**NOTE:Please check out my previous posts about the National Day of Encouragement here:
National Day of Encouragement is coming up on Friday, September 12. It’s time to get prepared! In doing so, I want talk to you about having the heart of an encourager. In the past, we’ve discussed the definition of ‘encourage,’ ideas about how/who to encourage, and how the National Day of Encouragement began. Now I want to get to the heart of the matter.
Being an encourager doesn’t always come naturally. It’s sort of like the old saying, “It is better to give than to receive.” Actually, let’s say it this way, “It is better to encourage than to be encouraged.” This is a lesson we have to learn.
For example, as a child on Christmas morning, you wake up with anticipation. Your anticipation goes a little something like this…..Oh, I can’t wait to see what’s under the tree with my name on it! I hope it’s the doll I asked for!
As a parent on Christmas morning, you also wake up with anticipation. However, lessons through the years have taught your anticipation to be more like this…..I’m so excited to see the look on Suzie’s face when she sees the doll she’s desired for so long! I hope Bill sees the candy in his stocking and remembers when I gave him the same kind our first Christmas!
It’s not always easy at first, but eventually we learn to grasp a heart for encouraging because we realize the old saying is true. We find that it’s in the giving of encouragement that we ourselves can be uplifted. It’s the little things- like wandering down the card aisle when your eye catches the perfect one for your neighbor, so you pick it up fresh anticipation of sending her a bit of a smile. (If you’re anything like me, you may not even send it til a month later, but we’ll get to that in a minute. 😉 )
In a way, when you learn how to have the heart of an encourager, it becomes your guilty pleasure. You realize you have the chance to be the sunshine that pushes away someone’s dark cloud. You can choose to not only brighten, but maybe even completely change the mood of depression/anguish/hurt/pity/et c. You finally understand that there are benefits to having an encourager’s heart. The guilty pleasure turns out to be an extra measure of joy in your own life!
The best part about having the heart of an encourager is that everything you do can be done quietly. When you are truly giving encouragement, you know that it is not about you. Quiet encouragement brings just as much joy, if not more. You may even enjoy encouraging anonymously. Create a smile and watch someone wonder. 😀
“Take heed that ye do not your alms before men, to be seen of them: otherwise ye have no reward of your Father which is in heaven.
Therefore when thou doest thine alms, do not sound a trumpet before thee, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward.
But when thou doest alms, let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doeth:
That thine alms may be in secret: and thy Father which seeth in secret himself shall reward thee openly.”
Many times encouragement is spontaneous. For instance, when that perfect card for your neighbor just so happened to catch your eye. Spontaneous encouragement is fantastic, but intentional encouragement comes with having the heart of an encourager. Intentionally seek to uplift someone. Decide that today you are going to make that phone call to check on a family member or that you’re going to treat your new co-worker to lunch. Definitely keep the spontaneity, yet make an effort to intentionally encourage, as well.
Please don’t make the mistake of overlooking those with sunny dispositions! Yes, there are certainly people struggling that are in obvious need of encouragement. Then there are people who live their daily lives with positive attitudes, constant smiles, and glasses that are half full. Remember that these people need encouragement, too. Sometimes the merriment is a facade and there may be a secret urgency for encouragement. Sometimes the always cheerful is genuine, but I guarantee unexpected encouraging doesn’t hurt. Encouragers especially know how to appreciate encouragement.
Earlier I mentioned how I may find that perfect card only to stick it in my purse and not send it til a month or so later. I might see it while I’m grabbing out my keys and think, “Oh! I need to send that as soon as I get home!” Then I get home and have to cook supper and switch the laundry and the card is forgotten again until a few weeks later when I spot it again. At this point, I may actually have a free moment to get the card sent. Until then, I refuse to stress about the timing of it all. I know that when it’s all said and done, the encouragement will be received just when it’s needed.
I remember one time I woke up with a sister on my mind and thought to text her and tell her I was praying for her. I got busy and it was several hours later before I actually remembered to send the text. Later, she told me how much she needed it at that particular moment. She said, “I was having a really rough day and as I took my lunch I told God that I needed Him to please show me somehow that I was going to make it through. Just then I received your text that you were praying for me and I knew that God was listening.”
Don’t stress about timing, but don’t put it off if the timing is now. Someone may be waiting.
Social media is crazy right now with challenges galore! Cold Water Challenge, ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, Grateful Challenge, Gospel Challenge, you name it! Well, I’ve decided to nominate myself and ALL OF YOU to participate in the Encouragement Challenge. The best part is you get to pick who and how. As I said, the National Day of Encouragement is September 12. Seek to possess the heart of an encourager and be thinking about how you will complete this challenge. Pray about it!
If you need some inspiration, check out our previous posts on encouragement. Speak up by letting us know in the comment section how you plan to participate or maybe how you’ve been blessed by an encourager. And don’t forget- true encouragement is year round!
A few months ago, Melanie from Only A Breath (onlyabreath.com) shared on her blog and her Facebook about her plan to start a secret sister system that is sort of like a grown-up version of pen pals. This was right up my alley and I couldn’t wait to be a part! If this is something you may be interested in, head on over to Melanie’s blog and check it out!
Unless you’re new to the blog, you know that I am truly an advocate for encouragement. That’s why I love to celebrate the National Day of Encouragement every year. Well, at least every year since I learned it existed. 😉
National Day of Encouragement takes place on September 12th. If you’re just now finding out or need refreshing, check out these links to last year’s encouragement posts:
This year, I want to give you a few tid-bits and tips on encouragement. Ready? Go!
*BECOME AND BE- Become an encourager and you will be encouraged. Yes, it’s that easy. Have you ever heard, “It is more blessed to give than to receive”? It’s true. If you encourage others, you will see that you become encouraged yourself.
*BARNABAS- We read about this fellow in the book of Acts. He was an encourager. His name is literally translated to mean “Son of Encouragement.” (Acts. 4:36) How do we know he was an encourager? It’s all about Saul. I mean Paul. Hmmm….Yep. Saul was a horrible man who persecuted true Christians and then he had a real God encounter and was truly changed. He became Paul and an awesome man of God. However, the first apostles were a little skeptical and weren’t too sure about this man who had even been instrumental in making one of there own a martyr. Enter Barnabas. We see in Acts 9:26-27 that Barnabas stepped in and paved the way for Paul to be accepted. And again in Acts 11:22-24 he continued to encourage and was described as “a good man, full of the Holy Spirit and of faith.” What a great example of Biblical encouragement!
EXTRA: If you are a leader, minister, or more specifically a Pastor needing encouragement, be sure to check out Barnabas Ministries International at http://www.bministries.org/default.aspx.
*K-LOVE- I’m sure most of you have heard of the popular “Positive, Encouraging, K-LOVE” music station. If you haven’t, please check it out! They offer an encouraging word with a scripture daily, but another thing I love is the Encouraging Story of the Day. This is featured every weekday morning at 7:45/9:45 central. I usually happen to catch it on my way home from taking my kids to school and it is simple, but uplifting. http://www.klove.com/
*GET INVOLVED- As I stated earlier, “Become an encourager, be encouraged.” How can you get involved? Here are a few ideas:
**Personal Care Packages: Put together personal care packages (include a non-perishable snack, toiletries, et c.) and take them to your local police station so they can be handed out to the homeless or to hitchhikers passing through. Include a positive note and scripture in your packages.
**Send a letter to a soldier: Do you know someone who has a family member in the military that may be overseas? If so, get their mailing information and send them a thank you card.
**Send a card to an inspiration: Is there someone in your life that you look up to, inspires you, or means a lot to you? Grab a card, jot a few encouraging lines letting them know you appreciate them and drop it in the mail.
**Pray: Speaking from experience, it is extremely encouraging just to know that someone is praying for you. Pick someone and spend the day praying for them. I don’t mean get on your knees and stay there. I mean take a few minutes several times throughout the day to pray for this person. I know he/she will feel your prayers.
**Cookies: Yes, cookies. Send a batch of cookies to the nurses at the local emergency room, to your local police or fire station, to the teachers at your child’s school, to your next-door neighbor, et c. Who doesn’t love cookies?
If you have ever celebrated the National Day of Encouragement or plan to start, please share with us! We always love to hear from you!
P.S. Want to know one way I plan to celebrate? Check out this link because this offer still stands! 🙂 http://raisingstickyhands.com/2012/09/11/encouragement-snail-mail/
Feeling gloomy, lately? Or a little down? Or maybe you feel drained of all your energy? I get that way sometimes. Believe me, it’s not fun. Not only is it not fun, but I don’t have time for it! I usually wake up every morning quoting (more like declaring) Psalm 118:24, “This is the day the Lord has made; We will rejoice and be glad in it.” However, sometimes life just happens and gets you off kilter. I’ve found a few scriptures to share that are bound to help turn the gloomy situations around.
“A merry heart does good, like medicine, but a broken spirit dries the bones.”- Proverbs 17:22. Surround yourself with happy, positive people. Laughter really is the best medicine.
“Pleasant words are like a honeycomb, sweetness to the soul and health to the bones.”- Proverbs 16:24. Once again, surround yourself with only the positive. And don’t forget to remain positive yourself. Being encouraged is great and helps so much, but remember to also be an encourager.
So, here you are. You’ve gone through all of the steps to make your lemonade & construct your lemonade stand by grieving, forgiving, accepting, and moving on. Now you have reached the point where you set up shop, practice good customer service, and make those sales.
“Huh? What are you even talking about? Stop with the metaphors or at least explain them!”
(If achieving this step is just too much work, consider seeking counseling. There is no shame in asking someone for a little help. Also, depression is a very serious illness that can happen to anyone. It is not something that you can “just snap out of”. Seek help if you need it, please.)
So, what do you do now? Sit back, relax, and drink some lemonade!!!
Now, let me give you a different scenario:
You are driving by a mountain cliff, and you see someone standing of the very edge, and if they jumped, it would be a certain death. What would you do or say?
There are some out there who would say, “Jump!” They may even give them the extra push. And then there are those who help to reason things out. Who will speak rationally, to try to change the out come.
The power of Life and Death are in the tongue. How you choose to react and the words that you speak to someone, especially when they are going thru something, can mean life or death to that person. Whether it’s spiritually or physically.
So take thought and pray about what God would have you do or say. Encourage someone today, be a blesser, not a murderer.