There she as on the stationary bike “huffing and puffing” her heart out. The look on her face was a contortion of pain and misery but she kept on peddling toward her goal. Every lap I walked around the track led me back to her and with each pass I sensed a growing conviction that she needed someone to notice her, encourage her, tell he what she was doing was worth the struggle. I had no intention of saying all of those things to a woman I didn’t know, but, I did what I thought summed up all of these sentiments in a simple gesture; I gave her the “thumbs up.” She smiled appreciation and the face once contorted broke out into a smile.
If there is one thing life has taught me it is the great need people have to be encouraged. You and I often fail to realize the it, but people all around us are discouraged. Many times we don’t know how to encourage the people around us. And that is part of my challenge to you today; learn to be someone who encourages everyone (even those you do not know).
Encouragement is defined in the dictionary as
The act of making something more appealing or more likely to happen
Something that makes someone more determined, hopeful, or confident
Something that makes someone more likely to do something
All of have moments when we need some part of our life to be more appealing or likely to happen. We have all experienced moments when we need someone to help us be more determined, hopeful or confident. We all need someone who will motivate and inspire us. And we all need to be these things for others as well! Let me be your encouragement today and offer a few ways you might do just that; all of us can be someone’s needed encouragement.
Ways to be an Encourager:
- Give Someone the Thumbs Up — A great deal of communication is of the non-verbal variety. How many times a day do you make eye contact with someone or (as men often do) give the “head nod?” Try to make these moments meaningful by smiling, giving a fist pump or, as I did at the gym, a “thumbs up.” When appropriate these simple gestures can mean a great deal to those who are searching for any shred of validation or encouragement in their life.
- Smile — This may seem to be a “no brainer” kind of statement but it makes people feel good when you smile at them. A smile is disarming and encouraging. Some people rarely smile and are rarely smiled at. A smile allows someone to know you notice them, care for them and are pulling for them. Try smiling at every new encounter throughout your day and be surprised how it makes both you and others feel better about the day.
- Speak — When you are thinking positive thoughts about someone open your mouth and speak them! All too often we allow things to go unsaid; things which might impact and even change someone’s life. An encouraging word left unsaid is nothing short of a tragedy.
So there is my short list of ways to be an encouraging person. Short, sweet and to the point I hope.
Speak encouragement through your actions, facial expressions and words. Be someone’s Barnabas today. Be a difference maker in the world around you. Someone in your life, whether you know them personally or not, needs to be encouraged. Will you be the one?
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