At Love Does That, we’re all about encouragement. And we want to equip you reach out to those around you who are hurting or in need of care or support.
But what, exactly, does “encouragement” mean?
To encourage someone can mean several different things: to uplift, to instill courage, or to inspire into action. Let’s take a look at each of them and see what they look like.
Encourage = Uplift
Perhaps the primary way that encouragement manifests itself is when we try to lift someone’s spirits when they are down or having a hard time. We speak words of affirmation or truth. We seek to brighten someone’s day.
Can you think of a time when you were struggling, and a friend came to you, gave you a hug, and let you know how much they care about you? That you matter to them?
Or perhaps you were having a busy day at work and a coworker told you how much they appreciate you and the quality of work you produce. Maybe they even bring you a cup of your favorite coffee. Their words and actions make your load just a little bit lighter and spark some energy to keep going.
“The words of the godly encourage many…”Proverbs 10:21, NLT
As a business owner, I am encouraged and uplifted when a customer leaves a positive review or when others share our social media posts. As a mom, I am uplifted when I see my kids inviting others to play with them and sharing what they have.
Sometimes, just the presence of someone else beside us is enough to uplift and encourage us. We know that we’re not alone, and the company of a friend lifts our spirits. They might even make us laugh in the midst of it all.
Encourage = Instill Courage
In other cases, our encouraging words and actions instill courage in someone who is anxious or afraid.
Think of the person who is about to go through surgery. A parent or spouse might speak words reminding them of the things they’ve already faced and made it through, or read verses from the Bible that speak to God’s presence with them, thus bolstering their courage to face a hard situation.
Consider when you moved away from home for the first time. Were you a little nervous? Scared? When someone encourages us during a time like this, they often boost our confidence in our ability to be on our own. It’s similar to when my daughter goes to school for the first time each year. Some extra hugs and words to inspire confidence in her is exactly what she needs to head off to class.
Perhaps a friend squeezes our hand and says, “You can do this” or “You’ve got this.” Maybe a loved one leans close and whispers, “You are capable of doing amazing things. Don’t be afraid.” This encouragement helps us face the circumstance in front of us.
“So be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid and do not panic before them. For the Lord your God will personally go ahead of you. He will neither fail you nor abandon you.”Deuteronomy 31:6, NLT
I think of how Moses encouraged the Israelites as they were getting ready to enter the Promised Land. Moses reminded them–the people and Joshua, his successor–that God was there and was really the One leading the way, so there was no reason to be afraid or to panic.
Encourage = Inspire
Finally, the last type of encouragement is to inspire someone, or to spur them into action.
As a new business owner, I’ve been encouraged by others who are farther along down the path who can speak to the specific issues that I face and point me in the right direction. They also affirm the good they see and inspire me to take action, believing that God is leading me and guiding me every step of the way.
“Now go, for I am sending you to Pharaoh. You must lead my people Israel out of Egypt.”Exodus 3:10, NLT
Maybe a teacher, professor, or supervisor has encouraged you in this way. Or an author or podcast host has spoken words that inspired you to take action: to eat healthy food, to pursue a degree or training certification, or to volunteer in your community.
What would we do without this kind of encouragement? Without someone to spur me on, I know I, for one, can get stuck in decision paralysis or be afraid of doing what God is inviting me to do–whether it affects just me, my family, and/or my business. I need others to walk alongside me and inspire me into action.
We All Need Encouragement
While here at Love Does That, we focus on encouraging those who are going through a difficult time (i.e., grief, depression, loneliness, anxiety), we recognize that we ALL need encouragement from those around us. We also like to encourage others by celebrating with them during important moments and milestones.
Do you find yourself being drawn to a specific type of encouragement as described above? Or do you encourage in all three ways?
Can you think of someone in your life who needs some encouragement? What kind do they need? Take a moment to pray about it and ask God to show you. Then, go ahead and step out and encourage them today.
You can do this. 😉
Tired of feeling helpless when those around you are struggling? Get practical tips and advice on how to support others and show you care in our free 7-day Equipped to Encourage email course.