Verbal Sunshine? Philippians 1.3-8
Encouragement is like verbal sunshine. It costs nothing ... it warms hearts and enriches lives. Truth is, encouragement is a gift to the soul.
In the middle of the word is courage, which is built from the root word 'cor', meaning heart. To live with courage is to live fully from one's heart; indeed, it is more than bravery! To encourage is to "give support, confidence, or hope to (someone);" I like to think of it as sort of giving a little piece of my heart to another.
Sometimes an encourager is a guide along our path, someone who will say 'you can do it... I know you can! Here, go this way... I will help you.' Notice the role of the guides leading courageous blind Erik Weihenmayer climbing Mt. Everest in this great short video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AE1ZdO7ppLo
If you think about it, encouragement usually comes in relationship, in connectivity. It would not be too big of a stretch to say that 'to encourage someone just might save his life'! (I certainly saw this working with people who lived on the mean streets of Long Beach.) To encourage a young man may set his course; to encourage a young woman may change her course and help her believe SHE CAN. Just sayin', isn't that what Jesus did for us?
The apostle Paul was a great encourager, praying for those he loved so much-such as the Philippians, with whom he established a church some 12 years earlier. Picturing their faces he wrote, 'I thank my God every time I remember you. In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel...it is right for me to feel this way about all of you, since I have you in my heart. . .' Ah, love.
The greatest encouragement I know to give is what I have gained from Jesus. Words of love, not judgment or criticism~
The tongue has the power of life and death. Proverbs 18.21 Words that breathe kindness~ Gracious words are like honeycomb, sweetness to the soul and health to the body. Proverbs 16.24
Words that point to the Peace-Giver. John 14.27
"Peace I leave with you, my peace I give to you..." Jesus.
It was many years ago when I read about the "five love languages" - ways that people communicate love, from an emotional standpoint. Words of affirmation top the list of the love languages.* Turns out, encouragement is so important in conveying love for others!
Segue ~ Recently, I have been enjoying an essential oil diffuser that my friend gave me, trying out eucalyptus and lavender and peppermint. But I got to thinking the other day,
What if there was an essential oil called Encouragement??
Just think, its aroma would fill a room with good feelings, right?
How about if you and I determine to be that oil of encouragement today? Let's be the person who looks for the good, looks for things to affirm-a kind word, a note that says 'I'm thinking of you', a text message that says, 'I'm with you...I know this is a hard time, but I'm praying for you. You're not alone!'
Let's spread some verbal sunshine, what d'ya say?
*The Five Love Languages originated with Dr. Gary Chapman.