A Dose of Vitamin E – Encouragement – Does a Body Good

Back in the “old days,” with a one-hour drive to work, I really enjoyed listening to the radio program Focus on the Family, then hosted by Dr. James Dobson. There were so many helpful and memorable broadcasts. One that recently came to mind was when Dr. Kevin Leman, an internationally known psychologist, was a guest and he talked about the importance of Vitamin E.

E is for “encouragement.”

That must have been 20 years ago and some of Dr. Leman’s words and teachings still reverberate. In today’s world, Vitamin E is as important as it ever was.

Every human being needs and appreciates encouragement! It’s simply in our wiring.

One of my wife, Vanessa’s, many gifts is the gift of encouragement. I have marveled at her many times. No matter how tough her day, no matter what her personal challenge of the moment or season might be, she still spends time pouring into others. It’s not the “I’m gonna pray for you” response that often gets lost in the tangle of life, but she puts her words into action.

Just a few months’ back, I remember her on the phone consoling a relative who was about to go into surgery. Not once did she mention that she had just come out of two surgeries within 10 days of each other, and she was still healing! She never even mentioned it.

I have come home from work and found her deep in conversation or deep in prayer on someone’s behalf. She has called me and asked me to take a moment and pray with her about a certain situation. She visits with others over a cup of coffee at the local Starbucks and listens – really listens. She has reached out time and again to others, asking what she can do – and not just by praying, but practically – what can she do to help? And then she does it.

A few years’ back she took on the practice of creating little care packages for neighbors and delivering them.

She also hosts and facilitates a community Bible study every Tuesday at 10 a.m. Feel free to join and be enriched:

Bottom line – she’s an encourager!

In a marriage, it’s an absolute responsibility of a spouse to be an encourager. I have said many times that Vanessa is my greatest critic – one on one and in constructive ways – and my greatest encourager, both privately and publicly. It makes such a difference in any relationship, to have someone who will “hit you straight.”

Encouragement needs to be real – it is building someone up but not with false bricks and mortar. Straw houses will not withstand the strong winds of life.  Encouragement is coming alongside a spouse who’s had a rough day, or week, or is dealing with a life disappointment. Encouragement is reaching out to friend who is struggling in a marriage or a job or a relationship. Encouragement is consoling someone who has lost a loved one or is simply in a bad place.

Even society acknowledges that encouragement has healing benefits! For a child, it’s a vital component to them growing up healthily. It can help them overcome bullying or criticism and can build self-confidence. Encouragement is a key component to one’s physical, mental, and emotional health and well-being.

And let me hasten to say that encouragement is different from praise. We have now opted into a society where everybody gets a trophy – for participation! There are no losers – everybody is a winner!

Accolades for nothing send a dangerous signal – not everyone climbs Mt. Everest; more than 300 have died attempting to reach that legendary summit.  Real-life does have winners and losers. For those who accept the finished work of Jesus – yes, victory is yours and mine.

But in this life, the Lord Himself told us that “In this world you will have trouble…” (John 16:33, NIV). Little Johnny is not going to hit a home run every time he’s up at bat. Sometimes, little Johnny is going to strike out. Encouragement might tell little Johnny to keep working at it. Encouragement might say “Turn off the Nintendo Switch and let’s go hit some balls in the backyard or the park.” Encouragement says you struck out today but keep practicing and keep swinging. Because tomorrow is coming.

Whether you’re the butcher, the baker, or the candlestick maker, you need encouragement! Why don’t you make it a mission to lift the spirits of those around you – but be authentic in doing so. Encouragement is so powerful in building bridges – it is a key component in good marriages, families, and even our relationships with friends, co-workers, neighbors and others who come across our paths.

Encouragement starts from within. When you can recognize your own blessings, it helps gives you a consistently positive outlook on life. That can be the fuel that allows you to be more generous in your interactions with others. Grouches and grumps are rarely good encouragers. Start with yourself, recognizing that like King David, you are the apple of God’s eye (Psalm 17:8), and your other relationships will begin to grow and prosper as well.

Being a consistent encourager is a warranty plan for your relationships! Build it into your daily repertoire with your spouse. Reaffirm your respect and trust for him or her and invest in a bank of good will! When the trouble winds come – and they will come – be fortified in the house that you’ve built – together.

How else can we encourage? Well, we can encourage in so many ways – words of affirmation, surprising someone with a card or letter, reaching out to neighbors who don’t know you (nod to Vanessa), giving to those in need; and of course, praying!

And another note - there are sometimes situations and circumstances in which words fail us. But – we can be there. Just be there!

What is another vehicle of encouragement that YOU can use? Will you think about it?

A few final thoughts from the Word of God:

Romans 15:2 - “Each of us should please our neighbors for their good, to build them up.”

Hebrews 10:24-25 - "And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching."

Have you passed out a few doses of Vitamin E today? Be an encourager – it does a body, mind, and spirit good!.

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