The Power of Encouragement

I came across a video from a few years back, featuring Maggie Rogers in her recording class at New York University. The class has a guest presenter in Pharrell Williams, most widely known for his hit song “Happy”, which my daughter thinks is the greatest song ever. Watch the video below (click here email readers):

As of this week, Maggie has one of the top newly released albums in the world, and just a few months before this she was the featured musical guest on Saturday Night Live. In the music industry, Maggie has made it. Yet only 30 months ago she was a college student, completely unknown to nearly everyone outside her classmates. How did this happen?

Well first, Pharrell liked her music, which caused music executives to take notice. But I wonder if there’s something deeper that took place during the 10-minute video.

The entire video is absolute gold:

  • her timidness around a music star
  • her side glances while he listens to see if he likes it
  • his facial expressions while listening to her song
  • her shock when he shares some feedback

It’s quite possible she has far more confidence in herself and her music than she displays around Pharrell, but it’s also quite possible she needed to hear Pharrell say it was good, in order for her to believe it.

I think that’s how most of us are. We have at least some confidence that we’re doing a good job. This confidence comes and goes. Some days are better than others. But this confidence is always mixed with the question: are we doing a good job? The answer is usually up for grabs.

What most of us could use more of is encouragement; little reminders that people around us notice about the things we easily overlook. God is aware of our need for encouragement, to the point He commands it through his Word: “Encourage one another daily, as long as it is called ‘Today” (Hebrews 3:13).

I must confess, encouragement does not come naturally to me. I have to be hugely intentional about sharing affirming words with those around me, because most often I just assume people know they’re doing great. Here are a few encouragements to you if you want to become a better encourager:

1. Ask God to help you become a better encourager. It makes sense that if God commands something, He can also help you grow in that area.

2. Make encouragement part of your daily prayer time. If you pray for other people consistently, you are half-way to encouraging them.

3. Be specific, when possible. Specific encouragement is always better than general encouragement.