Friday, December 4, 2020

The Art of Encouragement

So now, we circle back to where we began: to the encouragers. I wasn't planning on having the sort of revelations about my own necessity that I had this week, but it worked out quite well in terms of rounding out this discussion a bit. 

Some among us are just natural encouragers. They think about others all the time. Random persons they love just pop into their heads. They can hear the cashier at the grocery store talk about something and know just what to say. Encouragement just seems to roll off their tongues...and through their hands. Their hearts are just wired for this and because of that, their lives are filled with it. 

Some of us...have to work a lot harder at it. It doesn't come naturally for us. The things that occur to encouragers a thousand times a day might never occur to us at all. Sometimes, we'll think that we want to do something, but we won't know what to do. So we end up doing nothing, which only discourages us more from trying to encourage. We're just no good at it. 

But I think we're better at it than we think we are. We have more potential than we think we do. 

Encouragement can seem tough, but it's really just awareness. It's figuring out the splashes of color that the threads of others weave into your story and thanking them for it. It's recognizing the way they catch the light and reflect it back to you and letting them know that. It's being mindful of the ways that others are tied into you and make you stronger and just taking a moment to say something about that. And it's choosing others for all the beautiful things that they are and telling them that you're choosing them. 

And, I should add, when someone is having a moment like I had this week, when they are feeling their own fragility and wondering what it is that they bring to the world, the greatest encouragement possible is the encouragement of simply reminding them that you choose them, that you want them in your life, that your life is better because of them, that your life is more beautiful because of them, that your life is stronger because of them. 

And we're better at recognizing this sort of stuff than we think we are. Really. Christmas is the perfect example of that. 

This time of year, we're all out trying to figure out what to gift to those that we love. We want to make this season special for them and really demonstrate our love and care for them. Somehow, we can walk through a store eleven months out of the year and not notice a lot of things. Just walk right past them without a second thought...or even a first thought. But this month, it's like our eyes are just open wider. We see everything. Something catches the corner of our eye. And we turn, and we think, instinctively, "Oh, so-and-so would love that" or "That's perfect for you-know-who." And it is. 

Wanna know a secret? That's the foundation of encouragement. That's it, right there. Encouragement starts with having others so much on the forefront of your mind that the world is full of little reminders of them. After that, it's just a matter of following through and telling them that you're thinking of them. That's it. 

We can do that. Can't we?

Find someone today to encourage. Tell them how you've noticed their colors in your tapestry. Tell them you feel the strength of their thread woven into your story. Tell them the way the light bounced off their life and caught your eye. Thank them for being here. It's that easy. 

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