1 Thessalonians 5:11
Therefore encourage one another and build up each other, as indeed you are doing.
In my introduction to “Living Lent Lightly,” I mentioned that I become distracted and discouraged in my Lenten disciplines each year. Yesterday was the day that the distraction and discouragement set in. I usually LOVE praying, contemplating, thinking and then writing! But yesterday these seemed burdensome to me. I wondered if I had over-committed myself with my plan to write devotions for the 40 days of Lent. Insecurity crept in, too, as I questioned my ability. No inspiration was forthcoming. I finally decided walk away for a while.
When I returned, I found a treasure. Some very thoughtful and gracious readers had written comments on my previous blog, thanking me for blessing them with my writing. This was just the encouragement I needed to begin anew. The writing flowed easily after that… and this is the reason that “encouragement” is our Lenten practice for today.
Encouragement is offering reassurance, inspiration or help to someone. We encourage others when we lift their spirits, affirm them, or inspire them to persevere. And encouragement is a gift that we don’t always know we are giving! Our words may be intended for another good purpose, but God’s timing turns them into the additional gift of encouragement. Words of gratitude became encouragement for me. A compliment may encourage another. Noticing something others have done may affirm or clarify their purpose. And often we don’t even know when someone needs encouragement!
Today, pay attention to the “nudges” that invite you to speak gracious words, to thank someone, to notice what someone has done, or to brighten someone’s day. We never know when God will turn our words into so much more- the gift of much-needed encouragement!
Our reminder for today will be a key. May it remind us to open ourselves to God’s timing, and ask God to help our words of encouragement unlock someone’s inner hopes and dreams.
Help me to be a source of encouragement for someone today. Make me attentive to those around me. Give me words to say that uplift, reassure, and help. Guide me into your perfect timing, so that my words may do so much more than my limited intent. Amen.