words like a barometer responds to atmospheric pressures. Indeed, our heart longs for encouragement like our lungs crave oxygen. One kind word of encouragement, one smile and one hug at the right time can be life-changing. It's always amazing to me how little it takes to put a smile on someone’s face and raise their spirits.
Encouragement has a way of going straight to the heart. The word itself comes from a combination of the prefix en which means "to put into" and the Latin root cor which means "heart". We all know the affect of encouragement. We also know what it feels like to be discouraged. When I find myself in a slump, feeling bleak and blah, a sure fix is to 'sow seeds' of encouragement into those around me. There's reciprocal power in giving. It boomerangs back.
Whether it's a family member, a grocery cashier, or a Starbucks coffee-giver, it always seems to blow away the gray clouds in my head. Although they have no idea of my secret strategy, t's a win-win for all of us! What a big difference encouragement makes.
To be honest, in my temperament, I'm well acquainted with gray landscapes. It's taken years to learn to navigate through the haze. But it's because of that tendency that I empathize with those around me that fall into the 'slough of despond.'
The following is a list from my bag of tricks in helping others to take heart when the going gets tough and the way feels long. Based on Gary Chapman's book, THE FIVE LOVE LANGUAGES , these suggestions correspond to these 'love languages' : affirming words, quality time, giving gifts, acts of service, and physical touch.
Think of some words you might offer. When an encouraging thought comes to mind, share it! Say it! Email it! Write a note! It may not have the same effect if you wait. Don't let shyness hold you back. Instead, form a new habit: "Encourage one another daily, as long as it is called Today…" Hebrews 3:13 Another affirm idea is this. When you introduce someone, add a few words of praise for the person's abilities, accomplishments, about how they've helped you or about the nature of your relationship. It's encouraging to be praised in front of others.*
Realize the power of presence. Just being there can be encouraging! When you're with others, you're telling them that they're important. The Apostle Paul closed his letter to the church at Colossae promising to send his friend Tychius "that he may encourage your hearts." Colossians 4:8b
Send some token that reminds that person they are in your thoughts and that you care about them. It can be almost anything. An unexpected tid-bit tucked unto a desk, a small-something mailed to a mailbox, or delivered to a door, is a tangible sign of your thoughtfulness..
4)Acts of service
When someone is discouraged or hurting, offer specific, practical help. If you ask, "How can I help?" the person might be at a loss to answer. It's better to ask, "Would it help if I…" or say, "I would like to…" There's always SOME way to serve. Even if the person is not forthcoming in ideas, putting oneself in their 'shoes' for a few moments usually has the power to unveil a few ideas.
5) Physical touch
A simple gesture of hand on shoulder or a compassionate hug offered in a timely manner, can be just the thing to remind someone of the truth that they are not alone.
When it comes to encouraging others, the sky is the limit. I like to make a game out of it. When I meet someone, I like to make it my secret mission to try to decipher what their particular 'love language' might be! What about you? What are some ways you've discovered to encourage someone you care about? Did you match their particular 'language' with your action? What was the result?
"Let us not give up the habit of meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another-and all the more as we see the Day approaching." Hebrews 10:25
Welcome! Glad you're here! This little spot is where I share thoughts, writings and verses that fuel my life, my marriage, and my art. My desire is to offer up hope and grace and help make your life feel a bit lighter.