“Those who refresh others will themselves be refreshed.” Proverbs 11:25, NIV
This is a proverb that I always try to live by. The principle behind it is golden: When we spend time encouraging and giving into the lives of others, we find fulfillment in our own lives.
While it is extremely easy to encourage those who you naturally adore, try exhorting those who are harder to get along with. Just last week, I was in a bit of a tiff with someone. I just had a heated discussion with her, but I felt God prodding me to do something nice for her. I went to Wally World, bought her a rose and wrote her a genuinely sweet card, telling her what a difference she makes.
The result? Not only did she feel encouraged (so much so that she left me a voicemail telling me that the kind act caused her to cry), but through that giving of myself, I felt enthused with joy to help me finish out the week.
It’s never a bad time to encourage someone. Here are 10 fresh suggestions of what you could do to refresh someone this week. Keep in mind that your encouragement should be something that would be fit for that person in particular, though, not for someone else.
10. Hang signs up around your home, workplace, dorm or wherever you see the individual, declaring how cool the person is. Or write the signs on dry-erase boards or windows using dry-erase markers. You can even use sidewalk chalk to write on a driveway or sidewalk.
9. Food especially helps when encouraging a man. Whip up anything from chocolate chip brownies to pork ‘n’ beans, depending on his taste bud preferences.
8. Go Post-It crazy. Use Post-Its to decorate the individual’s room, office or car. Write encouraging verses, quotes or fun phrases.
7. Make a CD with some of the individual’s favorite music. Wait—is that legal?
6. Create a frame using supplies from a craft store, and stick one of your favorite photos of you and the individual in it.
5. Instead of sending him/her an encouraging e-mail, go for snail mail. It’s very unexpected;,when was the last time you actually got a real letter (not junk mail) in your mailbox?
4. Have someone in a public place (restaurant, post office, gas station, etc.) make an announcement about how fantastic your friend/loved one is (if this wouldn’t cause too much embarrassment for anyone).
3. Flowers are great staple encouragers for most girls. Make sure you include an encouraging card, and if you really want to look cool, cut the bottoms of the stems off diagonally in order to prolong the lifetime of the flower.
2. Use your artistic gifts. Write a song, create an interpretive dance, put on a puppet show…all in honor of the one you’re refreshing.
1. Most importantly, just say it. If you have something encouraging to say, just tell him/her in your own special way. Don’t delay; as Proverbs 3:27 says, “Do not withhold good from those who deserve it, when it is in your power to act.”