If I had courage to encourage

Therefore encourage one another and build up one another. 1 Thess. 5:11

What do you do when a nervous girl just learns that her father has been in a car wreck? How do you respond when a complete stranger is crying her heart out at the back of a conference room? Or when an elderly lady wearily sighs and admits she never thought she'd be in a nursing home?

How do I respond? I run into a corner and cower. All those encouraging speeches leave my brain and I'm left stripped of everthing but a sympathetic smile. So long, I'll be going now.

I can easily count off ten situations were I left some poor person to sob to themselves while I worried about what they'd think about me. I'd probably mess up. I'd say something dumb or offensive. They'll think I'm a snoop and probably want to be left alone. The risk is too great.

Talking to people - it's hard enough. I've had people tell me their problems, and all I can do is stare down at my shoes, fiercely scowl in thought and murmur something in reply.

Oh, if I had the courage to encourage, to forget about myself and give that poor person a hug and a beautiful speech that would cause worries to float away instantly.

Your thoughts? How do you encourage - or do you need encouragement to encourage?

- Bethany

photo via pinterest


  1. Bethany,

    You are an amazing encourager...you lift me up so much. You do have the courage to encourage...you don't always encourage with words, but you do always with hugs and heartwarming looks.Love you.

  2. I agree with Sarah. You're already leading the pack of encouragers.

    I think what's so ticklishly frustrating about encouragement is that there's no one right way to do it. No one textbook case scenario. No one personality for every single person in the world.

    I remember praying with one young lady and that greatly encouraged her, while another girl didn't seem interested in being prayed for at all. Sometimes all someone needs is a shoulder to cry on. Others want to talk their hearts out. Some people want to be alone. Some need a big hug. Some people are seriously upset...some are just trying to get attention.

    And some people will get angry with you, or you will say the wrong thing. But I think the key to encouragement is forgetting about yourself completely. It's no longer about you or what someone would think about you. If they get mad at you, it could be they're bitter and refusing to accept love...and it's their fault, not yours.

    If only encouragement were a science. But it's not. So we depend on Christ and ask for Him to work through our faulty "encouragement." He does.

  3. Aww, Bethany. I think your HUGS are so sweet that they seem to affirm your sympathy and say how much you care, and you have encouraged me with your WORDS a time or two.

    For me, I'd probably pray about it and ask the Lord what I should do. He knows what the best thing to say or do is, even when I don't.



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Maira Gall