Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Encouragers…Time to Take Courage and Encourage

Have you noticed when you walk into a store and you hear one of the clerks or food preparers shout out “Good afternoon, welcome to ____”? Isn’t that encouraging? You were noticed! And you know that some of those sales clerks have been taught to say something nice to you like “I love your hair or I love your sweater!” In spite of it seeming a little trite, it still gives you a feel-good feeling, doesn’t it?

Yesterday, I started thinking about those people who have been encouragers to me. I remember, as a young child, the choir director pointing out “You harmonize so beautifully at your young age.” That gave me such confidence to belt out my harmonies even more. Someone else said, “Donna, you have the most beautiful clothes.” That’s because my sweet mama, though she didn’t have much financial wherewithal, she made sure that I had beautiful clothes to wear and she could do that because she was a great “deal” finder. I think that’s why, to this day, I go to the sales racks before I look at the full-priced items. In my post, yesterday, I spoke about how average I was in school, but when it came to my clothes, I stood out.

Today, I am an outgoing, avid writer, teacher and speaker, because my husband encouraged me to speak publically, to get my pilot’s license, real estate broker’s license and more. I had a boss who encouraged me to apply for a job that I didn’t have the required Master’s Degree for it, but he knew I could do the job. I did and he was right. More recently, was the encouragement and support I had during the time of my husband’s illness and later his passing. The loving attention and care from dear friends and family lifted me way above the fray. And, now, the encouragement I receive from so many of you, my FB friends and family – that cheers me on in doing what I’m doing right now -- encouraging me to keep encouraging.

I said all that to say, because I was encouraged by others…..I, too, became an encourager. And that’s my point today, to say it’s time for us all to put on our Encourager Hats. It’s obvious how much our world needs cheerleaders and encouragers. I know as I type this post, you get what I’m saying, because you sense God’s gift within you. You’ve been through your share of heartaches and someone was there to encourage you, so you know like 2 Corinthians 1:4 says “So that you might comfort others with the same comfort that you’ve been comforted with”, you must encourage others. Now you are passionately aware that you’ve been called to speak up, reach out and lift up others. It’s not always easy because you don’t want to intrude or be a “know it all”, but that’s not what matters. What matters is you have something to give even if the recipient seems to be less than aware of your God-given gift. Here’s how you know you’re an encourager:

~ You hear someone express pain – maybe from a loss of a loved one, or the loss of a marriage, or they are experiencing physical pain, you know you must encourage them with at least the words “I’m praying for you”, but you don’t want it to sound like a cliché. I promise you...it isn’t. However and whenever you say those words…it matters – if you pray. The power of heaven lines itself up with those prayers. It tells them….you care enough to call in the cavalry…..er’ CALVARY where God marshals His army of warriors on their behalf. They know they’re not alone in their fight.

~ What about that attitude of looking for something good in someone, like those store clerks, to build up and bring a bright light to their day? Why not encourage by remarking “You are the fastest cashier I’ve ever seen!” or “You are so friendly. Thank you.” or “I love your smile”. When we do that, we’re being encouragers.

~ Encouragers often go the 2nd mile. Sometimes being an encourager means we should go out of our way to encourage someone. Invite them to lunch so they can just vent. Offer to take care of their children so they can have a couple of hours of “Me Time”. Take over cookies or a cake with a little note that says “Thinking about you and what a great Mom you are!”

I promise you, every word and action we offer in whatever way, is multiplied and magnified. We hold the power in our hands when we pick up the phone to send a text or to type a comment in a FB post that speaks truth and life and comfort. It’s not as much about the actual words as it is about knowing we care. We don’t have to be concerned that our words are perfect and we should never let the enemy talk us out of typing them – he knows the good we do as encouragers and of course he gets all bent out of shape when we foil his plans.

1 Thessalonians 5:11 "Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing"!

Rise and shine, Encouragers! Let’s go get ‘em…..let’s ENCOURAGE!!