Works for Me: Encouraging Others

Welcome to the Ignorant Historian! If you're new here, you may want to subscribe to my RSS feed. Thanks for visiting!

My question is below, but first I have to share that I just realized that I’ve already broken my “resolution lite.” It’s a good thing that I didn’t make an all out commitment to do it. I now know that I MUST take my camera with me everywhere, because at the end of the year, I really don’t want 366 pictures of my room. Or 365, since I skipped the 7th.
Today is a backwards Works-for-Me Wednesday, so I get the opportunity to ask you a question. I’ve mulled over what to ask, and have finally come up with something that I would like help with. (Is it worse to end a paragraph with a preposition than to end a sentence with one?)
One verse in the Bible that I really enjoy is Hebrews 3:13. “But encourage one another day after day, as long as it is still called ‘Today,’ so that none of you will be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin.”
I’m seeking to try to be an encouragement to those around me, whether young or old, male or female, Christian or non-Christian.
I tend to get in a rut when trying to encourage others by encouraging them in the exact way that I find the most encouraging: by writing encouraging notes and letters. I still want to do this, but I also want to branch out into other ways of encouragement.
If I were trying to encourage you, what would be the best way to go about that? If I were trying to encourage your child, how would I do that? What has someone done for you in the past that has been the most encouraging?
Thanks for any advice you can give on this point!
For answers (not questions) visit my past Works-for-me posts:

18 thoughts on “Works for Me: Encouraging Others

  1. Do not underestimate the worth of a handwritten note!! They are a delight to receive and very often arrive at the precise moment they’re most needed.

    But, to answer your question: The most encouraging thing anyone ever did (it’s a biggie!) is come to my home every day for 8 weeks and tend to my two young children, keep my house tidy and prepare delicious meals for my sweet husband while I recovered from having surgery on both feet at the same time. I didn’t ask her to, and she didn’t ask if she could. She just did. Blessed my bandages (couldn’t wear socks!) off!

    In context, your Hebrews reference refers to warning our Christian brothers and sisters about sin. In that sense, speaking the truth in love, we are called to hold each other accountable for living biblically.

  2. Invite them over for dinner!

    This seems to be such a lost “art”. Having been in a new church for a year – NO ONE EVER invited us out for lunch or to their home for dinner. Not until I asked them first that is.

    Having someone for dinner gives you an opportunity to get to know them better, find out their needs and also to show them that you are interested in them too.

  3. To be honest, I get tired of finding junk and bills in the mail every day, so a “thinking of you” card is such a nice surprise.

    But, other ways of encouragement? Phone calls? Taking the person out for a cup of coffee or dessert?

    Dinner invites are always good, too. :-)

  4. What a wonderful thing to want to do! I have some suggestions: First, picture them as the person God says they are; if they are a believer, they are righteous, redeemed, virtuous, blameless, holy, joyful, without fault, pure, lovely, etc.

    By reminding them that they are the vessel containing all the promises of God, you are reinforcing who God says they are. You don’t have to say all those things at once, but a phrase like, “I appreciate how you are always so joyful.” They may not see themselves as joyful at all, but your comment brings it to the forefront of their minds and they realize that is how people see them.

    This works for your kids, too. Find some attribute of the promises of God that you see in them (or that you wish to see in them) and speak the words: “I am so glad you are a good steward of your money and that you are responsible.” Heard enough times, people actually begin to see themselves this way.

    Also, smile and be interested in the person. Always smile at the cashier at a store, even if she is rude. These are two ways that not only encourage others, but feed your soul as well. I love win-win deals!
    TM

  5. What a wonderful thing to want to do! I have some suggestions: First, picture them as the person God says they are; if they are a believer, they are righteous, redeemed, virtuous, blameless, holy, joyful, without fault, pure, lovely, etc.

    By reminding them that they are the vessel containing all the promises of God, you are reinforcing who God says they are. You don’t have to say all those things at once, but a phrase like, “I appreciate how you are always so joyful.” They may not see themselves as joyful at all, but your comment brings it to the forefront of their minds and they realize that is how people see them.

    This works for your kids, too. Find some attribute of the promises of God that you see in them (or that you wish to see in them) and speak the words: “I am so glad you are a good steward of your money and that you are responsible.” Heard enough times, people actually begin to see themselves this way.

    Also, smile and be interested in the person. Always smile at the cashier at a store, even if she is rude. These are two ways that not only encourage others, but feed your soul as well. I love win-win deals!
    TM

  6. What a wonderful thing to want to do! I have some suggestions: First, picture them as the person God says they are; if they are a believer, they are righteous, redeemed, virtuous, blameless, holy, joyful, without fault, pure, lovely, etc.

    By reminding them that they are the vessel containing all the promises of God, you are reinforcing who God says they are. You don’t have to say all those things at once, but a phrase like, “I appreciate how you are always so joyful.” They may not see themselves as joyful at all, but your comment brings it to the forefront of their minds and they realize that is how people see them.

    This works for your kids, too. Find some attribute of the promises of God that you see in them (or that you wish to see in them) and speak the words: “I am so glad you are a good steward of your money and that you are responsible.” Heard enough times, people actually begin to see themselves this way.

    Also, smile and be interested in the person. Always smile at the cashier at a store, even if she is rude. These are two ways that not only encourage others, but feed your soul as well. I love win-win deals!
    TM

  7. The things that are MOST encouraging to me are complete honesty and written, snail mailed notes (not store bought cards with one line of your hand-writing, but an actual, paragraphed note.)

    I feel the most encouragement when I go to someone’s house and it’s not perfect…I like to see some dirt and smudges on the mirrors. I like when we eat dinner and all the placemats are different. That is REAL hospitality!

    I also feel really encouraged when a blogger posts something real about themselves…something that would normally be embarrassing or shameful for them to let anyone know. It makes me feel like there’s hope for me if they did that, too. It’s just all about honesty and openess!

    I LOVE snail mail! You already said you send notes, so that’s awesome!

  8. One of the most encouraging things I find is when I share a need with someone or express an area of discouragment they will take time to pray with me. I always feel better, better than when someone just says they will pray for me! Even if it is over the phone!

    Don’t underestimate the power of a letter either. I love to recieve letters in the mail! Writing letters has been a ministry we have incorporated into our homeschool schedule. I wrote about it a while back here if anyone is interested in reading it:
    http://atime4everythingblog.blogspot.com/2007/11/using-your-homeschool-as-ministry.html

  9. I am a HUGE believer in the handwritten note. It’s a habit instilled in me by my Nana & my Mom.

    I have friends who can tell when I’m not myself & suggest going out for dinner or just give me a well-timed hug. It’s amazing the difference this can make.

    I also think hosting others in your home is a wonderful thing to do. Even dessert & coffee if fitting in a dinner is tough.

    Good for you for asking the question in the first place. I’ll be checking back to see everyone’s ideas.

  10. One of the most encouraging things anyone has done for me was while I was out of town! We were visiting some out-of-town family, and my in-town family knew that I had gotten pretty overwhelmed at home (we moved right before our girlie was born, and 15 months later, we STILL haven’t settled in). Anyway, my aunt was pet-sitting for us, and while we were gone, she completely cleaned & organized my kitchen! It was spotless, I could see the counters, and my pantry was even organized.

    I would never have asked for help like that, but few things have touched me as much as that act of service. It was an encouragement to me that I CAN do this, with God’s help and the support of family.

  11. As I look back through my life, I think what has been the most encouraging to me is people having good expectations of me. My parents expected me to go to college, my friends expected that I wouldn’t drink, my baby expects me to take care of him.
    Smaller things: the dinner invite is a great one, and equally wonderful are the reciprocating invites. Also, an email can work wonders. A few weeks ago a girl from church emailed just to see how I was doing and it came at a time that I really needed a lift . . .
    Keep up the good work!

  12. I, too, think notes are special. Some other ideas…volunteering to take my kids for the morning has been a HUGE encouragement to me (and I mean setting a specific day and time to do this or else it will fall by the wayside). Also, when talking with a friend on the phone (or in person), stopping then and there to pray for them if they are struggling with something in particular is also very encouraging. Just speaking uplifting words to another also lifts spirits!

  13. “If I were trying to encourage you, what would be the best way to go about that? If I were trying to encourage your child, how would I do that?”

    Have you read “The Five Love Languages” and “The Five Love Languages for Children”? You might like both of these.

  14. Notes are pretty good. Quality time’s pretty important to me too, because I don’t get to have much of that with my friends. But while those are some practical how-tos, the overarching theme for really being encouraging is to just take initiative to encourage – that is, being active and doing something. In the end, it doesn’t really matter to me exactly what it is, but the fact that you (or someone else) would show that they care and want to encourage me.

    I don’t know what’s been the most encouraging though. My friends are pretty encouraging! I enjoyed the banana I got from some friends of mine. There have been many other things. If you’d like more specific examples, I’ll send you a more detailed message at some point.

  15. Anything you do for someone in the Love of Christ will be encouraging to them. If someone is on your mind, just pray and ask God what you should do. He’ll lead you the right way.

  16. Of course, written notes are wonderful- at random times, but also for birthdays and anniversaries! But, you can also switch it up with e-cards. Dayspring offers free, inspirational e-cards at http://www.dayspring.com. I have used them several times for family and friends. It can be used when you need something quick.
    Other things…one friend came and cleaned my refrigerator and bathroom when I first bought my house. She said that no one should have to see what it looked like before they took possession. It was so thoughtful!
    I have had other friends pray for me when I was struggling with something in particular.
    Another thing that helps is just to listen. Sometimes, we just need someone to listen and not try to fix our problems. A hug works wonders at such times.
    I hope these suggestions help! Good luck!

  17. The most encouraging for me? Was an emailcard today from someone, thanking me for being a friend.

    My children were really encouraged by some packages in the mail last year.
    They don’t have a grandmother who cares, and when school had a special grandmother’s day, someone send them a package like a gram would have done. That was marvellous!

    Feel welcome to visit my entry for wfm at my blog

    Laane on the World

    Have a great week!!!

  18. I have to say, what you do would be the best encouragement to me. I used to try to branch out and do things the way I saw my friends do and not that it is bad, but sometimes we should stick to what we are good at-it is probably a gifting God gave you to use, so use it.

    I don’t know if this is encouragment, but one day my next door neighbor phoned. She asked, “what are you planning for dinner.” I told her I really wasn’t sure, as I had a terrible sinus infection and just hadn’t gotten to it. She said, “great. I just took a roasted chicken out of the oven, with peppers and potatoes and I have dessert too. I’ll be there in a few minutes.”

    I’m sure God was behind it. So whenever you get what might seem like a crazy idea, like sharing a dinner, or cleaning or whatever. Do it.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>