NAS: Encouragement

25 Oct

9b5b5-notalone5

Hey Friends!!!

Before we talk about today’s topic, I’m excited to share with you next month’s topics!

11/3: Single Scriptures (hosted by Lindsay)

11/10: Recipes for One

11/17: Rejection

11/24: Rewind

(We will expand on these topics in the coming weeks.)

And, we decided to have one last link-up in December before we take a break for the Advent and Christmas season.

So, December 1st’s topic will be an overview/resolutions/reflections/Advent post.  We haven’t nailed down the exact topic yet, so as with the other topics, we will keep you posted 🙂

Now, on to today’s topic!

Encouragement:

How do you give encouragement to other singles (or couples) who are struggling in their journey?

Today I’ll start with sharing my journey, and then finish with what advice I would give others for helping encourage other people.

If there is such a thing as a Fruit of the Holy Spirit that falls under the category of “encouragement”, then I have that.  I like to encourage people.

That’s because I’ve been there.  

You know, the place that no person likes to admit – that place where you feel alone, broken, ashamed and lost.

I want to encourage others who are in that place.

I felt this acutely in college.  It’s kind of hard for me to say and write this.

I felt like I wasn’t smart enough, pretty enough, prayerful enough, and definitely not confident, witty or clever enough.

I had (and still have) anxiety, and struggled a LOT in the past with scrupulosity (defined as “very concerned to avoid doing wrong”)

But by whose standards was I lacking in the smarts and the looks and the gifts???

In college I had a hard time finding a group of friends who weren’t “clique-y.”  I didn’t have a solid core group of friends, but I had friends in various circles and have remained in touch with to this day, despite the fact that none of us live in the same area of the country.

For a long time, I’ve enjoyed encouraging other people.

It’s because I have felt so lonely at times, and all I wanted was for someone to affirm me and encourage me.

We all go through periods of self-doubt and self-dislike.

Most of us go through that in high school.  For me, it started in high school and lasted through my college graduation.

What I have found to be most effective is encouraging other people through being in solidarity.

One of the best ways that we can connect with people is through finding shared experiences

and in being grateful for what we have, and to avoid focusing on what we lack.

And.

Do not judge.

Let me repeat.

Do not judge.

(Do not mistake this or misinterpret this to think that I am condoning sinful or immoral lifestyles or actions. 

We all need to judge actions.  That’s what is means to be responsible and mature. 

To judge a person or their heart is not our job – that’s God’s job.)

Real life story:

In college, there was a girl who was loud, went out with the drinking crowd, seemed kinda ditzy, and who I didn’t feel connected to.

I kinda wrote her off cause I thought she was part of the party crowd, and someone who I didn’t have anything in common with.

(Yeah, I did that….)

Then, during my junior year when we were in the same group that traveled abroad together, my misconceptions came and hit me square in the face.

She was loud, yes, but she had a great sense of humor and was a very interesting girl.  She was smart.  She was compassionate, and she was fun.

And I realized that my quickness to judge was a mistake.  I had judged her, and had missed out on really getting to know this classmate who ended up being my housemate the next year!

Point being, meet people where they are at, find common ground, and build a relationship.

Encourage others through prayer.

Encourage other people by finding joy in who. they. are.

Loud?  Funky?  Nerdy?  Goofy?

Invite them to sing karaoke!

Ask them for ideas on funky presents for Christmas!

Need help updating your computer or iPhone?  Ask the “nerd”!

Goofy?  They can probably whip your behind in “Catch Phrase.”

Encourage their talents!

Is your friend lonely or struggling in their single-hood?

Invite them to go get coffee or dinner with you.

Encourage them to be people of prayer.  God has a plan for each one of us.  Perhaps remind them, ”  You are not alone.”  “You are enough.”   “You are a catch!”

Ask questions:

How has your week been?

How was your test?

How was the meeting on Monday?

What are you thankful for today?

By sharing your solidarity, you are encouraging both them and yourself.  Because in doing so, neither of you are alone, and if you’re like me, you will get a lot of energy and fulfillment from encouraging and affirming your friends.

Now, it’s your turn.  How do you encourage others?

Share your thoughts below, and link to Lindsay’s blog too.

If you have suggestions for future topics, comment below!

If you’re interested in writing a guest post, let me know!  I’d love to host you!

Until next time,

Love and prayers,

Rachel

 

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6 Responses to “NAS: Encouragement”

  1. followingfaith528 October 27, 2015 at 10:57 am #

    Rachel, oh my goodness!! you are my long lost virtual twin! I can relate to all you posted. As someone who struggles with perfectionism and feeling alone at times, your post is chalk-full of wisdom and wonderful suggestions. Thanks for sharing your journey and spot-on ideas. I especially loved the, do not judge, reminder. 🙂

    • Rfog October 27, 2015 at 3:24 pm #

      Hello, lovely!! Your comment made me smile 🙂 I love the idea of being “virtual twins!” Lol 🙂 I love the fact that even though most of us here have never met in person, that we can still relate so much and share our journeys together.

  2. Lindsay October 31, 2015 at 6:16 pm #

    I love Catchphrase! I have been guilty of making snap judgments before, too. And I was extra grateful for a friend who had my back today. I missed the link-up, but there is my post:

    http://lindsayloves.com/2015/10/31/nas-encouraging-advice/

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. NAS: Encouragement | Proverbial Girlfriend - October 27, 2015

    […] up with Rachel and […]

  2. NAS: Encouragement | catholicgirlsunfiltered - October 27, 2015

    […] See more on encouragement from Rachel Fogarty and other NAS people! […]

  3. Not Alone Series: Encouraging Advice | Lindsay Loves - October 31, 2015

    […] Link up with Rachel at Keeping It Real! […]

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