If you have ever been beat down, kicked around, overlooked, or ignored you know the value of encouragement.
Yesterday we discovered What Great People Do (click here to read the post). Great people are great encouragers. They follow the call of God to put "wind in the sails" by encouraging others day after day.
While that post provided some necessary "WHAT" it did not furnish you with much of the "HOW." So here are 7 ways to put a fresh gust of wind in someone's sagging spirit:
1. Use your words generously.
These days I hear our children telling their young children, "Use your words." That's good advice for every encourager. Your words are powerful. God tells us, "Anxiety weighs down the heart, but a kind word cheers it up" (Proverbs 12:25 NIV). You can look back at the post, "What Great People Do" to discover 8 encouraging phrases you can use today.
2. Show up in time of hurt.
We live in a world of talk-shows, 24-hour news, and satellite radio. Bombarded by an endless stream of talk talk talk, we can forget the power of simply showing up. The friends of Job had their theology wrong, but on one point they certainly got it right. When Job was hurting they showed up, shut up, and sat down.
They made an appointment together to come to show him sympathy and comfort him. And when they saw him from a distance, they did not recognize him. And they raised their voices and wept, and they tore their robes and sprinkled dust on their heads toward heaven. And they sat with him on the ground seven days and seven nights, and no one spoke a word to him, for they saw that his suffering was very great. Job 2:11-13 ESV
The "show" is often more important than the "say." We show encouragement with a tender smile, a knowing look, and a heart-felt hug. Being present is a present.
3. Stop and pray.
There is a Grand Canyon difference between "I'll be praying for you" and "I'm praying for you." Both are encouraging, but actually praying for someone is more powerful than the most well-intentioned promise. Paul said,
We encourage others when we pray for them. So next time replace the promise with the practice. Stop and say, "Let me pray for you right now." Then pray God's blessing over them. You can do this in person, over the phone, or even in an email conversation. Act on that promise: "Hey, I'll pray for you. Let me do that right now ..."
4. Partner with someone in need.
We encourage others when we lock arms with them in their cause. At one point in Israel's history Jonathan, the king's son, was making a daring solo raid on the enemy. As he prepared for the sneak attack, his armor bearer said,
Tell me it doesn't encourage your soul to hear someone say, "I just want you to know, I'm with you in this heart and soul!"?
That's a game-changer. Give that gift to someone in need.
5. Be patient with your frustrating friend.
We all have a "frustrating friend." This is the person who failed to show up, who "forgot," who has taken a lot of your time and will probably take a whole lot more. This is the person who is not growing at the rate you think he should. When it comes to the frustrating friend, remember these words . . .
Jesus is patient and kind with us so we give what we have been given. How refreshing to be loved that way. We're not excusing sinful behavior, we are bearing with them as Christ conforms them to Himself. The world leaves the under-perfomer in the dust. Not God. Not God's children. This is a refreshing boost for anyone struggling to overcome.
6. Promote someone (or their cause).
Self-promotion is not God's kind of promotion. The Lord says,
- "It is not good to eat too much honey, nor is it glorious to seek one's own glory." Proverbs 25:27 ESV
- "Let another praise you, and not your own mouth; a stranger, and not your own lips." Proverbs 27:2 ESV
We encourage others when we provide sincere commendation that furthers their causes. How? Give a recommendation. Promote their work on a social media outlet such as Facebook, Twitter, or Angie's List. Pass on a recommendation to friends you know. When word gets back that you did this it will be like good news from a far country.
7. Pull out the pen and paper.
I know . . . who needs pen and paper when you can send a text, compose an email, or "Like" someone on Facebook or Instagram? Writing a note says, "I care enough about you to take the time to select and purchase a card, craft a note (and probably rewrite it), pay for a stamp, walk it to the street and drop it in the mailbox. Yes, you mean that much to me."
Paper and pen trumps an electronic "shout out" any day.
Okay, now it's your turn. Pause and prayerfully consider the list above. Who comes to your mind? What will you do?