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Have We Grown Cold to Encouragement?

Yesterday was National Encouragement Day, and although, here at Inspire To Hope, every day is an opportunity to encourage, in my observation, the day seemed to lack participation and meaning, at least in the social media world. This event also lands on the same week as Suicide Prevention Week. And once again, only some seem to care about the efforts for awareness or offering hope and support to those experiencing a mental health crisis.

Have We Grown Cold to Encouragement?

I want to share this with anticipation that hope will rekindle and spread like a fire in our hearts. The challenges of life do not have to win. Yes, you feel what you feel, and it may be painful. The past three to four years may have been daunting. However, we can learn to stir up again the joy, peace, and perseverance to desire to keep going. We can genuinely care for and want to see others succeed. All while allowing ourselves to be a conduit of hope in our families, workplaces, and communities.

How can this be possible?

Keep a child-like faith.

For those who believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, our hope is not in ourselves or others but in Him. The Author and Finisher of our faith (Hebrews 12:2). When we KNOW that we have a Heavenly and Holy Advocate, we can keep our zeal like that of a child awaiting something special because every good and perfect gift comes from God (James 1:17).

Stay in a position of prayer.

Prayer is the connection line that only closes if we close it—still trying to decide what to pray? Though there is no set formula for praying, finding scriptures that speak to you and uplift your spirit during a particular situation may be helpful. Throughout your day, communicate with God and seek His wisdom and guidance on the big and little things. There is nothing more encouraging than being assured in our relationship with God. We are not alone because the Spirit of the Living God dwells in us. He is the Helper of all help. He is the Counselor of all counsel. He is the Healer, Comforter, Protector, and Provider we can rely on.

"We can genuinely care for and want to see others succeed. All while allowing ourselves to be a conduit of hope in our families, workplaces, and communities. " – Equalla Foster

Look beyond yourself for encouragement.

Now that we have put some measures into place to keep ourselves encouraged, it's time to spread the love. Encouragement can look like telling your spouse how much you appreciate all they do—or putting a sticky note with a kind word on your co-worker's computer. How about bringing a dessert to your team of volunteers at church? These are a few examples of encouraging others and blazing the flames of affirmation, motivation, and appreciation.

"The pessimist complains about the wind. The optimist expects it to change. The leader adjusts the sails."

John C. Maxwell

Leaders make the adjustments necessary to continue to sail through life's adversities. When this occurs, those they lead follow their example. This is not about false hope or hyper-positivity but understanding how to be present and navigating through all that may come with that while not permitting yourself or anyone else to strip you of a mindset that focuses on compassion, gratitude, lending strength to others in need, and not shunning optimistic perspectives. Surround yourself with inspiration and willingly cultivate an environment for others to be inspired.

"Average leaders raise the bar on themselves; good leaders raise the bar for others; great leaders inspire others to raise their own bar." —Orrin Woodward

Whether we are the givers or recipients, encouragement is never about manipulation or ego-boosting. Instead, it promotes kindness and mental fortitude. It is not creating dependency but empowering a level of self-resilience. Though we need Christ, we also need community and confidence. These three C's can help us not to highlight the pain and suffering but to focus on the lessons and growth to gain.

Encouragement is not a trend but a way of shining a light in a dark world.

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