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Have you noticed how the art of handwritten letter writing is increasingly fading? Our once, “hi how are ya”, or “thinking of you”, followed by a more lengthy note of encouragement, has been replaced with a quick text of “how r u ttm” (how are you, talk to me).
Our words of encouragement to others hold TONS of weight. To see it in writing that you are loved, appreciated, and supported is priceless. I strongly believe encouragement is universally lacking.
I have begun an intense study of the book of Philippians. I started by looking at Philippi, then Paul, the author. Paul wrote this letter while in prison in Rome. This, his most personal of all letters to a church, has a main directive to thank them for their love and support.
So basically the letter is a huge “thank you” note. Yet, he doesn’t stop there, he continues. Here’s a bit of encouragement, “I thank my God when I think of you … I have you in my heart …. stand fast…be of the same mind… rejoice in the Lord always… don’t be anxious … but by prayer… be thankful … let your request be made known…and the peace of God…shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus … think on these things …” And he wraps it up with “The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit…” THAT is some high five-ing, loving encouragement!
We need to pause for a brief moment to remember that Paul wrote this while in CHAINS in prison. He could have, in his humanity, turned the letter into a huge “whine.” He could have withheld the encouragement until the conditions were better. MANY excuses could have surfaced. He could have waited until he walked free in the streets, felt the warmth of rubbing shoulders with others, breathed in fresh air. But he didn’t. He spoke from his captivity. He had faith, he reached for his God, and shared that experience with others.
What an example to us all, that we not “WAIT.” Wait, until we have it all together. Wait until we think the conditions are just right. We should reach out to someone else EVEN in our own pain, our own struggle. Sure, some of us are thinking, “But he was PAUL, the guy had a direct blinding link to Jesus!” Yes, yes he did. But so do we. We have the same Lord, the same Spirit dwelling in us.
Our words, whether they be verbal, written, texted, tweeted, or posted should reach out. May we hug with our words. Remember a time when someone reached out to you? You felt the warmth, the love, the lift? The image of the old adage, “Measure twice and cut once,” comes to mind. May we seek the accuracy of the fit. The fit of our words.
Don’t wait … someone out there needs YOU. The hurting, the lonely, the confused. Embrace them. They need your words of encouragement. They can’t wait for you to get it all together. They need US, now!
How are you encouraging those in your life? Share with us in the comments below!
DeDe Southwick, is the mother of two wonderful sons and lives outside of Portland, Oregon. She has a degree in Theology, leads women’s bible studies, and has served on the leadership team of her local church. She loves studying God’s Word, gardening, and making her sons laugh. You can read her blog here.