Are you finding refreshment at an oasis-place in your life where you have a little encouragement to offer those who have yet to arrive? Or would you like a place to go where others can offer you encouragement while you wait or slowly slog through a wilderness-place in your life? I’ve been in both of those places. Sometimes at the same time in my life. Where I need a little encouragement for what's perplexing, confusing and challenging me. But I might have already traveled through some hard places, where I've gained a little perspective and now I have some encouragement to share.
Sometimes we just need to know that we’re not alone on the journey.
Whichever place we're in.
In one of my first jobs out of college, a colleague encouraged me to keep writing when my spirits were flagging. I had a journalism degree but was working at a banking company, where my writing consisted of calendar appointments and grocery lists for my boss’s lunch. But I met a coworker in the technical writing department who encouraged me to submit articles to a local weekly paper. She offered to proofread and edit them. So I took her up on the offer.
When she handed me back my first draft, I stared at a page full of red-pen edits with a sinking heart. I didn’t recognize much of my original work. When it was published in the paper, I shrugged off her congratulations as I said, “But I didn’t really write it, you did.”
She shook her head, “No, I just polished it. Rearranged some paragraphs. You did it. You’re a writer.”
Eventually I took a job in communications. Interns and new colleagues asked me to take a look at their first drafts. I reworked paragraphs and changed their word choices. And they had the same reaction I did. They looked discouraged. Acted deflated. Tried to tell me that they didn’t have anything to offer.
And I told them, “I just polished your work. Rearranged some paragraphs. You did it. You’re a writer.”
I’ve found that no matter where I am on the path of my life, I happen to meet those who offer encouragement to me at just the time I need it. And sometimes at the same time, I connect with those who need a little encouragement from me. Recently, my friend Bree and I helped a coworker with her job search after she was laid off. Bree and I like to say that we have a fictional company called Hob Nobs, where we do a little bit of everything with our different but complementary talents in our profession of communications. But what we are both called to do is encourage. We role-played with our colleague during mock interview sessions so she could gain confidence. We helped her write her resume and edit her online portfolio. We prayed with her before she left on her first interview. When she got the job, she said she owed it all to us. But we told her what we had heard someone tell us.
“You did it. You did the hard work in the interview. You got the job.”
Last fall, I joined an (in)courager online community group on Facebook for professional women. I met a new friend there, Sara, as we shared our experiences in the workplace. Now we're going to co-lead the group for the winter session as part of an amazing group of (in)couragers.
Sara and I don’t know yet who we will connect with in our group, but we’ve already been praying for them. For all of the women who will join us there in that encouraging place.
(in)courage is an online home for the hearts of women through DaySpring, the Christian subsidiary of Hallmark. If you'd like to check out all of the groups, hop on over to (in)courage.
Linking up my post with Holley Gerth and Coffee for Your Heart. Click here to read how you're not alone!