Friday, March 4, 2016

Focus Friday: Let's Focus on Encouragement

We had a great youth group meeting the other night. It's always good to see our wonderful group of high schoolers, but this week's topic really stayed with me the rest of the week. (I hope it stayed with all of them, too.)

We talked about compliments and how encouraging they can be. First we watched this youtube video:

In the video, people were able to give and receive compliments right on the street. It was touching to hear the nice things they said about each other and how each person reacted.

We had a good discussion in youth group about how we give and receive compliments. Often we get embarrassed and want to protest when someone gives us a compliment. We don't want to seem proud, even though compliments can really encourage us. We fail to give compliments sometimes because we don't want someone to get a big head or we feel like things become awkward when we compliment someone.

As we talked, I mentioned that I like to encourage people and Abbie (you remember Dear Abbie, don't you?) was quick to say, "You're really good at that." I was surprised, but I didn't push the compliment aside. I smiled and said "Thank you." Her simple comment stayed with me and has encouraged me ever since then. It's nice to know that someone recognizes my efforts to encourage others, even though I often feel like I don't do it enough.

I hope the students thought about compliments and encouragement as they went to school the rest of the week. I hope they took a moment to say something nice to other students as they went about their day. 

There's a quote I think of often and it helps me to be more deliberate about encouraging others:

"One word or note brings more encouragement than a thousand thoughts never expressed."

We may miss the chance to compliment and encourage hundreds of people, but the times when we do take the time and make the effort to say something or write a little note can mean so much to the person we bless with our encouragement. Let's look for ways we can encourage others every day.

"Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing." (I Thessalonians 5:11 NIV)

Are you good at complimenting and encouraging others? How can focusing on God help you to look for ways to encourage others with a kind word or note?

PS - As I write I think I've addressed this topic in another Focus Friday post. Forgive me for repeating myself, but I think it's a topic that's worth bringing up every once in a while. I'm going to turn 50 on Sunday, so I'm afraid I may start to repeat myself even more in the years ahead. You'll have to bear with me and just ignore me if I start to ramble.

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