It wasn’t a great preaching, nor a great speech. It was a simple gesture of kindness that connected with the deepest part of me. A simple sentence written on a simple card as a simple encouragement. But its echoes were endless as it resonated through my soul. “So many people will rejoice in heaven because you gave them the truth.” My team leader scribbled down those words on a mission trip to the south of France. Reading those words confirmed what was a latent calling in me and influenced the direction of my life. I was to dedicate my life to giving the truth of the gospel to others.
The previous experience taught me first hand the following truth:
Encouragement is one of the most powerful and transformative practices given to leaders.
Why is Encouragement so Powerful?
Let’s be real. Unless you are a superhuman immune to other people’s perception, what others say dramatically shapes your self-perception. We can all point out both positive experiences of encouragement and negative ones of hurting words and measure their impact on our lives.
At the core, encouragement is about seeing and speaking out. You see a positive characteristic in a person, and speak out positive words about what you see. The words reinforce or bring to life a God-given quality, calling or gift. This in turn positively affects their self-perception and their expectations of themselves, leading to a positive change in behavior.
Encouragement is powerful because it brings forth God-given identity in others.
As such, I would suggest that encouragement is a close sister of prophecy. I might even venture to say that “encouragement is prophecy in its simplest form.”
But another effect of encouragement is one less explored: encouragement is also transformational for the one giving it. It’s an expression of generosity, kindness and servanthood. The more you encourage, the more you affirm that you are not living for yourself. Your focus is on others, you see them, speak out positive words and want to serve them. In other words, the more you genuinely encourage, the more your heart is shaped to Christlikeness.
Encouragement is powerful because it brings forth God-given identity in you.
How to get started
- Be creative. I am usually more comfortable with writing encouragements than saying them.
- Start with the people closest to you, your family, your spouse, your friends.
- Pray/Think about someone who might really need encouragement right now, and send them a short word.
- Don’t make things complicated. Sometimes a simple word of encouragement/kindness can make someone’s day!
Do you have any experience/story to share about encouragement? Join the conversation and leave a comment[ecko_quote source=”Mother Theresa”]Kind words can be short and easy to speak but their echoes are truly endless. [/ecko_quote]