There’s no doubt that words can be such an encouragement and inspiration to those going through difficult times.
- Have you ever saved a quote image from Facebook or Instagram?
- Have you ever read the biography of someone whose story inspired you to live more intentionally?
- Have you ever received a thoughtfully written note during a time of heartache?
I don’t know about you, but I’m constantly saving quotes on my computer or phone that really speak to me. I also have what I call my “word-hug file,” a compilation of kind words others have shared with me. On hard days, I can pull it out and be encouraged.
Whether you consider yourself a writer or not, your words can build others up. In fact, Paul challenges us to make sure that everything we say is helpful to others, building them up instead of tearing them down. I believe this includes written communication, too.
Let everything you say be good and helpful, so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them.Ephesians 4:29
But how do you share it? What do you say? And how can you intentionally incorporate words of encouragement into your life?
Ways to Share Written Words
I can identify at least three different forms of communication that can serve as a venue for us to share with others:
- Personal communication is often private, from one individual to another. It can take the form of a text, email, card, or handwritten note.
- Group communication takes place within a small, often private community. Think of a private Facebook group or a small group at church where maybe you message everyone in the group together.
- Public communication is from one person to many. It can involve a blog, a book, or a public Facebook page.
Which form of communication you use will be determined by the situation and who you are speaking to.
Obviously, if a close friend is going through a tough time, you wouldn’t share about it in a public forum. (Please don’t do that. Not unless you have their permission.) Instead, you would reach out to them in a personal, more private way.
However, if God has given you a message to share with the world, then you either find that specific audience through small groups or you post it publicly so that others can find it. For example, if you have a passion to encourage single moms, you can start a blog directed toward them, join Facebook groups for single moms, or write a book for them.
Kind words are like honey— sweet to the soul and healthy for the body.Proverbs 16:24
But What Do I Write to Encourage Them?
If you’ve ever stared at a blank note card trying to figure out what to write, you aren’t alone. It truly does take a sense of discernment–knowing and trusting what God leads you to say. Take time to ask Him what words to share.
Here are some examples:
- Point out how their behavior has inspired you. Perhaps they’ve been positive throughout their chronic illness. Let them know you noticed and thank them for it.
- Pass along a timely Bible verse. If God has laid a specific Scripture on your heart to share with a hurting friend, you can text it to them or write it in a card.
- Share your testimony or story. By writing out a specific story of how God has worked in your life or how you grew through a tough time, you can let others know they aren’t alone and inspire them to keep their eyes on God.
- Remind them of the truth. Sometimes when we are depressed or stuck, we lose sight of reality. By speaking the truth in love, you can spur them to hold onto hope. But make sure the relationship is there, first. The relationship provides a safe place for you to remind them of the truth they might desperately need to hear.
Practicing Words of Encouragement
Though your specific encouragement will be based on the things your friends are going through, there are a few practices you can put into place to intentionally share encouraging words with others.
- Send a handwritten note to someone each week.
- Make it a practice to share encouraging Bible verses or quotes on Facebook when you find one that resonates with you.
- Keep a prayer journal or memory journal for your children. Every week or every month, take a few minutes to record a prayer or memory for them.
I recently heard of a journal where grandparents or parents can record information about themselves and their lives, and then they pass these books on to their children not only to learn more about them but also to keep those memories in the family. How cool!
Putting It All Together
So first, pick your form of communication based on who you are trying to encourage: personal, group, or public. Then, figure out the main message you want to send. What does God want you to say?
And if you truly have no words but want to let someone know you care, you can simply write, “I don’t know what to say. I just wanted to let you know I’m here.” It’s a simple message with a big impact.
How can you use your (written) words to encourage those around you this week?