I dunno...

Worry weighs a person down; an encouraging word cheers a person up. (Proverbs 12:25)

How are encouraging words best used? In what circumstances do they matter the most? Who is best to bring those encouraging words into our lives? Is it possible the words of encouragement you are hearing are not always genuine? If you are worrying about those words, you are likely weighed down, feeling like you don't 'deserve' those words. Words of encouragement aren't to be given out so freely that someone doesn't think them genuine, but when they are needed most, they should be spoken the loudest!

Encouragement might be to receive a boost that actually brings us back to life a bit, being bolstered by the words we hear, or to be spurred on in a certain direction. Regardless of the circumstances, there are times when we just need a bit of encouragement - either to continue on the course we are on, or to keep doing what we have been doing because it is 'working' to accomplish something we desire. Encouraging words can also help us get a little clarity in a matter - such as when someone brings words of encouragement that we are on the right track, or our way of thinking something through is spot-on.

If worry weighs us down, what does encouragement do? It removes the weight of doubt, fear, or insecurity. Doubt can stifle us, making us feel 'stuck' in the place we are - either in our thinking, or in our actions. Whenever we hear encouraging words, we are either 'unstuck' or we realize we are stuck because we are some place we shouldn't be right now. We all need to listen to God's voice - being the very best at bringing words of encouragement into our lives - but he also uses others to be his voice. If we doubt or feel insecure over certain steps we are taking, it might not be bad to consult a trusted friend. It is quite possible they will help us get a little 'unstuck' by the clarity we receive in their words.

It isn't as though they know better than us - it is that they can see things 'outside' of the muddle we are experiencing at the moment. That differing perspective can be instrumental in helping us see clearly what had been masked by all the doubt, fear, or insecurity we felt while 'going through' the circumstances at hand. God isn't going to leave us 'unsettled' and 'burdened' for long. He will send the right words of encouragement we need to hear - through is Word and by the confirmation of others he uses to speak into our lives. Just sayin!

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