Be Encouraged

winnersA couple of years ago, Glen bought me a book called ‘How to Give and Receive Praise’.  (I started reading it but got distracted by the washing instructions on the sofa). The point was – is – this: encouragement is hard work.

I blame my parents: in our family, if you love someone, you insult them. The ruder you are, the more you like ’em.  There’s nothing worse than a big head so if you put them down you’re actually protecting them. It’s a kindness.

I need encouragement to be an encourager. Here’s some things that help:


Be specific. Not just ‘you’re great’, but ‘you’re great because…  ‘you always make time for others… ‘

Be interested. Why did you do that?  What were you thinking when this happened? When other people are interested in my plans, I start to get more excited about them. Things that were hazy and hard, start becoming concrete and possible,

Ask for advice. When someone asks for ‘my wisdom’, I’m flattered – and I start to think maybe, just maybe, I actually got some..

Make a point of looking for things you admire in others. Tell them how they point you to Jesus – and tell others, e.g; when introducing them to someone new.

Ask God to help you see others as He does. Quote them (positively!) in their presence.

Pray: ask if you can pray with the person and ask what you can pray for. Then keep praying – even when they’re out of eyeshot.. also pray that God will help you to be an encourager

Talk about Jesus!

Offer practical support.

Think about the things that make you feel appreciated.  Do them to others.

Say thank-you: especially in situations where this might not often happen or where they might be taken for granted – e.g; if your bus driver is lovely, write to his company and say so.   Carry blank cards with you so you can write  spontaneously.

Give people second chances.

Give gifts.  One of my friends painted the word ‘hope’ on a stone and varnished it and gave it to me. It cost nothing, but it means a lot.

Tickle them.  Unless they hate tickles.

Now for the other half of the book title “…How to receive encouragement”… that’s even harder! Suggestions?


5 thoughts on “Be Encouraged

  1. What a lovely list. I got so inspired to encourage, now onto seeing how I’ll do in real life, with real people. I find that encouraging also takes courage – to give the gift puts you in a but of vulnerable position because what if you’re rejected, or worse – you’re made to feel like your encouragement wasn’t needed, the receiver is doing fine without it. Even so, I’ll read the list again, pluck some courage and start encouraging! There are a couple of people I’ve meaning to do if with, but didn’t get to yet.

  2. What this makes clear to me is that it really takes some thought and effort to be an encourager. I tend to float along and only later think – oh I should have said that.

  3. Thanks Emma, this is challenging and … encouraging! – good to have some practical ideas for how to give encouragement. I like the way our Minister often says to people “I thank God for you because…” (It somehow makes it less embarrassing and makes people less likely to self-deprecate in response!) so – I thank God for your faithful service through this blog Emma, for your loving care for people, some of whom you’ve never even met! and for the way you point us to Jesus.

  4. Encouragement is nearly as hard to accept as a compliment. The way I take both is to say “oh, thank you”. Then mull it over (and over and over) privately. Sometimes it doesn’t FEEL very encouraging because it is aimed at my mask, and in truth, it’s probably the last direction I should be moving. However, the spirit behind it is often worth a good bit.
    Of course, when someone hits it right on the nail and gets to that area where I’m just about to give up…I’m looking for a tissue and hoping my mascara is waterproof.

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