**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/
August of 2011, God began to speak to me about encouragement. He began to pour into my spirit about the need for encouragement, especially among women. All of sudden there it was–Encouragement Party! He had given me a fresh, new idea to spread encouragement. I grabbed a pen and paper and my brain was going so fast that my hand could barely keep up! Some of you may remember me writing about the Encouragement Party. If not, please check it out here.
God had given me an outline for the purpose of the Encouragement Party (which you can also view by clicking the link above) and I threw an Encouragement Party for my church ladies on September 8th of last year. We had a wonderful time! As I spent the week getting things together, I came across an advertisement in the mail that let me know the National Day of Encouragement was coming up on September 12th. Something I didn’t even know existed. Don’t you love how God works?
You may be wondering how we were able incorporate encouragement into our festive night of fellowship and food. Here are just a few examples:
*Each lady got to take home a paper with their name written at the top. Underneath their name, every other person there had written something positive and uplifting about that particular lady.
*Each lady was given a piece of Dove chocolate. Why? #1, it’s chocolate! #2, every Dove chocolate wrapper has a fun, cute saying. My favorite is “You look good in red!” I decided to hang that one on the fridge for a while. Who doesn’t love a compliment?!
*We had door prizes to give away and guess what–we ended up with just enough door prizes for each lady that was there to get one. God is always prepared.
*Each lady wrote their name/address/phone number/email on an index card and we put them in a stack. They then took turns drawing an index card out of the stack. They were asked to send a card to the woman whose name was on the index card they drew, or maybe give her a quick call just to see how her day is going, sometime in that coming week.
I know these seem to be simple things, but when it comes to encouragement, simple is BIG. Nothing is too small for encouragement!
This was when I became so crazy about encouragement and becoming an encourager. Our Week of Encouragement (we celebrated from September 10-14 this year, if you missed it, please go back through our blogs!) came to me this year to help celebrate the National Day of Encouragement. I hope and pray that it wasn’t for just me, and that you all enjoyed/needed it, too.
Something else I added this year was a name/number/email/address exchange with all the ladies in my Sunday School class. I sent a card to the woman whose name I got. The woman who got my name called me one afternoon and we had a long chat that was such a blessing to me and really put some light into my day. We all enjoyed it so much that we decided we would exchange again several times and not celebrate only once a year.
If you celebrated, or are still celebrating (like we all should be!), please feel free to let us know how. We’d love to know what encouraging ideas you have so please, please, please share!
Just because Encouragement Week is over on Sticky Hands doesn’t mean encouragement is over for good. Encouragement is a necessary tool, as a giver and receiver, to get through life. I’m definitely going to continue on in this uplifting movement, and I hope you plan to do the same.
Think of something special (big or small) that someone has done for you in your life. Remember how amazing it made you feel to know that someone cared? That’s why this is so important. I know how great it feels when someone shares encouragement with me, and that’s why I have been so adamant about sharing it with all of you.
I pray you have enjoyed this week as much as I have. Stay tuned— I’ll be writing a follow-up blog to let you know how I celebrated this week with my family. I can’t wait to hear about the many different ways you have all celebrated, so please be sure to share with us!
To all of you that participated this week, no matter how much or how little, from the bottom of my heart I thank you!
“And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the day approaching.”
I have a small gift for you today— two printables! One printable I created for you so you can have a few encouraging scriptures on hand. Use these scriptures, but don’t stop there! God’s word is absolutely full of encouragement for us and He meant for us to USE it. We need to dig deep into His word for ourselves and for those around us.
The second printable I created simply to use as a reminder. A reminder of what encouragement is, a reminder that God wants to use us to uplift others, and a reminder that He has sent people into our lives to uplift us. We can’t forget the little blessings!
I know it isn’t much, but I hope you can use these once in a while to make a difference. Have a happy and joyful day!
Don’t forget to enter for a chance to win Conversation Starters for Girlfriends by DaySpring!
Click the following links to download:
Today is the actual day for the National Day of Encouragement. Today is the day that inspired me to make it a week long celebration! How was it founded? Wikipedia says,
“The National Day of Encouragement in the United States was announced in 2007 and occurs each year on September 12.The Encouragement Foundation at Harding University in Searcy, Arkansas launched an effort to get Americans to participate in this Day of Encouragement. The first proclamation for the Day of Encouragement was made by Mayor Belinda LaForce of Searcy, Arkansas on August 22, 2007. In September Mike Beebe, the Governor of Arkansas, signed a proclamation making September 12, 2007 the “State Day of Encouragement” for Arkansas. Later, President George W. Bush also signed a message making September 12 the official “National Day of Encouragement.””
Whatever the founding details, I sure am glad we have this day to celebrate! And in case you haven’t figured it out yet, I’m doing my very best to spread the word about the National Day of Encouragement. I know each and everyone of you are helping me and I honestly appreciate that. And to show my appreciation for your help and support (and encouragement!), we’re having a giveaway!!!
One of you will win your very own Conversation Starters For Girlfriends from DaySpring. It comes with 31 adorable Question & Verse Cards to help start faith conversations with your girlfriends. These are great for hanging out with the girls, your Bible study group, Sunday school class, or women’s meetings.
Make sure you all enter for chance to win below! And thanks so much for being a part of our Encouragement Week! 🙂
a Rafflecopter giveaway
If you couldn’t tell by my earlier posts, let me just put this out there….I’m a super big fan of snail mail! Any time I get a card or letter in the mail, my entire day gets ten times better and my smile becomes about a foot wide. I don’t assume that I am the only one with a snail mail obsession, so from time to time, I try to be sure I send a card or letter to others. I love, love, love buying cards to keep on hand. I have tons on standby, just waiting for me to get hit with the urge to send.
In keeping with the celebration of Encouragement Week, I have decided to bring the cards out and start sending…….to you! If you love snail mail and uplifting moments as much as I do, send an email with your name and address to firstname.lastname@example.org along with the words “Seeking Encouragement” in the subject line. If I receive an email from you, then get ready– your snail mail is on the way! It may be the same week or it may be the next month, but if you aren’t watching and waiting, it just might pop up and surprise you!
I’m looking forward to hearing from you and I’m really looking forward to using my cards! Have a blessed and encouraged week!
Today is the kickoff to our Week of Encouragement. The world we’re living in is a place full of hate and discouragement. That being said, a little word or gesture of encouragement goes a long way. We all love to be encouraged, and we all need to be encouraged. There’s no better way to start a move of encouragement when you need encouragement than by becoming an encourager yourself.
What does it mean to encourage? By definition, encourage is a verb, meaning to inspire with courage, spirit, confidence or hope. A verb implies action, therefore, you cannot be an encourager without DOING. I hope all of our readers will become involved and active with us as we celebrate this week.
Chances are, you already have someone in mind that you feel could use an extra dose of encouragement. Maybe even more than one someone. You now know what it means to encourage and since you have that down, let me add some simple tips on how you can be an encourager this week (and in the future):
For more ideas, you can also check out a previous blog of mine entitled Uplift Someone.
Once you’ve read this blog, you won’t have any excuses when it comes to uplifting others. Use this How-To and have a fun-filled week encouraging the people in your life. Do you have any ideas to add to our list? Be sure and share them with us on the comment section below. I’d love to hear about how you became an encourager or how someone else encouraged you!