Encouragement is empowering and inspiring. Perhaps you have an encourager in your life, and you can identify with these feelings in a way that is almost tangible. Unfortunately, too many people have never experienced this. If you want a small boost in your local economy, see the good in someone, empower them with their own strengths, and inspire a future of greatness; I don’t mean the kind of greatness based on popularity or fame, but I am referring to the kind of greatness that impacts this person’s community no matter the size of it. People who encourage can change lives.
For example, I love writing. It makes me happy, but when I walk into a book store I know that pursuing a career in writing is not for me. At one point several years ago, I stopped writing. I stopped writing poems and prose. I stopped writing children’s stories. I just stopped. Then one day I realized that I don’t have to write for anyone else. I can write for me. I can write for my children. I can make sure that everything I write at work is well thought out and a representation of my best work. Words are powerful. My husband supports me, and when I talked with him about all of these feelings, he let me know that writing is worth it. Because of people like him in my life, I’m going to keep writing. He is my life changer.
For all of you college students out there, I cannot tell you how important it was to me to have my mom and several teachers and bosses guiding me and seeing the best in me when I didn’t know which way I’d go. I can remember where I was when I changed my major the first time… and the second. I can remember when I changed my career the first time… and the second. My mom was just a phone call away every time. I do not regret even one of those changes because every single one has helped me get to where I am now, and I really love where I am now. My mom is my life changer.
I am a firm believer in Jesus. When my dad had one of his heart attacks, God used one of my counselors who had been in this position with her own dad to help me. She heard me and understood me because she had been there. God used her to keep my face up (literally at that moment) when I wanted to hide in a corner (which I kinda was doing at that moment). I didn’t know how to pray or what to pray, so I decided I would do a word study on prayer for a very small group I led with a fellow student. He brought me to Romans 8:26*, and I knew in that moment that God knew the pain I felt; it didn’t matter that my feelings didn’t make sense to me. He is my life changer.
An encouraging word is not a “Good job” after a tough game. An encouraging word is not a “Don’t worry, your freshman year doesn’t matter anyway.” An encouraging word is not surface level. It is not fake. It is not a meaningless catchphrase thrown out in an awkward moment. An encouraging word takes effort, vulnerability, and a desire to see the best in someone who can’t. Not everyone will respond, but this doesn’t mean it’s not worth trying. I implore you to consider the depth of encouragement.
*Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. – Romans 8:26 ESV