I spent the beginning of the week in London, just enjoying a slower pace of life. My family came to visit on Wednesday and we had a lovely day playing crazy golf, having lunch, shopping and just catching up. Loved it.
I had another ace evening with my Church house group - opportunities to pray with each other, encourage each other and just do life together.
On Thursday I went to visit these crazies in Cardiff.
I used to work with Jon, Bethan and Rhiannon when I was in Aberystwyth - we hadn't seen each other since April/May so it was great to have a catch up. Jon cooked AMAZING steak and we managed to break a number of his glasses...it was an eventful evening.
On Friday I got a chance to meet up with Miriam, Josh, Rachel and baby Ivy - friends from Aberystwyth who I had last seen at Miriam's wedding in the summer. This was a joyful time of being able to encourage each other, hear about life in Wales and just be a part of my friends lives.
Then on Saturday I was able to catch up with my friend Sarah in Norfolk - we visited the sea and walked along the coast to Cromer. It was a BEAUTIFUL day!
As well as spending time with wonderful people I had ample travelling time with which to read. I spent some time reading through the book of Hebrews. There was one verse that particularly stood out to me.
"But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called ‘Today’, so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness." Hebrews 3:13
I was really struck by how something as simple as encouraging someone else actually has the potential to stop them falling into something they'll later regret. As far as I can see encouraging others has 3 benefits:
- That person feels cared about. In this increasingly isolated world people can feel like they don't matter, that no one notices them and that they don't have a place. Encouraging someone helps people to feel valued and that they belong.
- You help to guard that person against sin. When people feel valued there is less of a need to turn to other things in life in an attempt to satisfy - drink, sex, drugs, work etc.
- You feel good. Mark Twain said "The best way to cheer yourself up is to try to cheer someone else up". Encouraging others in turn helps us to feel like we have value.
I was thinking, what would our communities look like if we did encourage each other daily! If every day you were being reminded of your value to those around you. I think it would make a massive difference. I'm challenging myself to encourage more.