I’m so glad to find you here. Because it means that you have a heart for encouraging others who are going through a hard time or transition.
I do, too.
But you see, I’m an introvert. Even when I’m with my closest friends, I don’t always talk. Yet I care deeply about others. I don’t often know what to say or do when those I love are hurting. Perhaps you can relate?
I’m discovering there are still ways I can encourage others–ways that are meaningful for them and authentic for me. I’d love to help you explore what that might look like for you.
It all starts with something we call The Overlap.
Model of Encouragement
I believe the best encouragement we can offer will be both authentic for us and meaningful for our friend (the overlap of the two circles).
If the best encouragement happens in The Overlap, I’m going to look for areas that fit both me and my friend.
For example, I am an introvert who doesn’t talk a lot, but who likes to write. If my friend is also an introvert who values words of encouragement, sending her a handwritten note would be a meaningful gesture to her.
Or say you like to clean the house, and you’re good at it. And your friend values acts of service. This would be a great way for you to come alongside them during a difficult time!
It all starts with knowing yourself and knowing your friend.
Here are some questions to ask about yourself:
- What are your strengths and talents?
- What is your personality?
- Where do you have experience?
And here are some questions to consider about your friend:
- What are they going through right now? Where do they need encouragement?
- What are their needs?
- What are their primary love languages?
- What is their personality?
“If your gift is to encourage others, be encouraging. If it is giving, give generously. If God has given you leadership ability, take the responsibility seriously. And if you have a gift for showing kindness to others, do it gladly.”Romans 12:8, NLT
Stretching Our Circles
But what if your circles don’t overlap? That’s were we are going to work on stretching our circles. Because ultimately, we might need to stretch ourselves to show our friends encouragement in a way that is meaningful for them.
For example, if I primarily write words of encouragement for others, but their primary love languages are acts of service and gifts, then I need to stretch myself and get out of my comfort zone a bit. I might need to do their grocery shopping for them or pick out a meaningful gift that speaks to their specific situation.
It’s a hard work, but so very important, to stretch and grow in our ability to come alongside others.
On This Encouragement Journey Together
Friends, will you join me on this journey of learning more about how we can encourage those who are hurting?
In future articles, we’re going to explore these different facets of who we are, and who our friends are, so that we can meet them in the overlap. We’ll look at
- personality types like MBTI and the Enneagram
- leadership styles like the DiSC and Strengths
- love languages
- how God has wired and gifted us to serve
- various practices of encouragement, like letter writing, visiting those who are sick, and sharing a meal
- special practices for coming alongside children who are hurting
But overall, we must remember that God has to be our foundation. We have to keep our relationship with Him at the center of all we do and bring Him into our interactions with others. And so we’ll also continue studying God’s Word together and learning from Him.
If you’re just getting started, go ahead and check out these articles:
- How to Tailor Your Response to a Hurting Friend
- Discerning the Level of Care You Can Provide to a Hurting Friend
- How to Create a Safe Place for Those Who are Hurting
And be sure to subscribe to our Weekly Dose of Encouragement using the box at the bottom of this page to receive a free download or two, as well as notices of new content here.
Let’s encourage one another!