The Urgency of Encouragement

We think of encouragement as a “nice to have” thing to lift us up on the bad days and supercharge our good days. What if it is not a “nice to have” but a truly necessary thing that we need? What if we are challenged in scripture to give encouragement daily?

“But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called “Today,” so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness.” Hebrews 3:13 (NIV)

When the bible repeats, “daily” and then again “Today,” we need to take special note. It means the writer is putting an exclamation mark behind the statement just made. It’s a note of urgency. There is a good reason for that. Do you see it? So that we won’t be overwhelmed by the hardness of this world. Have you experienced a word of encouragement that pulled you out from under it all? That’s the urgency and importance of encouragement the bible is talking about.

I’ve been a little overwhelmed this week. Not sure if I could keep it all together. It wasn’t just work, but life and relationships. Often it comes at us from multiple directions. It was a fight to keep afloat. And, truthfully, I am still not sure if I’m above water. The tears are still just living right below the surface. But, in the middle of it all a friend sent me this text. 

“Your beautiful strength is so inspiring, though I imagine it’s not how you feel at this moment. In spite of all you’re experiencing right now, you are an amazing and beautiful person. The tears of overwhelm don’t change that!”

Can you hear that?

Words that change everything without really changing a single thing. 

That is the power and urgency of encouragement. So that the crazy circumstances of the world do not take over our heart. This is our daily responsibility to one-another . . . to do this while the day is still called “Today.” So, let’s start now.

Encouragement is more than a compliment. It’s also an affirmation.

A quick dictionary search and we learn that a compliment is an expression of praise, commendation, or admiration. But to affirm is to express agreement with or commitment to; to state or assert positively; maintain as true. When we affirm, we are willing to put a  stake in the ground that we are saying about this other person is true.

Specific affirmations communicate that we believe in the other person. Where are you willing to assert truth about another person and speak it out freely? Make it specific and unique to that person. Say it frequently. Once is not enough. Even if they KNOW, sometimes the boost they need to keep going is to HEAR it again. 

Encouragement is more than being a cheerleader. It also provides perspective.

We all need people in our corner cheering us on. But even in scripture, encouragement was coupled with warnings in the same context. The pairing of encouragement and wise counsel is powerful at helping us stay on track. We earn the right to offer counsel when we have affirmed, praised and offered our full support for the other person. 

Encouragement is more than a good feeling. It also embodies hope. 

A shot in the arm is sometimes all we need to keep going. Sometimes we need more. We need the story of how God did it before and how he will do it again. It builds our faith and gives us hope. Sometimes we do need the scripture that anchors our hope into the reason why we started doing what we do. 

Now is the time, today is the day!

  1. Be on the lookout today for someone who you can encourage — don’t just look for the person having a bad day, look for someone having a good day, too. Encouragement can lift us up OR keep us going. We need both.
  2. Share your encouragement … whether it is a kind word, an affirmation of who they are and what they do, or a story of something good they have done or impact they have had. 
  3. Tune into our latest podcast episode on Side by Side Podcast on How to Encourage Others.

Let’s make encouragement a priority. Encourage each other TODAY and every future TODAY. What is a story of encouragement that has kept you on track, given you hope and affirmed God’s call on your life? Share in the comments. Or send me an email. I would love to hear from you!

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Annie Perdue Olson

Annie is founder of Leading Better Together, guiding leaders through the relationship and people challenges that sidetrack ministry. With 20+ years of experience in nonprofit management and pastoral ministry she equips people and teams to work better together. She holds a Master of Arts in Human Resources and Change Leadership from St. Thomas University and received her coaching certification from the Center for Coaching Excellence.

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