Everyone is under-encouraged.
I grew up hearing my dad say that sentence on repeat. Everyone is under-encouraged.
If you’re like 95% of the humans in our society (including myself), you’re immediate response to that statement was:
You’re so right. I am under-encouraged.
Yes. You do fall in the category of everyone and I hate that your under-encouraged. I wish I could sit down with each and everyone of you and encourage you on a personal level. But today I want to push us all to think outside of ourselves.
It’s pretty difficult to encourage yourself.
In fact, I’d argue that it’s impossible. You can pray and ask God to encourage you—and He will overwhelmingly respond to that request. You can choose your attitude and intentionally train your mind and mouth to be positive, but the actual definition of encourage is give support, confidence, or hope to (someone). (italics my emphasis)
So when I say everyone is under-encouraged, instead of thinking about how you wish you were more encouraged, let’s take a moment to think about how we can be part of changing the culture of under-encouraged people.
Who are the people you interact with on a daily basis? Classmates, co-workers, friends, parents, siblings, etc.
When was the last time you went out of your way to intentionally encourage one of them?
In Nashville, most people are really kind and talkative to strangers. You can make a best friend in the grocery store check out line and they’ll invite you over for Thanksgiving dinner. But Tyler and I were out of town recently and went to the store. As the grocery employee was bagging up our items, I asked her how her night was going. It took her a moment to realize I was speaking to her. “How’s your night going?” I repeated. Her face beamed. “Wow! Most people never speak to us or even make eye contact!” We continued to chat for a few more minutes and eventually said goodbye, but you would have thought we gave her a $100 bill. She physically held herself different. She was so encouraged to just have been treated like a human being.
Of course I think it’s important we treat everyone with respect and an encouraging attitude, but how much more impactful is it when we intentionally encourage the people we really know?
Most weeks, I find myself getting discouraged about a particular issue and ask God to encourage me if He wants me to press on. Every time, a friend or coworker will send me a text, email or handwritten note encouraging me on the exact thing I was struggling with.
Did God do that? Yes. But it took those people to take a few minutes out of their day to think of me and follow through by sending me a note for me to be encouraged.
When was the last time you went out of your way to intentionally encourage someone you know well?
When was the last time you encouraged a friend, family member, coworker, or classmate in a specific way? Not just a general “good job, way to go!” vague statement, but one where you gave definitive examples of how they are doing a great job and encouraging them to press on?
I will never forget a time I was tired, struggling, and with very little hope. A good friend wrote me a note that said, “When you run out of hope, you can borrow mine.” She then wrote about all the ways she had hope for me and had great confidence that God was going to do an amazing work in that area of my life. That’s exactly what I need to hear–someone else had hope on my behalf!
Let’s tackle our under-encouraged society by committing to encourage others!
This week I’m committing to encourage the under-encouraged in a specific way. I’m going to write five encouraging notes to five people. Will you join me?
Let’s commit to encourage the people we interact with on a daily basis. And if you are feeling under-encouraged, I think you’ll be surprised how encouraging others will directly benefit your own heart. It’s amazing what God does when we think outside of ourselves and focus on others.