What I Learnt About Encouragement

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Words hold more power than we can imagine. Words can breathe life and words can crush hope. Words can build strength and words can shatter hearts.

I believe that words can change everything.

It almost broke my heart a couple of weeks ago, when I told a little girl at school just how good she was at doing the actions for the nativity songs. (She was doing so well that I was actually copying her, but years of childrens work has taught me that action songs are definitely not my strength!)

Anyway this little girl seemed so shocked by my encouragement. Her “really” and the huge grin on her face said so much to me. Those few words seemed to mean everything to her

It was almost as if she had never been encouraged before. I mean I am sure she had been told “well done,” or “nice dress,” or “good work” lots of times, but how often had she been given really specific encouragement?

How often do we go out of the way to give really specific encouragement. It’s nice when somebody says “I like your nail varnish” or asks if you’re wearing a new top, but the real, specific, personal encouragement is a whole different thing.

I can rememeber times in my life when people have really gone out of their way to encourage me, speaking specific things into my life; telling me I am gifted in certain areas. I have held on to those words like jewels. They have spoken life to me, and have changed me.

Some people seem so naturally really good at this, these people are a joy to be around. (Have you noticed that the most encouraging people also seem to be the happiest?) But to be honest, it doesn’t always come easily to me.

I’m not a complete cow, I mean, I think nice things about people, but I don’t always get around to saying them. It can feel so awkward. I’m English, I worry that any kind of complement or encouragement will sound fake or sarcastic! I even worry that complementing someone will actually offend them!

It’s really crazy when I think about it. And actually, it’s a lie.

These encouragers aren’t mythical creatures with some hidden gift we can never receive. We can be encouragers too. Just sometimes we need to make a little bit of effort, and take a few steps out of our comfort zone.

 

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28 thoughts on “What I Learnt About Encouragement

  1. Being an encourager is very important and something that I strive to do! I am currently very interested in leadership and encouragement is a large part of being a great leader! Great post 🙂

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  2. That was a good start to the New Year Ali, the bible tells us to be encourages in the faith, I think some folks struggle reading the bible, others are using their God given gifts another way, but if you can be an encourager in some small way to someone who is struggling WOW ! it can bring someone on in their walk with the Lord!

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  3. Encouragement is something that I am really passionate about. There are a lot of things I am not good at, but I know that I can always encourage someone (and really, it takes very little effort). It’s harder for some people than others, but I think we can all be encouragers.

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  4. I like how you differentiate compliments from encouragement. Liking someone’s hair or outfit is far less important than noting their actions. I need to be observant of deeper things in 2016. Thx! Leslie – LittleGemsUSA.com

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  5. What an awesome reminder to encourage and uplift others by being specific! Over Christmas, in a conversation with my nine-year-old nephew, he said “I am NEVER encouraged. Only the twins get encouragement!” This was obviously a huge lie and he is encouraged regularly, but he was being funny and this post made me think of that and how we laughed so hard. I can think of specific compliments as well – it’s amazing what those do for your soul and help you along in life. Important to always pass them on to others as well!

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  6. What an awesome reminder about encouragement and just how important it is, for both adults and children! Sometimes I don’t say the things out loud that I’m thinking because I assume the person knows or that it’s obvious… I can definitely improve upon this, though! — Lisa | Two Martinis

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  7. What an awesome reminder about important encouragement is for both adults and children! I like to think I’m an encourager – but I know I hold myself back from saying some things out loud because I assume the person already knows or that it’s too obvious to even be worth saying. I definitely have some room for improvement! — Lisa | Two Martinis

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  8. What a wonderful reminder to be more of an encourager. I think about Barnabas in the Bible. It wasn’t his real name, but it means “encourager.” Imagine being so defined by encouragement that it became your nickname! I have a long way to go!

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  9. “Words hold more power than we can imagine. Words can breathe life and words can crush hope. Words can build strength and words can shatter hearts.” I love this! It’s something we need to remember every time we deal with other people. And it makes me remember that God shared His words of encouragement with us to breathe life into us and to build us up in the faith. Thanks for sharing! 🙂

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