Today, I went to go back to a series that I originally called “Keeping It Simple”. I’ve retitled it “Tools for the Journey”. Today’s entry will indeed be simple.
I was a campus missionary for a number of years, and during that time, a ministry associate recommended keeping an encouragement file. It’s an actual file that I keep in my filing cabinet with notes of encouragement or thanks that people have sent me over the years.
The Bible talks about the importance of encouragement over & over. In this blog post, I talked about how words have the power to deposit courage into you (encourage) or rip courage out of you (discourage). Too often, life, circumstances, and people rip courage out of us.
When that happens, it’s time to get out the encouragement file.
I thought of this yesterday, as a ministry participant sent me a kind & encouraging email about some things I’ve said & done in our support group. I actually haven’t added anything to my file for some time, but a few recent emails reminded me of its value.
Here’s a picture from inside my neglected encouragement file.
Some of these notes are 10+ years old. Many of them are from the 3 years I worked in student life.
The first image shows a scribbled-on envelope, where I quickly wrote down 10 things a friend was learning through Habakkuk from God. There are cards, post-it notes, printed emails. A few drawings from a dear friend. There are many ways to receive encouragement.
I’m adding 3 recent emails to my file today.
Remember also to be an encourager. Students I worked with at leadership conferences would fill out form letter encouragement notes, to develop their encouragement skills.
Encouragement is a learned skill. Encourage your friends, family, loved ones, and your spiritual leaders. Strengthen them with your words. Think about people who have impacted your life positively. Take some time to write those people a short note of thanks and appreciation.
Be an encourager of others, and start an encouragement file for yourself today. That’s today’s Freedom Friday Tool for the Journey.