Encouragement Is Not One–Size–Fits All

Bethany Howard

Cheering each other on is a gift we give to each other. However, it is not one-size-fits all.

Encouragement is not a canned response that comes embossed on the 50 greeting card bundle from your favorite membership-based discount store. It is not a meme that can be used for anyone and everyone, whether they are running a race, struggling with a relationship, raising a spicy child or taking a step toward their dream.

One-size-fits all will not encourage the heart that is in need of strengthening.

In Mark 2, four friends encouraged their friend’s heart in a very specific way. Their friend, who was paralyzed, needed to meet Jesus, but Jesus was in a house that was so full people were spilling out of it. Their friend had a vibrant faith, and he knew now was the time to meet Jesus — there was just the issue of how to make it happen. They knew their friend, his need, and they were determined to support their friend in the way he needed it. They carried him on a mat, tore up the roof of the house and lowered their friend into the house to see Jesus. The friends did what they needed to do to support their friend, and Jesus took it from there.

Encouraging each other typically doesn’t involve tearing up a roof (it’s usually pretty simple stuff), but don’t let that make you forget its power. The power comes from being seen and known. There’s nothing like it. I pray you’ve experienced it. When I am seen for who I am, when my need is recognized and I am delivered to the feet of Jesus by those who love me, my heart hardly knows what to do with such a gift.

It’s mind-blowing and heartwarming that I can encourage someone in a way that is life-giving and that brings them to Jesus. What a gift it is to be a cheerleader for the women in my life by showing up to meet them where they are, in ways that are specific, both to their need and to who they are.

May you use the gift of encouragement, and may you be a recipient of it.


  • Do you have a friend in need of encouragement? How can you cheer her on in a way that is specific to who she is and what she needs?
  • What do you do once you are at the feet of Jesus? Do you stay long enough to be ministered to?

Bethany Howard (bethanyhoward.com)