What is Encouragement?
How does it look?
Who does it?
How can you get it?
Is it safe to say that in this hopeless, perverse world that encouraging others has become a lost art…especially amongst women and young girls? I mean who really has time to encourage someone else when it does not benefit them in any way. Or, some may be thinking… “How can I find the words to encourage some else, when I have my own problems?” Have we as women, become so self-consumed with our problems, struggles, image, or success… that we now use the words that come to mind that can bring joy and hope to some else to encourage ourselves?
These are questions I sometime find myself pondering, when I feel discouraged or down about something going on in my life. I often wonder…where is that sister in Christ that I can share everything with and she will not judge me or cause me to feel condemned. Or, I wish I had a best friend to be a hundred percent honest with, so that I can let these thoughts off my mind and get the feedback I need to move forward.
LOL… and I know I am not alone!
Unfortunately, again this is more of a problem amongst women and young girls than it is an issue for men and young boys. I sit back and watch the interaction that my husbands have with his friends and accountability partners. If he or any of his brothers in Christ are struggling with issues of lust, insecurities, feelings of rejection from their wife or the woman they are courting, or the pressure they feel to be a good husband and father…it appears to be easier for them to set a date, meet, lay it on the table, get in the word, and pray for one another, and go back home feeling like a 100 bucks!!!
Genius …Who would have guessed!
However, when I speak with different women, I can read it in their faces. As a collective whole, we want to hear that someone understands us and really cares, and that we are not alone. We really want accountability but there are so many things that hold us back, like:
So what can we do in 2013 to move forward and do better?
First we must understand what encouragement is. According to Dictionary.com there are three definitions:
- To inspire with courage, spirit, or confidence
- To stimulate by assistance, or approval
- To promote, advance, or foster
Now ask yourself, how can I start to do these things with the friends and women I have in my life?
Second, we must understand what true encouragement looks like. We can find this example in the word of God. The passage that comes to mind is 1 Corinthians 13:1-13
The Way of Love
If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned,but have not love, I gain nothing.
Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
Love never ends. As for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when the perfect comes, the partial will pass away. When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways. For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known.
So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.
Love…who would have guessed, that love is the driving force behind reaching out to others and putting them before ourselves.
Next, we should understand that as a believer we are called to encourage one another…
“Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing.”
-1 Thessalonians 5:11
Last, we should seek encouragement from the body! As difficult as it may be, we can not say that there are not any sisters in the body in which we can confined in and receive that encouragement if we do not seek it. Some tips I would offer to help you find a good accountability partner or just someone you can open up to is:
- Invite another sister out for lunch or even for a cup of coffee that you have noticed really strive to live out biblical womanhood.
- Attend a women’s bible study ( we invite you to attend BOM Women’s Bible study if you are ever in the Chicago area)
- Start your own women’s bible study with women or girls already in your life, to foster closer relationships. (If you would like some tips on how to start up your own bible study please feel free to contact me! I would love to help)
Thanks for reading! It is truly my prayer that this article has encouraged or inspired you. I pray that 2013 is a great year for you and your families.