“You seem to really appreciate the people in your life,” my counselor observed a few years ago. The irony is that I was seeing her to help me navigate my footing through a divorce, which was one of the trials that caused me to better appreciate the valiant souls around me who carried me when I didn’t have the strength.
“You have no idea,” I replied. “I have the best family and friends a girl could ever ask for.”
A lot has changed since then, but I still carry this sentiment just as deeply, if not more so. Recent events cause us to remember yet again just how hard this thing called life can be. Even without mass shootings and horrific natural disasters, everyday routines are riddled with challenges. And who couldn’t use a little encouragement along the way?
I know we aren’t supposed to live for the applause of others, but can we pull back from a minute and just be real? I mean, when’s the last time you received a sincere compliment and it didn’t have any impact on you? I can’t remember when, either.
I don’t suggest we compliment each other as shallow puffs to propel another throughout a storm. Sincere appreciation must run much deeper–and must also be demonstrated.
It’s that second part that trips most of us up. We might know how grateful we are for someone in our heart, but we don’t think about saying it to them. Or there are those that have done so much for us that there aren’t sufficient words to adequately express our gratitude and so we don’t say anything at all (kinda like mom’s saying about if you can’t say anything nice…. apparently I bought into about also meaning if I can’t say anything as nice as I’d like, then I shouldn’t say anything). Unfortunately, there are too many people that I’ve placed into this second category, their love and actions being so incredible that I’m still at a loss of how to express it to them.
Hebrews 10:24 says, “Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works.” Giving someone a sincere compliment is one of those ways of motivating others. So is letting someone get a glimpse of what their actions helped create, the afterwards events that they couldn’t know about.
Because it’s easy to get tired. We convince ourselves too easily that it doesn’t matter (it being pretty much anything, especially the things God puts on our hearts, whether a dream, a small task or a million things in between). We persevere and yet we might also be on the brink of giving up.
And then that one little word from someone unexpected can be just enough to keep us going, at least another day.
In a world filled with tensions and divisions, I vote for encouragement and building each other up. How about you? Please leave a comment about how encouragement impacts you as well as some ideas on how you will encourage others today.