I don’t think we realize just how much and how often people need hope – they need encouragement. There are lots of people around us who seem to delight in offering despair! It is easy to look around and get so overwhelmed with life that we give up on anything we do making a difference and lose hope. We become so self-absorbed that we’re always thinking about what we need, but we forget to think about what other people need. I don’t think we realize just how much some people struggle to get through each day. People need encouragement to make it – they need hope
In his book Winning Life’s Toughest Battles Dr. Julius Segal quotes a report from the National Institute of Mental Health that says
“Many of our daily conversations are actually mutual counseling sessions whereby we exchange reassurance and advice that help us deal with routine stresses.”
We all need our hearts uplifted. We all need hope and reassurance. Paul made it his purpose to offer hope to others; it drove him. How different would our relationships be if their driving force were to bring hope to the other?
Author Muriel Anderson says that four of the most important words in her life are “Of course you can.” She says that her father always knew how to say those words at exactly the right time. She had a dream of being a writer and had begun to try her hand at writing articles, hoping maybe the local newspaper would publish them. She was thinking of all reasons why it couldn’t, and probably wouldn’t happen. She was young and inexperienced; the local paper was on a tight budget; they rarely bought freelance material. She told her father, “I doubt I can get this article published.” He said, “Of course you can.” And she did — this is what launched her career as a writer. Those simple words from her father were enough to encourage her to keep trying.
It really is that simple. Look for ways you can encourage people. I’ll bet there’s someone very close to you who needs a good word from you. Maybe it’s your “significant other” or a friend or a someone at work or a classmate. Start thinking: “What can I say to give them a lift?” As a parent I can tell you that no matter how old you are (I’m as old as dirt!) your parents need a word of encouragement every now and then. Call your mom and dad, “I’m glad you’re my parents. I know you’re not perfect, but I love you anyway.” Mother Teresa said, “Let no one ever come to you without leaving better and happier.” That’s a good habit to get into.
Paul’s purpose was to offer hope by encouraging others. That drove his relationships. What drives your relationships?