We’ve all been there: you’re feeling down, going through the motions, maybe frustrated with what’s going on around you, and someone says, “You’re doing such a good job. You’re an excellent wife” or “You just look so beautiful today, I’m so proud of you for pressing hard after the things of God”. And for a moment, that encouragement gave you the strength to keep going when you didn’t really feel like it.
Encouraging words are so powerful.
We have all been the recipient of those sweet words at least somewhere in our lives and it has made a difference. You have the opportunity every single day to be an encourager! It comes naturally to some people and not so naturally to others, but I believe everyone, especially us ladies, can learn to recognize when someone needs a kind word. When you learn to do this and do this often, you will reap what you sow. I cannot tell you how many times I felt down in the dumps but encouraged someone anyways, and not too long after, someone blessed me with just what I needed to hear. Being an encourager makes people want to be around you; it sweetens your friendships and strengthens your team. Here are 7 ideas (but the sky is the limit) on how to encourage someone.
A Small Note
I still have little notes from different people tucked into my Bible that have meant a lot to me at different seasons in my life. If you have a friend whose love language is words of affirmation, one of the BEST gifts you can give them is an encouraging note or letter. This can be a receipt stuck in their windshield wiper, a card given to them, a Post-It placed on their refrigerator--they will love it no matter where they find it. Include things that you admire or appreciate about them, recognize what they’re gifted at and where God has called them. If they are a wife, mother, student, employee, encourage them in their role.
A "Thinking of You" Gift
These are so sweet. Often, the best ones are the small ones. My husband and I visited the JFK museum in Dallas last month (he knows how much I love history museums). A couple nights ago he brought home a half dollar he found while counting change at work that had JFK’s portrait on it. “Just something to remind you of our trip, I thought you might like it”. I did, mostly because I knew he was thinking of me. The gift doesn’t have to be elaborate - a mug that reminds you of them or a few dollars that you CashApp them on Monday because it’s finals week and they’ll need some coffee; it could be anything!
Recognize What They Do Well
Everybody likes to be appreciated and recognized. When someone may be struggling with their identity in God or as a wife/mom, encouraging them when you see something good they’re doing can go a long ways. “Your daughter was so polite and friendly; you’ve instilled a lot of good confidence in her.” Compliment the dessert they made that was so yummy and brag on them to others. Make people feel like a million bucks and they’ll feel like they can grow. Stifle, discourage, and speak down to them and they’ll feel defeated before they even begin. This is key to building a healthy marriage, family, team, and church.
Talk About Their Future with Faith
When you talk about where people are headed with faith and expectancy, this gives them a new perspective while they’re in the middle of the hard WORK. Talking about how exciting it’s going to be when they graduate and God opens doors for the perfect job or how their future husband is going to love their baked potatoes– I’m serious. It sounds so trivial but when you’re in the middle of the hard stuff, the season that doesn’t make sense yet, an encouraging word about where you’re headed gives you strength to keep doing the work.
A Hug Goes A Long Way
Not much to say about this one, a hug is just good therapy plain and simple.
Something Tailored to Where They're At
You can always figure out a way to bless someone where they’re at: she’s a busy mom? Watch those babies and let her have a date night. Go over and help her fold laundry or send them a meal kit. If she’s a college student, bring her coffee or invite her over for a home cooked meal. Something specific to their vocation or season of life rarely goes wrong. And, you can always ask! “Is there anything I could do for you this week, anything you need? I know you’ve got a lot going on.”
Take Them Out and Let Them Unwind
Meet up for coffee or lunch just to talk it out. Sometimes the best way to lift up your spirit is laughing over a lunch table until you can barely breathe. Find a way to slow down and hear them. This will make it clear to your friend(s) that they are valuable to you!