Today, I was doing a bit of reading and “encouragement” seems to have been an underlying theme. As I thought about the idea of encouragement, I began to think about the sources of encouragement in my life.
When I am discouraged, there are certain people who just seem to “show up” and offer their support, their presence, and their words that become a source of encouragement. Whether it’s a timely e-mail, a phone call or a visit from a friend or family member, I have continually found sources of encouragement right when I need it. Sometimes, there are days when someone unknowingly offers a word or caring gesture that makes the biggest difference in the world (you know, one of those, “You don’t know how much that means to me” kind of things).
I also find encouragement through music. There are certain artists who have created incredible music that encourages me…whether it’s through meaningful lyrics or beautiful melodies and harmonies…music has the power to encourage me. When I am down, there are certain records I can play that will lift my spirit…that will change the course of my thinking…my attitude. There is great power in music.
Literature has often been a source of encouragement. Works of fiction and non-fiction…classic pieces…new works…religious…non-religious…blogs…newspapers…journals…It’s amazing how the written words of others can encourage the discouraged. There are certain books I can pick up and just read a few passages and find myself laughing in the midst of the most difficult of circumstances.
My wife is probably the greatest encourager in my life. She knows what to say, what not to say, and how to continually be “for” me. She has stepped in and offered encouragement when I’ve been discouraged by those I look to for encouragement. She goes “all out” in her love for me…and that is deeply encouraging.
After taking some time to think about my sources of encouragement, I began to consider if I am doing my part to encourage others…Am I offering encouraging words to others? Do I reach out through e-mail and phone calls to offer just a bit of encouragement? Do I take the time to encourage someone through the simple act of listening…of being available? Am I someone’s encourager?
In some ways, I think I probably offer some encouragement. But, I know that I have a lot of work to do. Today, I have come to realize that I need to be intentional about encouraging others…when it’s obvious they need encouragement…but, maybe more importantly…at times when it’s not so obvious.
I have two questions:
1. Where do you find encouragement?
2. How do you offer encouragement?
“So continue encouraging each other and building each other up, just like you are doing already.” ~ I Thessalonians 5:11