How many times in our lives do we get busy or distracted and end up feeling a day late and a dollar short? How often do we get thrown off track when something doesn’t go as planned? Do we allow these things to completely discourage us? How do we keep going when things go wrong? By encouraging one another, and reminding ourselves it’s almost never too late or as bad as we think.
You may or may not be aware that September 12th is Encouragement Day and that Dayspring turns that into a week long (10th-15th) challenge called the Encouragement Dare. A challenge to step out of your comfort zone and encourage as many around you as you can in Christ. To help with this they post articles (my favorite here), post an encouragement kit (sign up here), and run great sales (Both a boxed card BOGO if you use the code SHAREJOY and a Encouragement BOGO Sale.
Why am I bringing this up when both the sale and the dare end tonight? To encourage those that, like me, get knocked back a bit by life from time to time.
I had grand plans to have a post up about the Encouragement Dare early this week. I was going to comment and encourage on lots of bloggers websites and really participate in this year’s Encouragement Dare. I allowed other things (like fixing a floor and visiting my mom, not feeling well, and a complete loss for what to say when I sat down to write this article Sunday) to get in my way. The longer I waited to write this, the worse I felt about myself until on the 13th (the day after Encouragement Day) the devil tried to tell me what’s the use, you might as well not try and forget about it until next year. But then the Lord brought one of my favorite verses to mind. “This is my command—be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” (Joshua 1:9 NLT). Joshua didn’t win through his own physical strength but through God’s might. So it was strength of mind and purpose that God was commanding Joshua to have.
We can have that same sort of strength to keep us going when things don’t go our way. We serve a wonderful God who tells us “I make all things new” (Rev 21:5 KJV). He promises to be with us and help us do anything worth doing. And encouraging others in Christ is always worth doing no matter what the date on the calendar.
Encouragement is occasionally a big grand gesture of some kind. More often though it’s small and quiet. It can be a quick note, a smile at just the right time, or a passage in a book that speaks directly to how someone is feeling. Sometimes you encourage through your words, sometimes with your actions, and sometimes your presence is all that’s required. You can spread encouragement in multiple little ways if you’re looking for the opportunities. And sometimes the most encouraging thing you can do is admit to your own flaws and discouraging moments and show people that with Jesus you can do better.
Things that look bad at first can be fixable. Want an example? I was doing my Bible art journaling a couple weeks ago when my husband asked me to come help him with something for a minute. When I returned to the kitchen table I had bright pink pawprints like these
on the three circled spots of this.
I hadn’t thought to cover my paints or move my book when I got up. With the page already 2/3 done, a deadline on the review of the book pending, and that horrible feeling you get when something important like a devotional or Bible might have been messed up I started to feel sick to my stomach. Thankfully I had been meditating on the Lord helping us to be our best selves while I had been painting and I managed to stay calm, pray for the Lord’s help, and undo most of the damage. (If something like this happens again I plan to take lots of pictures of before, during, and after and do a post about repairing accidents to help those prone to them like me).
If you don’t read this until September 16th, 2017 or later remember it’s too late to shop this Dayspring sale but it’s not too late for the more important things. It’s not too late to encourage others in Christ. It’s not too late to start doing better. It’s not too late to fix most things that have gone wrong.
How am I participating in the Encouragement Dare this year when I started late? I’m quieting the devil (and my own doubts) by posting this on the last day. I’m using that “too late” feeling as my theme instead of giving in to it. I’m reading every post I can find about encouraging others in Christ and figuring out what works for me. I’m giving myself my own challenge: to encourage others as often as opportunities present themselves at least as many times as I was hoping to do this week or more (I’ll probably even make a checklist). And when I’m done with that one I’ll start again because the negative voices in this world are getting very loud. It’s time the children of God step up and spread the hope we find in Jesus to quiet the negativity.
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Encouragement Dare graphic courtesy of Dayspring
Photography by hannah C brown