31 Days of Encouragement

Renew. Replenish. Rejoice.

"Anxiety in a man's heart weighs it down, 
but an encouraging word makes it glad." --Proverbs 12:25

Ever have one of those days (or several of those days) where it feels like you are really taking a beating from this world?  Ever think to yourself "man, how am I going to get through this?" Well, friend, you CAN. And you WILL.  But that doesn't mean you don't need a little help along the way, a kind word, or something positive to reflect on as you weather your storms.  That is the genesis of this page.

Here you will find 31 Days of Encouragement.  I'll be posting them as individual blog entries, but also collecting them here, so that any time you need a boost, they're right here for you.  Don't give up! You will make it through!

As a final aside, I found this short film and LOVED it, so I thought I'd share. In keeping with the encouragement theme, I present: VALIDATION.


Note: In 2014, I'm adding daily action items to go with the 31 days of encouragement. Let's pass on the uplifting!

Action Item: Think of one thing you did in 2013 that you can't stop beating yourself up over. You've made amends, but you just can't let it go. Write on a piece of paper: "I forgive myself for [whatever your one thing is]." Then rip it up and throw it in the garbage (or recycling) where it belongs. 

Repeat as desired.

Action Item: Think about someone in your life who is really struggling with something; be intentional about saying specific prayers for that person today. 

If you are really struggling with something, ask someone to pray with/for you today.

Day Three: Arsenal

Action Item: Think of something that is causing you serious apprehension (work, relationships, finances; be specific). Stand in front of your mirror and tell yourself (out loud): "I will not live stuck in fear. I will work my way through it, and I am not alone in doing so."

Day Four: Charity

Action Item: Make it a point to say at least one kind thing to every person you encounter today. Especially the people to whom you really don't want to show kindness. 

Rinse, repeat. Kindness really does get easier with practice.

Day Five: Humility

Action Item: The first step toward humility is usually a step back from self. Choose someone in your life that needs encouraging (or multiple someones) and be the one to lift them up today.

Action Item: Grab a 3x5 index card or small piece of paper. On it, write "John 16:33" (in case you want to go back and read it again) and the phrase: "Just keep swimming." Tape it on your bathroom mirror so you'll see it at the beginning and end of your day.

Action Item: We need to be people who are there for each other just as God is there for us. Think about someone in your life who is dealing with something you can tell is bringing them down. You don't even need to know what the "something" is. Call them today just to talk. Let them know they aren't alone--someone is thinking of them.

Day Eight: Release

Action Item: Identify your "anger of choice." Make this promise to yourself (out loud, in writing, whatever is most meaningful to you): "[X] will not define me anymore. I WILL learn to let it go."

Day Nine: Peace

Action Item: Spend the rest of today in a "running prayer." Then reflect tonight about whether it helped you stress less throughout the day.

Action Item: In our lives, whenever we have reached some extraordinary height, it is almost always because someone has held us high just when we needed it. Think about someone in your life that has held you high. In your status today, put this phrase: "I have been held high by [X]..." and than them for whatever they did to exalt you. They have given you a small glimpse of your heavenly Father.

Day Eleven: Beautiful

Action Item: Write "love notes" on post-its and put them in places your loved ones will find them today. Give them a little something extra to smile about today.

Day Twelve: Shine

Action Item: Today, put your faith in action. When you see a need you can meet for someone else (big or small), meet it just because you can.

Day Thirteen: Service

Action Item: Humility goes hand in hand with a servant's heart. Spend half an hour today doing something outside your normal routine that benefits someone else. Identify a need out there and meet it because you can.

Day Fourteen: Patience

Action Item: Take a pause. Often when we are the most impatient, it is because we have busied ourselves to the point of frenzy (I'm guilty). Take five minutes today and breathe deep, relax, reflect on the good things about where you are now, and give your future to God.

Day Fifteen: Courage

Action Item: Our men and women in uniform are facing a lot of turmoil right now, both here and abroad. Take a few minutes today and say prayers for them. Need a little help finding the words? You can borrow from this one I wrote for Jake last summer: http://bit.ly/19UtMwM.

Day Sixteen: Friendship

Action Item: We can get really busy in life, and sometimes it makes us forget things, and sometimes it makes us neglect our friends. Take time out today to call a friend (or more than one!), just to say "hi," and "I appreciate you."

Day Seventeen: Grace

Action Item: A byproduct of grace is gratitude. Sit down today and write out the ten things in your life for which you are most grateful right now. Meditate on those things today.

Day Eighteen: Refuge

Action Item: Put "selah" into practice. Read through Psalm 46 (link in text) and pause after each verse to meditate. 'Pause, and think of it.'

Day Nineteen: Forward

Action Item: Time to bury the hatchet! We get in our own way when we hold onto old grudges. Write down the five slights in your life that are most frequently on your replay reel and commit to let them go. Today!

Day Twenty: Presence

Action Item: Practice presence in your own life today. It can be really easy to be "there" but not "present," especially with all the technological distractions available to us. Spend some intentional time unplugged today and really meditate on being in the moment with your kids/spouse/friends today.

Day Twenty-One: Mercy

Action Item: Reflect on the things you give (time, money, etc.). What are your motivations for giving? Push yourself by identifying two ways that you could give more.

Day Twenty-Two: Contentment

Action Item: Write down the five most important things in your life. Meditate on the list, asking yourself whether the way you live your daily living reflects the fact that those are your "Top 5," or whether other things might be getting in the way.

Day Twenty-Three: Priorities

Action Item: Worry often comes from the frantic pace of our lives, and not taking time to really focus on what matters versus what doesn't. Take ten minutes out today, unplug, and meditate on the things you have that are really dear to you. See if that changes your outlook on the day.

Day Twenty-Four: Infinity

Action Item: David is proof positive that we are forgiven not just the minor screw ups, but the major ones as well. Think about one of the "major" ones you've been hanging on to and let it go. Right now. Out loud.

Day Twenty-Five: Love

Action Item: Today, put God's love into practice by doing good for someone you run across, especially someone for whom you'd rather not.

Day Twenty-Six: Exclamation

Action Item: Cry out to God today, and I mean really cry out, about the things that are troubling you most. Not only can he take it, that's exactly what he wants.

Day Twenty-Seven: Rest

Action Item: On a sheet of paper, make a list of "Baggage I Don't Need." Now leave it behind.

Day Twenty-Eight: Confidence

Action Item: Think about the things in life you really have confidence in. Meditate on whether you put your confidence in the right place, or whether it needs readjusting.

Day Twenty-Nine: Renewable

Action Item: Think about something that has you stuck, some fear that is preventing you from being the person you want to be or doing the thing you want to do. Meditate on what's making you stay an "egg," then take the first step toward flight today.

Day Thirty: Advocate

Action Item: God stands up for us, and we too are responsible for standing up for our fellow man. Today, go out of your way to stand up for someone else. Whether it's interceding when someone is mistreating a waiter, signing that petition that means so much to your neighbor, or picking up the phone and calling your representatives about an injustice you've run across, be an advocate. JUST DO IT.

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