Happy Elevated Friday! Today we highlight a story that shows that no matter what you may feel qualified to do, you can still make a big difference in the world. Amy Wolff used to feel helpless in the face of the rising tides of mental illness in our society. She wanted to help, but because she knew she wasn’t a trained therapist and she didn't know anyone personally who was struggling with mental illness, she didn't feel qualified to make a difference – or even know where to begin! Despite all this, she came up with a simple idea of posting motivational messages in her front yard on signs similar to those you’d see during an election season. Messages like “Don’t Give Up” and “Your Mistakes Don’t Define You” adorned her yard and after only a short time, people started reaching out to her to ask her for signs to put in their yards. Over the last two years, her movement has spread to all 50 states and 26 countries in 6 languages! People have reached out to her to thank her for her signs as they have made a big difference in their lives, just seeing words of affirmation when they are feeling low. Of the entire movement and the attention it has received, Amy said, “I guess generous love with no strings attached was newsworthy. I guess yard signs were genius.”
The Apostle Paul made a life encouraging others in their faith, and thankfully, his written letters of encouragement to the various churches and other Christian leaders of the time have stood the test of time as the bulk of the Second Testament. Paul recognized that while not all of us can diagnose medically what ails others, we all are fully capable of speaking words of encouragement. He said in his letter to the Thessalonians, “Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing.” We are all capable of encouraging each other because encouragement is simply a verbal expression of compassion and hope to another. With our hope resting in Jesus and our hearts full of compassion by his example, encouragement of others should always be the natural result. Today, make it a point to encourage someone in a way that you would like to be encouraged yourself.
“Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing.” – 1 Thessalonians 5:11 ESV