If I were to say, “Tell me the first word that comes to mind when I say Facebook,” what would your response be? I’d be willing to bet that among the top 5 answers would be discouraging, negative, or hurtful. It would seem that as a people we have allowed the internet’s provision of anonymity to bring out the worst in us. Even though Facebook is not “anonymous” we are still able to hide behind a computer screen bashing the beliefs and musings of others. We have gotten really good at taking shots at those around us while never having to look them in the eye or stand behind what we say. But, there is another way.
I wrote my daughter’s teacher an email yesterday to encourage and speak into her life. Now, this email was legitimately kind and encouraging. It did not include any words like, “but,” “If I were you,” or “Bless your heart.” But that’s a topic for another day. In a later conversation with my wife, I made the comment that I thought this teacher was probably one of the people I encourage most often. I got a strange look from her and I realized, I have gotten pretty good at encouraging a few people in my life and unfortunately, my wife does not always top that list. So in an effort to get to the point, I am looking to change that. I don’t want to be a guy who has a few people in my life that feel encouraged by me. I want everyone I know to feel encouraged and uplifted because I am part of there life.
A few years ago a friend and mentor, Lori, called out this area of my life. She issued a challenge to me that I want to issue to myself and all of you today. She challenged me to encourage one person every day for a month. That’s it. Send a kind word, a thank you, a prayer, anything you want. Just add value to someone’s life every day. I’ll tell you truthfully, it was hard at first. I was that guy that said, “I just don’t encourage that often so that when I do it’s really impactful.” That exact sentence was then added to Webster’s dictionary as the example of “cop out.”
What if all of us decided that we were going to make it our personal mission to be an encourager every day? I think our relationships would change, our Facebook feed would change, our world could change. It takes 21 days to build a habit. Let’s be a community of habitual encouragers. Let’s be so encouraging that it makes the world a little uncomfortable. Then, let’s continue until it makes the world want we have, life-giving relationships based out of our love for each other.
Who are you going to encourage today? Do it right now. Don’t wait long enough to forget about it.
Want a good example of what encouragement looks like? Go check out Lori’s blog at http://www.thecherishedheart.com. She has a recent post called, “Please, shut up.” What’s more encouraging than that. (Seriously, it’s good.)