It has been said that encouragement is “the oxygen of the soul.” I believe that!
A couple of weeks ago, I was having a “not so great” day. I couldn’t really put my finger on the source of my discontent. Generally I have a very positive outlook on life. But not on this particular day.
Instead of taking my own advice and reading something to inspire myself, or getting around someone positive, I decided to wallow in my “funk” for a few hours. Have you ever done this?
That evening, I met with three men who I have the opportunity to be mentoring this year. We get together about three times a month for sessions that last about 2.5 hours. Although I’m supposed to be mentoring them, it always seems that I walk away with more than when I arrived. Funny how that works!
At the beginning of the session, we all prayed and asked God to direct our conversation. During part of the prayer, one of the men—Jonathan, said something about encouragement. As he spoke, I could hear God clearly speak to me. It was very apparent which way He wanted us to go.
When we finished praying, I asked each man to think back to a person who had encouraged them. Then I asked them to think of exactly how the person had gone about encouraging them. What had they done? What had they said?
Each of them individually began to tell their story of the special person who encouraged them. It was evident as I listened that there was a lot of emotion right below the surface. This took about 45 minutes. They told of how they had been encouraged, and what the outcomes of that encouragement had been. It was awesome to watch and very inspirational.
I then asked them to talk about the people they encourage. Each had people who they regularly encouraged, but as the conversation progressed, they began to think of more people who they could give the gift of encouragement to. As these people came to mind, each man became more animated. God was stirring their hearts. You could see the joy flowing as they talked about the possibilities.
The thought of being “that person” who someone else would think of as an encourager really filled them with energy and passion. I began to encourage them to “go for it” with the people who were coming to mind.
As I encouraged them, I began to feel better—to feel great in fact!
And then my friend Mac said this,
“You know, encouragement is really the ‘Anti-funk drug!’”
WOW!!! He nailed it!!!
I began to think back over my day. My so-called lousy day! All through the day, I had kept my focus on me. “Poor, pitiful me . . . Whaaa, whaaa, whaaa.” And I realized that if I had taken my attention off of me and instead had put my energy into finding someone to build up and encourage, I could have totally reshaped my day and my demeanor!!!
So here’s the thought:
Next time you have one of “those days,” (and we all have them,) purposefully find someone to encourage. Call that person and tell them what they mean to you. Write someone a note and send it to their home. Life can be tough. You will always know someone who’s in a season of struggle. Let them know that you love them and that you will begin to pray them through whatever they are going through. Who comes to your mind right now???
As it says in 1 Thessalonians 5,
“Therefore encourage one another and build each other up. Encourage the timid, help the weak, and be patient with everyone. Be joyful always.”
Well said, Paul!