Have you ever shared your closest dreams with someone only to be met with a list of “practical” reasons why you shouldn’t pursue them? It leaves you deflated to say the least. Defeated before you even begin.
What would you really have loved to hear?
I know I would love someone to say, “That’s a great idea, you’d be perfect for that. I know you can do it. Let me know if there’s anything I can do to help. I’ll be praying for you.”
How great would that be?
If that’s the kind of encouragement you’d like to receive, then you can be sure that others feel the same way.
“Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”
Or as the Bible puts it…
"In everything, therefore, treat people the same way you want them to treat you…” Matthew 7:12
5 Ways to be an Encourager
1. Encourage by Example – People who pursue their own dreams, take risks and dare to reach for their full potential are a natural encouragement to others without even saying a word.
2. Listen, Really Listen – People don’t want to hear cowboy up, move on or get over it. They want someone to listen really listen. Look them in the eye, listen to what they’re actually saying. Hear their heart as much as their words. Avoid throwing clichés out there. That’s just a sign that you aren’t really listening.
3. Acknowledge Fear & Doubt – but don’t camp out there. We all experience thoughts that tell us we shouldn’t take risks, shouldn’t reach for the brass ring, shouldn’t dare to step out of the box. (Now, there’s a mouthful of clichés!). We all hear voices that taunt. You’ll never make it. You may as well not try. Acknowledge that we all experience this, but don’t dwell on it. Instead tell yourself the truth. You’ll never know until you try. Even a failure can be a stepping stone to achieve your dreams. As a believer, you can do all things through Christ, who gives you strength. (Philippians 4:13)
4. Remember, it’s Not about You – What’s best or right for you may not be what’s best or right-or God’s will for someone else. So, when someone shares a dream or goal, don’t think about it in terms of how you would feel it about it. It’s their calling not yours, encourage them to seek God for wisdom and guidance and offer your support.
5. Encourage Them to Begin – Your friend may not have all the skills they need to accomplish their goals up front, but they can begin with what they have and learn as they go.
So, reach for your dreams and encourage others in theirs…or to quote the Bible again (because what better source of encouragement is there?)
“Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.” (Ephesians 4:29)