Hopefully you read my earlier post and are all fired up to try to be more encouraging. But maybe you don’t know where to start, or you’re like me and you really like to have some concrete examples. If so, this is the post for you. Here are some ways you can be more encouraging.
(Disclaimer #1: These things would be encouraging to me. They might not be to everyone and that’s ok. Use at your discretion)
(Disclaimer #2: I’m going to use some examples of ways others have encouraged me. Please don’t think that I’m telling you what they said to brag or try to toot my own horn. I’m not saying the compliments they gave were necessarily true :) but they were encouraging.)
- Utilize social media! I know many people preach on the evils of Facebook and other similar things, but if used properly they can definitely be a wonderful tool for encouragement. In fact, both of the scenarios I talked about earlier involved Facebook. A text, a call, a Facebook message…all very quick and can be so encouraging.
- Don’t overlook the old-fashioned letter. I don’t know about you, but getting a letter or package in the mail from someone is one of the best things ever! Just a quick note telling her you’re thinking of her can mean so much.
- Tell her when you think she has done a good job on something (taught a great ladies’ class you attended, organized a retreat, your kids adore her as a teacher). We had a ladies’ class back in the fall and one friend from church did something that I thought was really neat – after each class she posted a Facebook status that said something like “wonderful lesson on ____ by _____ tonight” and summarized the main topic of the lesson or wrote something she learned.” What a great way to encourage the teacher and show them that you were listening!
- Tell her you think she is doing a great job as a mother. I’m not a mom so I can’t attest to this first hand, but from what I hear from others, it is very encouraging when an older lady observes you with your kids and tells you that you’re doing a good job. In fact, it is very encouraging to me when the older ladies at church see me caring for other people’s kids and comment that I’m going to be a great mom someday so I’m sure that would be encouraging to a mother.
- Compliment her children. Again, I’m not a mom, but from my experience teaching, moms like to hear that their children are doing what they are supposed to be doing. We often focus on talking about what kids do wrong and forget to mention what they are doing right. I try to make a point when one of the younger girls helps me out teaching a class to go brag on her to her mom afterward. I think that encourages both of them.
- Pray for her. Tell her you’re praying for her. If she asks you for prayers, go ahead and pray right then and there with her and for her, rather than just saying that you’ll pray later (but of course, continue to pray later, too).
- Ask her to do something that you think she’d be good at. Many people won’t just up and volunteer, but are flattered and happy to help if someone asks them too. I would have never volunteered to teach a ladies’ class at church, but when someone asked me that made me feel like they wouldn’t have asked if they thought I wouldn’t do a good job and that made me more confident and willing to say yes.
- Tell her that you look up to her; that she’s an example for you. There are several women in my life that I look to as examples of good wives and mothers, and I don’t tell them often enough (or maybe ever at all!) how much I admire them.
- Ask her how things are going, especially if she’s dealing with something tough. It meant the world to me when my friends at church, who had never even met my grandfather, made a point to periodically ask me how he was doing after he broke his hip several years ago. Or to send me a text and ask how I’m doing and tell me they’d been thinking of me when I and my family were going through a hard time. It means so much to know people are thinking about you.
One last thing, I hope you realize that I’m not saying that we should expect praise for everything we do, or that our main focus should be getting noticed for our accomplishments. No, the purpose of this list is to encourage you to reach out to the other Christian women around you and encourage them in their walk. Life is hard and we can get beaten down but we can help out by lifting each other up.
Now your turn – what are some things people have done that were encouraging to you? What would you add to this list?