If you have ever spent extended time around me, you have learned a few things: I ask hard questions, I’m a bit of a jokester, and I love to encourage people. It’s a special privilege when someone shares a hidden talent or desire with me and there’s nothing I enjoy more than helping that person grow and become confident in their special gifting.
This past week, I had the amazing privilege of spending four, uninterrupted days, at a writing conference in North Georgia. There is nothing like being with a bunch of strangers who completely understood me. They are my people. My safe place. My tribe.
As the weekend progressed, I noticed some things. There was a variety of levels represented at the conference. From naïve novice to polished professional; each person was at a different point on their writing journey. As the workshops and teachings began, this amazing movement began happening; everyone encouraged each other. The author with 60 books on the market was cheering on the novice who simply had a good idea. The middle-aged folks were rooting for those writers in their early twenties. The hurt, closed off, and scared were safe to express their fears and by the end of the weekend had once again embraced their passion to write. It was amazing.
For me, it had an even deeper impact. I have been fearful of putting my projects out there and this time I took a chance. I shared different manuscripts with anyone who would listen. Even though I was scared of rejection, I did it anyway. And ya’ll, do you know what happened? This girl over here, who always likes to encourage others, well, the tables turned and she got massively encouraged.
Hearing the words, “You are talented,” and “You can do this”, these phrases are what is propelling me forward. These wonderful new friends reignited a fire in me that I never want to grow dim. None of those ladies at the conference had to say nice things. They chose to say nice things. They went out of their way to encourage, inspire, and build up, and for their choice, my life will never be the same.
No matter where you are in this journey of life, I challenge you to encourage those around you. We need to hear those words. We need to know that our existence matters and that our gifts are important. Take time encourage. It’s always worth the extra effort.