"Flatter me, and I may not believe you. Criticize me, and I may not like you. Ignore me, and I may not forgive you. Encourage me, and I will not forget you. Love me and I may be forced to love you.” ~William Arthur Ward
Some days we just feel crabby, cold and want to wallow in self pity. Other days we are more concerned with ourselves...our future plans, our careers, our goals, what we will eat, what others think of us.... It is all about US, all about ME. I don't know if you are like me during these times but sometimes it is easier to quietly withdraw. Shutting others out, selfishly pouting, deservedly or not.
I have come to realize during the times when I am the most down that reaching out to others tends to pull me out of my personal FUNK. So what would happen if we lived in a perpetual state of trying to encourage others....encouraging whether we are sad or happy, down or up? Would we tend to focus less on personal misfortunes and be more in tune to the needs of others? I think so. I would also argue that the more we tend to encourage others, the more we will feel encouraged.... If you could encourage each of your friends on a weekly basis, at some point I think the encouragement would make it back to you...
Who?.....I could easily say everyone, but that is not always practical. I also do not believe in being that "fake nice" person. Think of those people at your work that may need a little pick-me-up. Or your friends who you love dearly and maybe you should tell them more. Or for you adoptive people, are their blog friends, real friends, or even acquaintances that could use some encouragement? Think about it...
How?.... Kind gestures, note cards, random and planned phone calls, hugs, holding the door for someone, grabbing someone a coffee, send an email. There are innumerable ways to pick up another person...I just listed some of the things I find encouraging. If there is something you find encouraging when others do it for you, chances are others will feel the same.
Why?.....well normally I would say "Why Not?" but I don't know need to when the Bible clearly tells us we should. "Therefore encourage one another and build each other up,"
1 Thessalonians 5:11. No bossing needed from me when the Bible will do it for me....Like I wrote above, we tend to perk up as we build up those around us. When we become vested in supporting those around us, it is amazing the inward satisfaction and pleasure God will grow within us.
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So what is your plan? Can you think of a few specific people in your world, both those closest and those on the periphery, that you can speak encouragement to??? Since I issue the challenge, I will share my plan.
Here it is, my plan....keep in mind, I readily admit my flaws and attempts to do the below things will inevitably fail at some point... However, I am of the persuasion that there is much to be gained in the trying (for me and for you)
~Send at least one card each week to a friend or someone in my life. I love sending cards as I have written about many times. I have stockpile of Nascar greeting cards, don't ask, that are waiting to be sent...be prepared.
~Choose one person in my work to encourage with a card each week, as long as I am resident. This will be tough....2 years and 3 months. I am not always happy at work and sometimes I am tired. At the nudging of a friend, I have recently started leaving "thank you" notes for the janitorial staff that clean my call room....people I do not even know. My goal is to choose people within the hospital system that have jobs very different from mine and encourage them. Case and Point. My program director said in a survey two years ago from Kosair Children's Hospital maintenance staff that said all of the employees had high job satisfaction except for the fact that they "felt invisible," especially to the medical staff. Sad. Is there anyone around you, in your job...in your life...that may feel invisible? My goal...try to make my place of work a little better for a few people.
~Call someone weekly, just because.
~Pray for those around me....before I pray for myself. Not just tell someone I am praying for them to make them "feel better" but sincerely do it.
Okay, I can think of tons of other things but for now, I will try to stick this.