10 Ways To Be Encouraged [or more]

sunrise raysLet’s face it, some days are just plain miserable. But take heart, there is hope in that misery.

Yesterday, while waiting for inspiration to strike for today’s post, I paged through my latest journal, hoping it would generate ideas. My journal (far from daily) is a record of thoughts, prayers, notes, and Scripture verses as they come to me. No set formula or schedule.

The aspect of my entries that jumped out at me this day is the seeming contradiction from one to the other. One day is a record of peace, joy, love, and confidence. And the next depicts frustration, remorse, uncertainty, guilt, and anger = M-I-S-E-R-Y.

It was rather disturbing because I strive to cultivate joy in each day, to see God at work in all circumstances.

But despite my best efforts, I still have troubled days. Days when His presence is shrouded. Days when my joy falls flat.

In the face of such repeated distress, it is easy to lose hope, but I’ve developed habits that combat hopelessness.

Here are my ten action items for encouragement, in no particular order of importance:

1.      Stay in the Word daily

I have not always been faithful to be in Scripture regularly. However, since I began this daily habit, I’ve developed an increasingly robust faith. One that can withstand roller coaster rides much easier.

“For whatever was written in the past was written for our instruction, so that we may have hope through endurance and through the encouragement from the Scriptures” (Romans 15:4).

2.      Keep a journal

It doesn’t have to be daily, but it should be somewhat regular—a place to record thoughts, feelings, mood swings, revealed truths, life’s happenings, etc.

3.      Engage supportive Christian friends

Human feelings are fickle, especially female emotions. Encouragement from others who are open and honest about their up-and-down life is a great reminder that we aren’t alone in our feelings.

4.      Extend grace (to yourself and others)

Realize everyone fails (including pastors, celebrities, and authority figures). Cut yourself some slack. (Often this is the hardest of the ten to do.)

5.      Fill your mind with uplifting and encouraging thoughts.

From media to simple conversations, it is important to control what we take in for a variety of reasons. Many movies, television shows, video games, and songs are filled with immorality, unnecessary violence, and degradation. In contrast, reading or listening to stories of the redemptive grace of the Lord can be extremely supportive when struggling, and Christian music and clean comedies or inspirational movies are also heartening.

“Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things” (Philippians 4:8 NIV).

6.      Give thanks in everything

Not only a form of worship, but intentionally giving thanks through difficult times changes our heart and attitude from bitter and hurt to hopeful and uplifted.

“Give thanks in everything, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus” (1 Thessalonians 5:18).

7.      Attend worship regularly

Find a church home that preaches the Word where you can encourage and be encouraged.

For where two or three are gathered together in My name, I am there among them.” (Matthew 18:20).

8.      Give yourself permission to vent in appropriate ways

A good cry or scream (preferably in the woods out of earshot of most) has been extremely therapeutic for me.

9.      Reach out to others

Turning your focus off “me” and projecting it to others is a wonderful way to be uplifted.

10.  Be realistic and have fun

We are sinners living in a fallen world. Life is not going to be all rosy. However, Christians need not be gloomy. We have every reason to celebrate, so take (make) time to enjoy each day.

“I know that there is nothing better for them [man] than to rejoice and enjoy the good life. It is also the gift of God whenever anyone eats, drinks, and enjoys all his efforts” (Ecclesiastes 3:12–13).

Although these ten practices have been instrumental in helping me maintain my perspective (albeit imperfect) in a life dotted with bumps and holes, they are by no means exhaustive. And they do not comprise the “magic” pill.

No matter how near we draw to the Lord, disappointment and misery will raise their ugly heads. The important thing is to develop habits that will carry you through the discouragement. I’d love to see your list!

Share in the Discussion: Which of my ten action items resonates most strongly with you? In what additional ways have you cultivated hope?

Linking with Ann Voskamp for

Here are #611–631 of my One Thousand (or more) List:

  • Lost children found safe—praise God!; orioles, hummingbirds and goldfinches hanging just off our deck; grace of my boys
  • Iris’ in bloom; two beloved respite providers back for the summer; surprise packages
  • Sons messed up hair; hard work of a senior to get scholarships—so proud; my second boy’s willingness to laugh at himself
  • More beautiful birds: grosbeak and indigo bunting; time to talk, really talk; God’s timely provisions
  • Tea with a dear friend; caress of a perfect temperature day; evening with my parents watching son play soccer
  • Son singing Chris Rice’s “Deep Enough to Dream” for his last high school event; bat zipping past my face; Rachel’s abounding love
  • Sunday with family; dormant seeds awakening to sturdy little plants; children’s generosity, even if only in thought

Know that I am blessed by your visits and value your comments. If you find my writings encouraging, please share them with others by clicking one of the buttons below. I love to pray for you and hear your stories!

By His grace ≈

Julie

Encourage Others by Sharing This Post

Find hope in your real-life struggles. We'll chase it together! I am a wife; mom of 4 (including a young adult daughter with special needs); miscarriage mom of 5; author & follower of Jesus Christ. I write, edit, speak and enjoy everything outdoors.

One comment on “10 Ways To Be Encouraged [or more]
  1. nmetzler says:

    Love all of these. Yes, yes.

1 Pings/Trackbacks for "10 Ways To Be Encouraged [or more]"
  1. […] 10 Ways To Be Encouraged {or more} (juliesunne.com) […]

Join the Discussion

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.