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A Warm Shoulder in A Cold World

Encouragement is a gift that we can offer others and ourselves. A listening ear, a warm shoulder to lean on, a helping hand, and an understanding heart offer support through the challenges and changes of life. When you make a conscious choice to be an encourager, you become God’s helping hand of support, inspiring courage, hope, confidence in the midst of a weary world.

When your best girlfriend tells you about her pet project, you respond with an enthusiastic “What a great idea! I know you’ll make it happen.” When the man in your life shares his hopes and dreams, you reinforce his self-worth and repel negative thoughts. You quietly say, “Yes, you can” instead of “Yes, but.” You’re not afraid to say something positive to others. These phrases are often a part of your conversation:”I love you because…” “I see in you…” “You’re so good at…” “I like the way you…” “I know you will…”

Here are some tips for being a better encourager:

Be specific and tell people in detail exactly what you like about them, what you have observed that can help them.

2. Be honest and kind. No flattery allowed. You want to point out the positives, yet be someone who offers a dependable perspective, not a flattering lie.

3. Be positive and confident. Express doubts with care and try to offer alternatives when you think someone is being unrealistic.

4. Be spontaneous. Listen to what your heart says and be willing to speak it.

5. Don’t worry abou how your encouragement is received. People are insecure and often don’t know how to take praise. They often need time to revise the way they look at themselves. Just keep believing the best for them, even when they are afraid to believe it for themselves.

6. Be consistent. Focus on the positive, make it a lifestyle. Make encouragement a habit.

7. Offer suggestions, not advice. Honor each person’s choices and believe in others’ ability to navigate their own course. You may disagree with their decisions, but you have to respect their choices.

8. Finally, be your own best encourager. Count your blessings. Be careful of the company you keep-don’t spend too much time with negative people who tear one another down. Focus on the larger vision, knowing that God has called you to a unique work in this world Give yourself time, space, and grace. Ask Him to help you find purpose in your pain and disappointments. Believe for the best.

Let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching. Hebrews 10:24-25

Checklist for Life for Women page 276

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