“Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one’s courage.” (Anais Nin)

Happy New Year Everyone. Welcome to 2017. As we begin to think about our goals for the coming year I would like to offer a suggestion. Let’s all be encourageous. It’s a new word for a new year and my goal is to make it the word of the year. It means simply to be outrageously encouraging. I’m done with being discouraged, beaten down and giving up. I intend to spend the rest of my life sharing encouragement with everyone I meet. Here’s how I will spread the gospel of being encourageous.

To be encourageous we must act. Words are not enough. Every day we share our lives with others. How we interact with other people is all on us. Let me give you one example of how easy it is to be encourageous. I was in the grocery store recently when I noticed an older woman using one of the store’s scooters. She was clearly struggling to find an item that was on a shelf she couldn’t reach from her seat. I walked over and asked if she needed help. She told me what she wanted and after much searching and reaching to the far back corner of the shelf, I found the box she needed. She thanked me profusely and I said I was happy to help. She smiled and her eyes lit up with the joy that comes from a shared moment of humanity. I was equally happy and left her with my most sincere wish that she should have a wonderful day. It doesn’t get any easier than that. One minute of my life was all it took to be encourageous.

We all need and want encouragement and the more the merrier. And I’m not talking about that “Every kid’s a winner” nonsense. Being encourageous is more than positive reinforcement. It’s the genuine acknowledgement of the value we place on other people by the way we treat them. We all need healthy relationships that provide us with the means to give as much as we get. The words we use in our interactions with others are the building blocks of our humanity but our actions are the cement that holds it all together. We can’t say, “Have a nice day” and not smile at the same time. I love people who smile and who look right at me. It makes me smile too and somewhere in my brain a little chemical reaction takes place that brings me real, tangible happiness. All of us have the innate ability to create happiness in the lives of those we meet by simply smiling and offering encouragement or a helping hand.

Being encourageous is a mindset that seeks out opportunities to help. As we encounter people each day we must look for signs of their condition. I saw two women on the side of the road one day and they were obviously distressed. The car was not running and they had no phone, so I stopped long enough to make a few calls to get help. It made me late for my next appointment but it was worth it and I still smiled and wished them well. For a brief moment, I could tell it helped. Compassion for others is the most fundamental trait we possess as humans. At that moment what they needed most, was my time and my willingness to help.

I believe that tomorrow can always be better than today. It’s up to us to make it better but there’s really nothing stopping us from making the world better for everybody. Having said that, I will admit that the recent past has been difficult and lots of people are very discouraged and afraid of the future. That’s why outrageous encouragement is going to be so important. To overcome this malaise we must try harder than ever to find compassion in our hearts and to act accordingly. The media sells fear and loathing on a daily basis because it is profitable not because it’s true. Fear is the polar opposite of being encourageous. I’m not afraid of anybody because I’m not afraid to die trying. God can call me home any time he wants me but while I’m still breathing I am going to be encourageous. I am going to thank those who help me. I am going to help those who are struggling. I am going to encourage those who have doubts. I am going to find the good in people, no matter how hard I have to try.

What have we got to lose by being encourageous? It’s a great word that needs to be repeated daily. It will become the word of the year if we just start each day by recognizing the universal need for compassion. Being encourageous will change our lives forever and the world will never be the same again. Wouldn’t we all like to be part of that movement? Everyone I meet has the God-given ability to change the world or at least their corner of it. I believe that ability is also an obligation. We are responsible for making life on this planet the best it can be for all of us, not just those we agree with. Let’s make 2017 the year when being encourageous became the turning point for humanity, when goodness overcame evil, when harmony replaced discord, when trust overcame fear and when all of humanity finally found the courage to do the right thing. I can’t wait. I’m going to start right now.

©Guy R. Horst and grhgraph.wordpress.com, 2017. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Guy R. Horst and grhgraph.wordpress.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.


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5 Responses to “Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one’s courage.” (Anais Nin)

  1. Adenia says:

    Love this Guy! Very uplifting and encouraging! God has a purpose for each of us and it is so important to remember to share His love and care every day with the opportunities He gives us. God bless you! 😊✝️💜

  2. duaneburman says:

    Guy, I am very much more “encouraged” after hearing GOD repeatedly throughout Trump’s comments; and particularly hearing Hannity visiting with the Pastor who had done one of the closing prayers for the inauguration & have him share that the Trump team told him to pray whatever the Holy SPIRIT or his biblestudy brought to his mind for the occasion!

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