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Reverse the effect of stress

During one of the school holidays, my dad insisted that I read a book he recently purchased. It was a compilation of many famous speeches by great leaders of the past. Well, I wasn’t really gung-ho about it. 

But over the years, as I recollect reading the book, a few things ran parallel among these well-known orations. 

  1. It was given at a time when circumstances were difficult. 

  2. It was addressed to people or a nation that needed hope. 

  3. It was spoken to a world that longed for a hero.

These speeches were powerful and carried promising words of encouragement. They had the potency of changing the world.

An encouraging word is like a bolt of hope that lifts up a weary soul. 

I’ve had the privilege of hearing the former US President Barack Obama give his victory speech at Grant Park, Chicago, Illinois, on November 4, 2008. The atmosphere was electrifying. That’s what a powerful speech can make you feel. It ignites hope and brings back to life the excitement it was missing. His campaign chant ‘Yes We Can’ had been an encouraging breath to many in the US at that time. 

It was a campaign that aimed at bringing better and bigger changes for the people of USA. (Source:

Just like these leaders, we too possess the great gift of being encouragers. To create an impact in the lives of others with the words we use.

Being an encourager is one of the most influential things we could do. When we encourage, it strengthens others.

Encouragement can reverse the effect of stress. – Theo Groeneveld. 

(That’s how I named the title for this post!)

It’s not easy to pour from an empty cup.

So, encouraging others is tough when we are discouraged or hurt.

Encouraging others is the last thing we want to do when the person who needs it is someone we dislike.

But, everyone needs an encouraging word.

When the going gets tough, it’s easy to spiral down. It’s painfully hard to push on without reassurance.

An encouraging word can lay fear at rest. It can let the other person know that tough times don’t last, it will pass.

I’ve had a few of those unexpected failures and moments when all I could think of was giving up. Those were times I even wondered if God really cared.

I still struggle to get a hold of where my emotions run and my thoughts fly when unpredicted events shatter my so-called ‘manageable space’. I know it sounds dramatic, but I struggle there.

But as I continue to understand God’s dominion over everything – which includes even my circumstances, I am learning that God is the ultimate encourager.

Recently I found a crude way of seeking encouragement at work.

It is – to ask God to give you the enthusiasm to work. Go ahead, try it.

It’s like asking God to pat on your back, every time despondency creeps in. 

“With God, you are stronger than your struggles and more fierce than your fears. God provides comfort and strength to those who trust in Him. Be encouraged, keep standing and know that everything’s going to be alright.” – Germany Kent

I want to bring your attention to how God played the role of an encourager when Joshua took over as CEO of Mission Canaan team (those are the Israelites who were about to enter the promised land which we today know as Palestine).

It was a daunting responsibility especially with fierce enemies like Canaanites, Philistines, Babylonians, and Assyrians around them.

God did not leave Joshua alone. He encouraged Joshua with affirming words.

‘No one will be able to stand against you all the days of your life. As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will never leave you nor forsake you. Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” ‘ Joshua 1:5,9

In other words, God was saying – “Go get ’em. I’ve got you covered”.

Now, doesn’t that drive out all fear and let you take on the world with new-found confidence. 

Encouraging words are a soul lifter. They can strengthen us and equip us to bounce right back in the game.
Encouraging words are a soul lifter. They can strengthen us and equip us to bounce right back in the game.

We can be God’s extension arms at cheering others. Cos all of us need a boost. Our loved ones, people we work with (even your bosses), even strangers we meet – they can all benefit from an uplifting word.

There are many ways to be an encourager.

Encourage your team, your workforce

  1. Appreciate their work sincerely. Show them their contribution to the big picture.

  2. Call out their strengths.

    1. Send out e-mails, SMS that highlight their contribution.

    2. Leave notes, appreciation cards, encouragement cards at their workstation. For them to see and for all to see.

    3. Have an occasion to encourage. Pat on the back or a word of recognition makes a great difference.

  3. Allow them to handle additional responsibilities.

  4. Listen to them without interruption when they speak to you. Encourage them to talk. Listen to their struggles, passions and ambitions.

  5. Share their burdens. Get involved in troubleshooting. Offer to help.

  6. Pray for them and their families.

Encourage your loved ones

  1. Make them feel special about the way, they take care of you.

  2. Listen to them. Be in the present.

  3. Pray with them and for them.

Encourage your kids

  1. Set an example yourself. Children are encouraged with visual display.

  2. Walk with your children in the process of growing up.

  3. Trust them with additional chores.

  4. Help them explore new avenues of learning. Do it together.

  5. Appreciate honestly. Reward with words and not things.

  6. When they fail, don’t criticize. Let our mouths speak encouraging words so they may not fear failure.

  7. Pray with them and for them. 

    1. Pray for every need for theirs, even if their needs could seem outright silly. (like winning at a board game, and they see their life depending on it). 

  8. Don’t disparage them. They are tiny people with boundless potential.

You, Lord, hear the desire of the afflicted; you encourage them, and you listen to their cry Psalms 10:17 NIV

What are some encouraging words you have heard? Leave a comment.

Who can you encourage today?

We can be God’s extension arms at cheering others. Cos all of us need a boost. Our loved ones, people we work with (even your bosses), even strangers we meet - they can all benefit from an uplifting word.
We can be God’s extension arms at cheering others.

All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.

The “NIV” and “New International Version” are trademarks registered in the United States Patent and Trademark Office by Biblica, Inc.™

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