Some Thoughts on Encouragement

I’ve been going through every closet, every drawer, and every surface as part of my pre-moving preparation. I’ve been purging, cleaning, and making trips to the Goodwill donation center. I’ve also been finding little treasures around the house that I had forgotten about. One of my favorite nooks to go through each time we move is our hope chest. The hope chest contains all sorts of sentimental items, like high school yearbooks, pictures, my wedding bouquet, and love notes that Adam and I have written to each other throughout our eight year romance. Going through the hope chest has little to do with moving because in reality, I’m probably not going to purge many items from there, but it’s like a treat in the midst of chaos to reminisce.

One of my favorite little boxes in that hope chest is a collection of notes, letters, and cards from friends over the years. It’s not a collection of every birthday card I’ve ever received, but it’s a collection of the most special and meaningful notes from dear friends. So this week, in the midst of collecting boxes and throwing away old candles and knick knacks, I treated myself to read that collection of cards.

I laughed and got teary and smiled for the few hours that I spent reading those notes. Most of the notes were from my College Days. At Asbury, perhaps like other small colleges, we had the CPO (College Post Office). It was basically a fancy way to pass notes. And pass notes we did. I’m pretty sure many of my friends spent more time clipping pictures from magazines and mod podging cute cards that we did studying (at least freshman year).

But it struck me how much time and effort my college friends put into encouraging one another. We were busy, but we still found time to notice when a friend was discouraged, or had done something spectacular, or to share a quote or Bible verse that we thought would be particularly meaningful.

And I felt encouraged, even six years later, to read some of the things that my friends shared with me about my gifts and passions and personality. And I started to think about how I often miss opportunities to encourage my friends, family, and coworkers because I fail to take the time to share my thoughts, or I am focused on thinking about me, or I get focused on problem solving rather than sharing in difficult situations.

So, my challenge to me (feel free to join me in this challenge), is to be more intentional about encouraging those around me. That’s it, plain and simple. I have no quotas and will not be measuring my outcomes. Want to join me in this challenge?

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