Can you think of a time when a friend reached out with a word or action of encouragement? How did it make you feel?
I have this friend that, no doubt about it, has the spiritual gift of encouragement. She's gifted in other areas as well but man does she blow it out of the water when it comes to encouraging others! She has this knack for remembering small details about what her friends are up to, working on, looking forward to, or dealing with and she checks in on occasion to see how things are going. When Micah went to Florida for a week at the beginning of June and my big boys were at their grandparents house at the same time (half my family was missing!) she checked in a couple times to see how I was holding up. Other days I'll check the mail to find a postcard with a sweet message. Seriously, this girl's encouragement game is ON POINT!
And it makes me want to do better.
I'm such a space case that even though I have great intentions about checking back in with people when I've prayed for them I often forget. Or I start sending a text and then a kid interrupts, because bathroom needs, and the text is gone. Or I just don't. Even though I really want to do it!
But she's inspired me to be a better encourager! Because of her example I've come up with four super simple ways you can encourage others and spread the love of Christ.
4 ways to encourage others
So easy and yet we often don't do it properly. I'm so guilty of sitting down with a friend to listen to her share her heart and instead of absorbing her words I'm planning my own response. To encourage a friend by listening we need to put aside our own agendas and tune in to the conversation. Whether it's a tragedy, an exciting decision, or a story about her kids we need to be fully attentive.
If something needs to be said or she asks your advice then you can pipe in. Be a shoulder to cry on, a smile or cheer for good news, or a "me too" so she doesn't feel alone.
2. Be a cheerleader
I have a few friends doing incredible things right now. Writing books, running marathons, making healthy lifestyle changes, starting businesses, and so many other things. I can offer encouragement by congratulating their accomplishments each time they share. I can send a text and ask how things are progressing. I can share their business info when relevant conversations crop up. I know that what I'm writing on this blog doesn't match up with every single one of my friends or family members but I have so many that still "like" or "share" my post to help spread the word and let me know they are cheering my blogging passion on. It's so uplifting!
Just because your friend started selling an item that doesn't fit your lifestyle doesn't mean you can't share her name or info when another person asks if you know someone in that niche. Your support, even verbal support, can make a world of difference to your friend.
3. Send a card
I can't count the number of times I've opened my mailbox to find a sweet postcard or note card from a friend, just because. They make my day! Real mail is so rare these days that when it happens it's one of the sweetest moments. Can you imagine the way you could bring a smile to the face of a friend as she gets the mail and finds a handwritten card among the junk mail and bills?
DaySpring has a large selection of encouragement cards, as well as lots of other options, and right now their boxed cards sets are buy one, get one free! You'd be set for sending out a new card each week or several cards at a time to multiple people. Spread the love all over!
4. Give a simple gift
A year or so ago a friend gifted me a small journal, just because. She knew I enjoyed writing and thought it would be helpful for keeping track of ideas, prayer requests, or other tasks. It wasn't expensive, it wasn't fancy, but it was so very thoughtful.
When we had back to back miscarriages our church sent us flowers and let us know they were praying for us. Simple but we were so touched.
If your friend is a reader, how about a new bookmark? Is she a coffee drinker? Drop off a new mug or gift card to her favorite coffee shop. Just yesterday a friend shared a picture of a gas card and jumbo peanut butter cup that her friend dropped off. My friend has an infant son that is facing large medical issues and they are driving all over to appointments so a gas card will help their budget and obviously a peanut butter cup for a quick sanity break ;) Simple but incredibly appreciated.
To help spread the love, DaySpring is offering buy one, get one free on select gifts to encourage yourself and others. They are even including one of my favorite items that I have in my kitchen. This clip board frame is a different color than the one I have but the prints are all the same. I randomly pull one out to display and the message uplifts me and puts my focus where it should be - on God!
Ready to encourage someone?
Now is the perfect time. Today, September 12th, is National Encouragement Day, and DaySpring has created the #encouragementdare to make all of us step out of our comfort zones - because that's totally what it is! - and reach out to those around us with a small gesture that can spread the love of Christ. It doesn't need to be anything major!
To make this dare even easier DaySpring has a whole checklist of ideas for you to download after you sign up. Most of these require very little planning so they are perfect for impromptu encouragement sessions. Stick a note in your child's lunch, send a text to your husband with reasons you love him, or respond kindly to someone on social media with a differing viewpoint are just a few simple ways you can accomplish this dare. Are you ready to go?
Click the photo to sign up for the dare: