One way that God speaks to me is through my word of the year. I am embarrassed to tell you how often I miss the message the first time His voice whispers it in my ear. However, our Heavenly Father is patient, hasn’t ever given up on me, and knows just when to speak to me in a LOUD, unmistakable voice.
One thing I was instructed to do is study the definition, synonyms, and antonyms of my word and then come up with my own definition. So here goes…
noun: encouragement; plural noun: encouragements
the action of giving someone support, confidence, or hope Oxford Languages
To encourage means you put heart into another. You pump blood into and for them because the heart cannot beat without the blood it pumps. So hold that picture: encourage means that you strengthen their heart and make it beat better. Quora.com
boost, goad, impetus, impulse, incentive, incitation, incitement, instigation, momentum, motivation, provocation, spur, stimulant, stimulus, yeast, inducement, invitation
antecedent, cause, consideration, grounds, motive, occasion, reason, catalyst, catalyzer, fuel, spark, shot in the arm Merriam-Webster
heartening, cheering, cheering up, buoying up, pepping up, uplifting, inspiration, rallying, motivation, incitement, stimulation, animation, invigoration, invigorating, emboldening, fortification, morale-boosting, bucking up, a shot in the arm, spiriting up, inspiriting, persuasion, coaxing, urging, pushing, pressure, pressurization, exhortation, prodding, egging on, prompting, spur, goad, inducement, incentive, bait, lure, motive, arm-twisting, carrot, kick up the backside, supporting, support, backing, endorsement, championship, championing, sponsoring, advocacy, promotion, furtherance, furthering, advance, advancing, forwarding, fostering, strengthening, nurture, cultivation, help, assistance, boosting, fueling, favoring, boosterism – Oxford Languages
counterincentive, disincentive Merriam-Webster
discouragement, dissuasion, hindering Oxford Languages
Encouragement is building someone up with spoken words, small gifts, or an act of service. Some byproducts of encouragement are a renewed sense of hope, confidence & the realization that someone else sees your struggles and wants to help.
Be careful that your encouragement of others doesn’t come off as hollow platitudes. Instead, pray for God’s guidance not only in what to say but how and when to speak.
As I worked through this process, I realized that there have already been changes in how I interact with others. For several years, I have been praying to be free of the unrealistic expectations I put on myself and others.
When lifting others in prayer, it’s almost impossible to harbor bitterness against them. Instead, I find myself looking for ways to offer love & encouragement.
Thank you for using your voice to teach me how to love others in ways that are meaningful to them.
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