A Catholic Convert in Ottawa

Posts Tagged ‘encouragement

After a long absence, I’m returning to the workforce. Those who have been there and done that know what a daunting prospect it is: preparing a résumé, lining up references, creating profiles on job search websites, chasing job leads, and trying to land that elusive interview to get a foot in the door.

Recently, I’ve made a few visits to the Y Employment Access Centre in my area. I’ve discovered a lot of helpful resources there. But besides the handouts on CVs and cover letters, job boards, and workshops, I found something more valuable: encouragement.

When we’re feeling discouraged—about our weight-loss efforts, job search, and so on—hearing people say they believe in us can give us that boost of confidence we need to start believing in ourselves.

I found that positive “You can do it” attitude in everyone from the receptionists to the career counsellor to the job developer. And in my husband and son, my mother and mother-in-law, my piano teacher…

How often do we have the opportunity to offer someone else that little bit of encouragement but fail to seize it? How beautiful to help others see they have it in them to pursue a dream or goal that makes good use of the gifts and talents God has blessed them with!

Society respects people with confidence but is quick to condemn those who seem to think too much of their abilities. No wonder we can struggle to believe we have what it takes to make our plans a reality!

Whether we’re young or not so young, we can all use a word or a note or an e-mail of encouragement to help us take that next step. I pray that, the next time we have the opportunity to encourage others, we take it.

I believe in you

I can’t even count the ways that

I believe in you

And all I want to do is help you to

Believe in you

~ “Believe in You” by Amanda Marshall

Let no evil talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for edifying, as fits the occasion, that it may impart grace to those who hear. (Ephesians 4:29*)

Growing up, I was very blessed to have parents and teachers who told me I could succeed when I put forth my best effort and encouraged me to pursue my love of languages and writing. This encouragement gave me the confidence I needed to express myself creatively.

But I knew people who weren’t so lucky. Like those who were told they didn’t measure up to older siblings or who were cut off from their families because they pursued their own career choice rather than work at the family business.

Sometimes it seems as though people would rather tear others down than build them up.

As the apostle Paul wrote in 1 Thessalonians 5:11, we should “encourage one another and build one another up.” Paul knew the value of encouragement: when he came to join the disciples in Jerusalem, Barnabas told the disciples about Paul’s conversion and his preaching in Jesus’ name (see Acts 9:26-27). Barnabas later journeyed with Paul to bring the good news to the Gentiles.

So how can you encourage others with your words?

  • Businesses: Let others know when you love a product or business. Thank staff when they give you great advice or excellent customer service, and let managers know too. And tell your employees or colleagues when they do a great job.
  • Writers, artists and musicians: Let them know you enjoy their work and look forward to their next book, show or album. Too often people don’t express appreciation for someone’s work until it’s too late.
  • Teachers: Send your child’s teacher a card at the end of the school year to say thanks for the extra help he or she has given. Or express your thanks in person if you volunteer at your child’s school. The same goes for dance teachers, music teachers, or sports coaches—your child’s or your own.
  • Priests and ministry leaders: Let them know you enjoyed the homily, worship music, readings, altar decorations, and so on. Even if people are called to a certain ministry, they’ll enjoy knowing others appreciate their efforts.
  • Family members: Home is where we should be the most encouraging, but it’s too easy to let unfinished chores and hectic schedules get in the way. Thank your husband or wife for helping you fit in that music lesson or fitness class, for listening to you vent about work, or for picking up a special treat at the store. Encourage your spouse in pursuing career or fitness goals or growing in their faith. Catch your children in the act of being helpful or kind and let them know you appreciate it. Point out improvements in their music, athletic or academic skills. And let your spouse or children hear you say positive things about them to others.

If you’d like to read more about using your words to encourage others, I recommend The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman; The Five Love Languages of Children by Gary Chapman and Ross Campbell, M.D.; The Power of a Positive Mom by Karol Ladd; and The Power of a Woman’s Words by Sharon Jaynes, to name just a few.

“Death and life are in the power of the tongue,” Proverbs 18:21 reminds us. I pray that we would use our words for building up.

(*Quotes from the Holy Bible, Revised Standard Version, Second Catholic Edition).

Food for Thought

(Y)ou do not know about tomorrow. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we shall live and we shall do this or that.” ~ James 4:14-15

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