Encouraged Women Encourage Women
By Jaimie on February 21, 2016
Last week, I finished a blog on the topic of encouragement but did not get a chance to post it before attending Inspire Church’s annual women’s conference, ARISE. This was my fourth year at ARISE and it was just as mind-blowing and empowering as every other year. Pastor Lisa Bevere was back to speak and as usual, brought some pretty powerful words and lessons to take home, chew on and live out. I decided to update my post so that I could incorporate and share some of her gems that fell in line with the topic at hand.
I don’t care who you are, but we ALL need encouragement in some capacity and at some points in our lives, we may need a bit more than usual. This is not a sign of weakness; it is a sign that you are human!
Encouragement comes in many different forms -– a motivating word, an inspiring story, a role model, a mentor, a friend who walks alongside you, the list goes on. One particular style of encouragement that resounds with me, may not speak to you, and that very same style may be fitting for one season in my life but not another.
Last month, I asked a few friends to do a 21-day fitness challenge with me. Basically, for 21 days straight, we each had to do something active and send a photo or description of the activity to the group. It could be something as mild as a walk around the block or as intense as Crossfit or hours upon hours of hiking. There was no judgement or discrimination regarding what you did, just so long as you did something!
What I realized throughout our challenge was that encouragement is a two way street. It is not a dead end or a one-lane highway of only taking or only giving. By giving encouragement, you receive encouragement in several ways.
First, the act, in and of itself, is encouraging. Simply put, it feels good to lift others up without expectation or agenda, and on top of that, it does not cost you a penny (even better!).
The second way is by seeing the fruit of your actions, having a positive effect on another human. Just when I thought I was the only one getting something out of the 21-day challenge, my girlfriend Jamie W. told us how motivating and encouraging our photos and words had been to her. It had gotten her out of a small slump and back on track amidst the craziness of being a wife, mom & homeschooling four young children all under the age of ten.
Hearing that I had been a source of encouragement to another had the effect of encouraging me, in turn. It was uplifting, empowering and a simple yet significant reminder that I am a part of something bigger than just me in this journey called life.
Lastly, encouraging others invites them to encourage you as well. It is not an expectation, of course, but it is a nice little bonus, a backwash from your own altruistic actions. The more encouragement you give, the more you get – it’s contagious!
It is also true that the more we love ourselves, the more we can love others. Many women compete with or compare themselves to others versus running their own race and lifting each other up along the way. Lisa Bevere brilliantly stated:
“Empowered women empower women
Healed women heal women
Loved women love women
Freed women free women…”
I would like to add to that list: Encouraged women encourage women. Lisa called us to be the women we needed when we were younger, women who will build up other’s lives despite how broken ours may have been in the past. I want to be that woman, I am sure you do too — let’s just be those women already!
So, the next time you need a little (or a lot) of encouragement, try lifting someone up & see what kind of effect it has on the both of you. I would love to hear how it goes!