Step 3. The big ‘E’

The big E is simply this: encouragement. If you have your honesty and you have your openness, there is room for encouragement. The trick with this is not to go overboard and overkill it with kindness and compliments. But through the love you have for your friend, through the support you’re showing them, encourage.

I’m a big believer in the idea that actions speak louder than words. They really really do. My lovely parents might not tell me that they love me every single moment of every single day, especially now that I’m at university, but when they call me or send me things or come to visit or pay for my weekly shop (sainsburys, represent!) I know that they love me. When all of this started, my mum was the one who made me go to the doctors. Not only did she give me the confidence to go, she called and made the appointment for me and she sat with me while I explained to the doctor all of the horrible things that were going on inside my head. She prayed for me all the time. Prayer is so important. As a slight side note to all of this, I’m not here to give the church’s opinion on mental health issues. There simply isn’t enough blog posts that could sum up that can of worms. But just for the record, I don’t think I’m possessed by the devil or an evil spirit. I know that this isn’t what Jesus wants for me, that’s pretty clear. But what I do know is that Jesus is a healer. And he is healing me. That’s all that matters. So for anyone worried about where I might be coming from with all of this, it’s from a place of faith and comfort that Jesus is healing me. I know I don’t have all of the answers; I know I probably won’t ever have the answers as to why this happened to me or why I’m still going through the motions with it. But I do know that I believe in a God who is looking after me and will make all of this work out for good. Check out Romans 8:28 and Jeremiah 29:11 if you need some more – guess what? – encouragement. Or the classic John 1:5 I quoted in the first blog post EVER in the history of this blog.

ANYWAY. Christian rant over. (Kind of)

Encouragement can take so many forms, guys. From a text message to dropping off some chocolates or cake or even inviting someone over for a good old cup of tea. In the world we live in where communication is ridiculously easy nowadays, there is no excuse for no encouragement in this. Don’t do the overkill, it ends up having the opposite effect and kind of looks like a combo of all 3 of my ‘what not to say’ nuggets in the last one of these posts.

BUT – and I need to stress this, if your the friend who is in need of encouragement, try your hardest to accept it. I TOTALLY UNDERSTAND that when someone tells you you’re looking nice today and all you had the energy to do was get out of bed let alone wash your hair, or when they say you seem better but you know that you cry into your pillow each night and think about how much better off the world would be if you weren’t in it, it can be difficult to digest. But please, whatever you do, listen. Even if you only believe it or appreciate it for a second. It’s a start. And it’s worth it. YOURE WORTH IT. Those voices that tell you you’re not good enough or you dont matter to anyone or you’re better off dead? Don’t even give those voices a chance. Don’t you dare listen to them because they’re not true. How do I know this?

Because joy will always ALWAYS come. ALWAYS. Even if it’s the simplest thing, if it makes you smile, it’s here. And you need to be around for those moments. For those people you care about and for those dreams and hopes you have inside of you that you might have forgotten about along the way. You NEED TO BE HERE and you HAVE A PURPOSE. How do I know? Because Jesus said so. And being the Son of God, I reckon he knows what he’s talking about.

So be encouraged. You are loved. You are meant to be here, and you are good enough. Otherwise why would your friends bother with you in the first place if you weren’t? Let the love in.

Peace and blessings x

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