Have you ever considered that being an encouragement to someone is a way you can live out your faith?
In December, I shared three episodes to help you live out your faith with clarity, courage, and consistency. In those episodes, I gave several ideas for living out your faith. This week as I’m recording this episode, I’ve been reminded that even the small things we do, like saying a word of encouragement to someone, are ways that we live out our faith.
Just yesterday, I saw a quote on my friend Kristin’s Facebook page that said something like ministry doesn’t have to be hard to be holy. I think we sometimes believe that we have to do something big, like serve in a leadership role at church, go on a mission trip, or work in ministry to live out our faith.
But that’s not the case at all. We live out our faith in day-to-day life through everything we think, say, and do.
Today I want to share three examples from my life that may inspire you to live out your faith by encouraging others. So, grab your favorite beverage and listen to the episode through the podcast player below.
I have been thinking about the power of encouragement this week. I had the opportunity to encourage a friend who had surgery a few weeks ago by partnering with other friends to bring her and her husband food for several breakfasts. It was a small thing, but judging from the thank you note she sent me, it made a huge impact on her life.
Reading her note reminded me of some ways I have either been encouraged or have recently encouraged someone.
1 Thessalonians 5:11 says, “Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing.” Paul is saying this regarding waiting for Christ’s return. We are still waiting for Christ’s return, so we should continue encouraging others while we wait.
Three Ways to Encourage Others
Three years ago, my friend Amy, a guest on the podcast a few times, reached out to me in an online group we were both a part of. I think I mentioned my mom was having knee replacement surgery. She reached out to let me know her mom had gone through the same thing and was willing to share her experience so I would know what to expect in caring for my mom.
We used the Marco Polo app to communicate and began to talk about other things. Even though we are in different stages of life, we have lots in common. So we’ve gotten to know each other really well these last three years. In fact, as I’m recording this, I’m getting ready to head out to meet her in Birmingham, Alabama, for the first time in real life. We’re making our own mini retreat to work on writing projects and other things.
Her kindness in reaching out to me to offer her advice in a shared experience was invaluable to me. This led to her encouraging me through all the difficult times I’ve had caring for my mom these last few years.
So the encouragement idea here is to notice what people say and offer your expertise, encouragement, and advice if you’ve gone through a similar experience. You never know how much you can help someone this way.
A second example of encouragement is similar to what I just mentioned, but this time it was me just asking what I thought was a simple question that ended up me being able to offer a listening ear to someone.
I ran into a lady at church in the women’s restroom during the week, and I asked how her mom was doing. I knew she had just gone to an assisted living facility, but I wasn’t sure if it was permanent or for rehab. Her mom thinks they are just trying it out, but her daughter, whom I was talking to, says it’s permanent. She had many questions for me because she knew my mom moved to assisted living last year.
We left that conversation with me offering to be a listening ear whenever she needed it. She felt grateful that she had a chance to vent all the emotions that come with a decision like this. Hopefully, she will take me up on the offer to talk more when she needs encouragement.
Don’t underestimate the power of a simple question to be able to offer encouragement to someone. You may not know exactly what they’re going through, but you can always offer to pray and check in with them to see how they are handling the situation.
The third example of encouragement I want to share is taking the time to remember your friends’ birthdays. And I don’t mean just acknowledging them on Facebook. While I love remembering and connecting with people on their birthdays because Facebook reminds me, there is something special about texting, calling, or sending a card to someone instead.
I’ve had a goal to send cards to my friends on their birthdays for years. But I’ve never made an action plan to follow through. So this year, I created an action plan that included making a list of friends’ birthdays, buying cards, and writing in my planner when I needed to mail the cards. So far, I’m 1 for 2. I bought cards for two of my friends who had birthdays this month. But I totally forgot to put one of the cards in the mail in time for my friend to receive it on her birthday.
At least I have a plan. You can carry this to sending cards of encouragement to people who you notice are going through a difficult time. Or even just to recognize how you see God at work in their life. There is something so powerful about sending a handwritten note.
If you think back through these three examples of how to encourage others, you’ll notice a common thread. And that it takes intentionality and being observant of what people say. Sure some people are naturally wired to notice and ask good questions. But we can all learn to be more intentional about offering encouragement.
So I encourage you to notice when people are going through a situation you have experienced, ask good questions, and send a note to someone, whether it’s for their birthday or some other reason to encourage them. We all can use a little encouragement from time to time. So let’s live out our faith by encouraging others.
You can encourage me to leave a review of this podcast on Apple podcasts. If you have learned anything of value or if I’ve encouraged or inspired you in some way, I’d love it if you would leave a 5-star review and tell others why you like this podcast. This helps the podcast be found by others trying to live out their faith.