Encouraging

Anxiety in a man’s heart weighs it down, But a good (encouraging) word makes it glad.
Proverbs 12:25 AMP

Can we agree that some seasons of life are heavier than others? But how much lighter does it become when we have an encouraging word from someone!

During COVID, I lost my job of 9 years unexpectedly, and I have now been working at a new job for several months. I am very thankful to be able to support my family and to be able to use my skills, abilities, training, and experience as a part of a new team. Yesterday, I had someone who used to be a customer at the old job approach me in person and encourage me about the work that I did for them previously.

Admittedly, part of their complimenting me also included noting the many “problematic changes” their company had seen as a customer to my old company (related both to the acquisition and then COVID), but we didn’t dwell in that heaviness of what can happen when long standing organizations are carved up and sold off and a global pandemic hits. In fact, we focused mostly on talking fondly of the other good, hard working, trustworthy people who have either also lost their jobs or are still there.

As I drove the once a week commute home from my new office in a nearby city, I was thinking about how positive and encouraging this conversation had been. I realized that many others who miss the long gone great benefits, company picnic, employee appreciation, awesome bonuses, and supportive management and programs of the past may benefit from a word of encouragement this Thanksgiving week as well. It is too easy to get our self image and happiness wrapped up in our career, our status, our benefits, our compensation, or our perks in life — but the value of those wonderful friends hasn’t diminished even though we don’t talk and interact and help each other daily anymore. So I began reaching out to them individually to encourage them and to wish them a happy Thanksgiving — not because I’m a great person and thought of it on my own — but because someone started the avalanche by encouraging me first.

You, beloved, find your identity in Christ Jesus. And you are precious in His sight. So precious, that He looked past your shortcomings, your sin, your flaws, your weaknesses, because He knows your value and your purpose in His Kingdom Plan — and He went to the cross FOR YOU!

I hope this thought lifts the weight, casts away the heaviness this morning, beloved. If we have been encouraged in any way, let’s take that good, encouraging word out to so many around us who might be overwhelmed with the busyness of holiday preparations that have cast a veil over the true reasons that we celebrate these holidays.

Lord, help us to slow down and appreciate the good and encouraging words and the celebrations of the holidays in spirit and in truth — not just Rushing through the checklist. Help us top know how to help lift the load and to encourage others who might be overwhelmed. Remind us that encouragement comes through truly listening and truly helping even more powerfully than just speaking. Open our eyes to those opportunities to lend helping hands, and open our hearts to seize them ands not squander them. Help us to love, to lighten loads, and see a holiday season overwhelmed with hope, joy, love and the things of your Spirit, Lord. Help us to be part of the avalanche of a good and encouraging report, because have spied out and recognize what is so beautiful and valuable in the people around us. Amen.

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