This column was originally published in early February 2016, in the midst of winter.
So far this winter, – knock on wood, – has been relatively mild, bright, and manageable. We’re just over halfway through the season, and there haven’t been too many days filled with dark skies and endless grey clouds. And for that, I’m thankful (seasonal affective disorder sufferers, rejoice!). That being said, it’s most common that when we reach just beyond the halfway point – whether in seasons, personal or professional goals, or schoolwork, – that we can begin to feel restless or ready to give up. If you’ve ever fought feelings of discouragement, you know what I mean. For those times when you’re feeling down, fatigued, or even restless, a little encouragement can go a long way.
I’m thankful to be surrounded by several people who inspire courage, and I’m also aware that sometimes the people who freely give support or encourage others are the very people who need encouragement the most!
If you’re reading this today and you find yourself fatigued, or restless, or in need of a little pick-me-up, here are three ways to find encouragement today:
- Write a gratitude list. David said in Psalm 103:2 (KJV), “Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits”. If you need some encouragement, count your blessings and create a gratitude list. It’s easier said than done, but often I take for granted the very things that people in other parts of the world long for – a peaceful neighbourhood, a pillow for my head, and a place to call home. That doesn’t even begin to scratch the surface of God’s blessings.
- Go for a walk or pick up some flowers. In Ecclesiastes 3:11 (KJV), Solomon wrote that, “He [God] hath made every thing beautiful in his time”. Even though I don’t have a green thumb, I always find it encouraging to be surrounded by flowers and other examples of God’s creativity and handiwork. It’s amazing how a walk outdoors and some fresh air can help you feel encouraged.
- Get into God’s Word. Not familiar with the Bible? The Psalms are a great place to start, and within those pages you’ll find some of the most encouraging truths. These timeless poems and songs contain some of the most poignant phrases, which are uplifting to read and to recall to mind.
There are more than three ways you can encourage yourself, but these three provide an effective starting point. It is true what they say, that a candle loses nothing by lighting another candle. It’s an incredible gift to serve others, but don’t forget to take care of yourself, too. It’s easier to encourage another when you’re at a place of positivity!