Tuesday, March 22, 2011

How to Encourage Someone

I've been discouraged lately and a few people have done a few nice things to encourage me (mostly unbeknownst to them). I thought I'd share a few ideas on how we can be a blessing to others through the ministry of encouragement.

Here are a few things I have learned:

1. Money is not necessary to send encouragement someone's way. It doesn't matter if you have $50 or $5 there are ways to bless someone. Here are a few...a note slipped under an office door, a love note in your child's lunch,  words spoken at an opportune time, a good solid hug or an "I LOVE YOU".

2. Small thoughtful deeds mean something. A little boy in my class brought me a diet coke a few weeks after school started. I had know idea that he knew I drank diet coke but he had been paying attention and seen me pour one into my cup one day and went home and told his mom. What a thoughtful deed that encouraged me so much.

3. A well thought out word. I'm not saying a habitual "thank you" doesn't go a long way, but I am saying that someone can tell if you have thought about what you are going to say to them. I was eating at a restaurant a few weeks ago when I saw one of my students waving frantically at me. After her meal was eaten she and her mom came over to say "hello." The mother then expressed some extremely kind words to me and when she walked away I was overwhelmed by her kindness and encouragement. In the midst of a difficult week she had spoken life into very weary bones.

4. Don't assume people know how you feel. If you appreciate someone...let them know. If you love someone... tell them. People don't automatically know that you feel that way about them... but if they did...think about how secure that would make them feel in the relationship.

5. Think of what would make the other person happy. Would going fishing with your son make him the happiest boy in the world? Would bringing your friend a coffee to work one day make her happy? So many times we don't even think about what brings happiness to another person's life. Make them feel special by truly thinking about things that bring happiness to their life.

6. Encourage with scripture. Share a verse in a sweet...loving...gentle way.

7. Be interested in someone else's life. It's easy to get consumed with what's on your plate or behind your front door. But when we are so inwardly focused we tend to put everything else on the back burner. That back burner still needs some attention every now and again.

Have you been encouraged lately...I'd love to hear how......please comment!!!


Keelie said...

I recently read a book (Unfashionable by Tchividjian)that talked about the difference in "counterfeit encouragement"(aka flattery, for selfish gain/reasons, or out of habit) and "true encouragement." True encouragement is recognizing Christ in others and pointing it out to them. The main goal of true encouragement is always to build up someone else and glorify the Lord in the process. I loved this. He went on to say that this "true encouragement" is one of the best (and probably most under-used) evangelistic tools we Christians have. He pointed out that ALL people are created in the image of God and if you look closely enough you will be able to see Him in them. By acknowledging this we are able to point an unbeliever to his/her creator.

Anyway--just thought I would share as you are on the topic of encouragement. Great post--I especially appreciate the tip to think of how we can make someone else really happy and then do it! good stuff. Thanks.

Kathy said...

I love this post, Gina. I especially liked #5 & #7. I remember when I was single and in a very hard place, someone in my church brought me a little tub of homemade chicken and rice to church and said, "Here, we had some extra and just wanted you to have it." Well, first, food ALWAYS ministers to me (touches, encourages, builds me up and sometimes OUT!), and it is something they did that may have seemed small to them, but it was everything to me. I'll never forget it.

I don't have the reference in front of me, but I'm remembering a passage that says, "Encourage one another while it is still today," or something along that line. It's definitely Biblical, and this post is definitely timely.