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Are You Encouraging Or Motivating?

Sep 13, 2023 | 0 comments

Do you know the subtle difference between encouraging someone and trying to motivate them? If you know it, and apply it, people will appreciate it!

We’re encouraging someone when we come alongside them in something they’re already motivated to do. We’re attempting to motivate them when we’re trying to get them to do what we think they should be doing. Some people call that nagging.

I’ll share an example of both. I was encouraging my husband when he voiced an interest in going on a mission trip to Haiti to work on some construction projects for an orphanage there. That was fine with me, so I helped him with all his preparations and kept the prayer team informed while he was gone. When he returned, we rejoiced together over all that the Lord had done.

The next example illustrates a time when I was trying to motivate my husband to do something. Tom and I were working on a presentation. I kept asking him if he had completed his parts. He kept saying he would when he was ready. We just got frustrated with each other. Finally, I realized what I was doing and stopped mentioning it.

It’s best to do things for people that they appreciate.

Questions for meditation and discussion: (1) Have you ever been accused of nagging? Did you think you were  just trying to be encouraging? How did that play out? (2) Have you ever found yourself trying to motivate someone to do what you felt they should be doing? How did they respond?

Application homework: Pay attention to whether you’re coming alongside someone in what they’re already motivated to do, or if you’re trying to get them to do what you think they should be doing? Focus on properly encouraging them in their pursuits and record how it goes.  Is there less strife in your relationship?


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