Give and receive the gift of encouragement

While out shopping the other day, a woman approached me and said, “I love your hair. It’s so natural.” (referring to my gray hair)

She said, “I wish I had the courage to do that.”photo courtesy of published on

Her words stayed with me. She said she didn’t have the courage to do it.

But how does a person gain courage? How can we be encouraged to take action when we’re afraid?

Encourage. To fill with courage or strength of purpose. (

Be encouraged. It sounds so simple, but how can you get over the hump of being afraid?

Surround yourself with encouraging peoplePhoto courtesy of published on

When we encourage each other, we help each other get past fear. We can fill ourselves and others with “strength of purpose”.

What a beautiful thing!

You may say, “They’re just words.” That’s true.

But they’re words meant to give you a boost so you can go do whatever it is you lack the courage to do.

Why do we take them for granted?

Sometimes people will explain why you should be afraid. They may truly want to protect you and be afraid for you.

Fear is a powerful force. The bigger the fear, the more encouragement you’ll need.

Will you suffer setbacks? Probably. Will you feel discouraged and want to quit? Maybe.

When you feel down and discouraged, your strength of purpose can pull you up.

Encouragement is a gift to be given and received

Photo courtesy of published on

Be open to receive encouragement. It takes an open heart to receive this gift, to be empowered to believe in yourself. 

Seek out encouragement from others. Maybe people who have been through what you’re going through. Or maybe people who love you, believe in you, and want to see you happy.

Pray for courage. I’ve felt God’s love and encouragement so often through prayer. When you get to the heart of courage, it feels like a spiritual force. I say The Serenity Prayer often, asking God for “the courage to change the things I can.”

Encourage others. You don’t know how your words and gestures of encouragement might make a difference to them, how your words may be just what they need to get past whatever’s holding them up. I encouraged the woman who said she didn’t have the courage to go gray by telling her, “You can do it!” Will she do it? She may need lots more encouragement before she acts. I’ll probably never know. 

Encouragement is a gift to be given and received. Give generously and receive graciously.

If you missed the Joan of Arc story and her amazing story of courage in a previous Mindset Monday, you can check it out here.