About the Author

Crystal is passionate about cultivating a community where faith, fitness, and friendship come together. Author of “Creative Basics: 30 Days to Awesome Social Media Art,” Crystal is a writer, speaker, host of the Write 31 Days challenge, and coach who shares encouragement at her blog, crystalstine.me. Connect with her on...

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  1. Crystal,
    Ironically…or perhaps in God’s counter-culture way, the more I encourage and lift others up, the more I am blessed by Him. I’ve been there, done that on the whole striving thing. Not that I don’t fall back into bad habits (pride is a tough illness to conquer), but I find that the more I take the back seat – working quietly behind the scenes – doing Kingdom work that doesn’t shine the spotlight on me, the more God gives me important jobs to do. In fact, this morning I am going to call on the powers that be at a large local Christian school in hopes that they will want to partner with our school in Pakistan. It’s been so long since I’ve stood in front of the room (lately I’ve been a last pew dweller) that I feel a bit like Moses – “but Lord, I am slow of speech.” God is dragging me back into the spotlight, but this time I go in weakness knowing that I depend TOTALLY on Him for the outcome. More of Him; less of me. That, to me is what encouragement is all about. Great post, Crystal!
    Blessings,
    Bev

    • Good morning! I start each day reading the latest post on Incourage and love seeing your encouraging comments to each writer! Praying for God’s peace and blessing to you today as you seek partnership from your local Christian school! May He fill you with His presence and the words to speak!

    • I too find that it lifts my spirits when I reach beyond myself to encourage others. What stinks though is when you get to those points where you feel you’re totally empty with nothing to give out. I was there lately. When pastor says to turn to your neighbor (which happens to be your best friend) and you can’t find something to say so you just hug her and say you’re sorry but you’re empty…that’s an awkward, weak spot to be. But…God in His faithfulness always knows best. He is good no matter what. And I’ll just keep walking, keep standing…and know that this too shall pass. I love to write, and I blog quite often in hopes of someone happening upon my page and being encouraged by what the Lord put in my heart and mind. Thanks for sharing. We sure do need each other! Blessings~

      • I’ve been there too recently. It’s really hard – and discouraging. I’m so sorry that’s where you’ve been, but so grateful that God is always more than enough for our empty places. xoxo

    • I love the idea of letting God poke holes in our pride…we all need a reality check to admit it’s God in us that makes us shine when doing His work!
      Blessings,
      Tracey

    • Bev,

      Praying the Lord will give you the words you need to say. Praying for peace and contentment in your heart.

      Blessings 🙂

  2. What a fantastic question to begin the day: Whom shall I encourage?

    Having just read a book about the 5 love languages, I’m pondering the notion that this will look different for all the different people in my heart.

  3. I am presently part of Jennifer Dukes Lee’s launch team for her book The Happiness Dare. Being a part of this group has encouraged me to go beyond my comfort zone. I will always remember the excitement of how I felt to be part of a group. Before being accepted on the team, I was honestly thinking of dropping of the face of social media. I find the most encouragement by encouraging total strangers. If I am going to be an encourager, I need to feed myself encouraging words from the bible or books like The Happiness Dare.

    • I can’t begin to tell you how much I love this! There is power in the invitation, isn’t there? And Jennifer’s book is WONDERFUL – I’m totally a “doer” 🙂 I’m so glad you didn’t drop off the face of social media!

      • What I realize now is that I need to connect with like minded people. Encouragement by fellow Christians is so important during these times that we face now. Thanks for your beautiful words of encouragement.

  4. Crystal, you are so right! As I spend my efforts in lifting others up, I find encouragement for myself. It can be so hard to celebrate others’ successes when you want what they have. But I find contentment settling over me as I rejoice over the good tidings of a friend. Thank you for this encourager’s encouragement!

    • I can’t begin to tell you how much I needed this reminder for myself over the last few weeks – it’s definitely hard (especially when social media allows us to see EVERYTHING everyone is doing) but so worth it!

  5. I’m actually going to order some personalized stationary and send out some encouraging notes to people today. Nothing like getting some unexpected snail mail!

  6. Crystal, you showed me an aspect of encouragement I hadn’t considered before. The self-less aspect of it. It’s much easier to encourage someone when they are going through some sort of hard that doesn’t relate to me personally. But to encourage someone who is receiving something I’ve yearned for? It’s sometimes hard for me to rejoice when they rejoice. I’m learning, though, that there is joy that God offers when I set myself aside and encourage them on their journey. I’ve been thinking for the last few days of someone I want to encourage as she celebrates having something I hope to have one day.

    Because really, it’s not about what I have or want, it’s about being Jesus with skin on to those around me. Encouraging is best when I can reflect Jesus to others in His beauty and purity, not marred by my own comparisons or “I want that” kind of attitude.

    Thanks for the reminder and the challenge to be an encourager to those around me.

  7. I love your candor and honesty. You have expressed a struggle of mine. Pride and jealousy and insecurity often make congratulating people feel like sand in my mouth and the shame builds as I wonder why I can’t just be happy for my friend(s). I am trying to lay this down before God and rest in the knowledge that someone else’s joy or success does not minimize who I am in Christ and I can let go of the “not good enough” and comparison reins. Thank you!

  8. Hi Crystal,

    Certainly something we have all struggled with at one time or another. In the past I used to brush it off, but now when I see jealousy take root I get on my knees in prayer. Oh, do I find myself there often. Thank the Lord he doesn’t give up on us!

  9. Crystal,
    You and Jesus know your internal motivations, but what I have witnessed online and experienced from you is nothing but authenticity and encouragement. Thanks for sharing what we don’t see; it’s where real transformation takes place. I am well acquainted with what you shared. I live in obscurity, watching others share a similar message and receive kudos. I believe that God has me here to simply do what you are talking about today: encourage others in their efforts and help women find those other great writers. Thanks for being one of them!

  10. Like many here, I’ve considered dropping out of social media for a time. It’s hard being the uplifter all the time, knowing if I needed help, I would likely not get it. So hard, this pride thing.

  11. Crystal, thanks be to the Lord for these encouraging words that you poured out here, for every reply and perspective. I have my struggles with pride and insecurity, feeling empty, and it is a great encouragement to hear that I am not alone, to hear God reassure and encourage all of us in these posts. I’ve learned that being in those small and supportive roles can be so grace-filled with learning, growth, humility, the equipping that the Lord builds and purifies us in so that we can do more of His will for us, so that we learn to surrender to His will and plan out of trust and not out of own. It’s a gentle opening of our hands to receive His will, to let go of our expectations and abandon ourselves to His timing and grace-its what the “joy of the Lord is our strength” is about. Thank you for helping me to connect some dots 🙂 May the Lord help us to continue to build each other up today that we may go out and do all that is His will for us today, together as one body in Christ 🙂

    PS Bev, I pray that your talk was so filled with the words of the Holy Spirit, your soul so at peace and restful in Him who loves us. You have this because He has you 🙂

  12. I believe we are called to encourage anyone we can, and not to be discouraged by someone wh isn’t receptive. i like Amanda’s idea of stationery. When my 80 something friend passed I had no one left to write to, everybody e mailed, but I have encouraged people to send cards to nursing homes.

  13. “Poke some holes in my pride.” This reminds me of a writing prompt from high school…”Would you rather be a candle or the mirror that reflects it?” I am pretty sure that I chose to be the mirror, but I wasn’t a believer then, so I can’t imagine what my reasons were. But as a believer now? Of course, I know there is only one true light, and I am not He! I think pride might be ugly black soot covering my mirror. Scrape it off, Lord! I want to reflect your light! Everywhere, always! Even onto others who are doing and succeeding at the things I am not quite accomplishing yet. Even when it is hard. Because Jesus.
    Thank you for sharing your real, Crystal. Me, too.

  14. Crystal,

    God gives each of us different gifts and abilities. Mine just happens to be encouragement. It is natural for me to send e-mails, cards or visit people and see how they are doing. This ends got new jobs and I got them a small gift and let them know I was praying for them. I’m letting my light shine and congratulating people on their accomplishments. I don’t just liken encouragement to people accomplishing something. I also attribute it to giving them the knowledge that I am for them in their efforts.

    Blessings 🙂

  15. Oh wow Crystal… Powerful!

    I love that you spoke about this. The blogging community can be beautiful or harsh right? When I began to try and write a bit more and put my words out there, I wondered if the “community” would really rally encouragement and celebrate effort like I had read that they would. We hear about the sweet value in reaching out and asking for help and wonder if there will for real be a response! Its just how it goes. I have to say I’ve been encouraged by real-time gals who are allowing Christ to shine through and appreciate the honesty in this place. We are better when choosing to admit we aren’t the only ones! #yes
    ~ Jen

    • Thank you so much Crystal. I needed this reminder this morning after a serious prideful fall last night. God is so amazing. He placed this scripture in my heart “The LORD will fight for you, you need only to be still.” Ex. 14:14. I reacted, when I should have been still and waiting on His counsel. Pushing forward in His truth. God bless you abundantly.

  16. Eek I have struggled with this recently too, but found the same truth – that in genuinely seeking to lift up others it in turn is poured back onto myself. I actually just wrote about this happening with today’s vlog I made. I didn’t “feel” like doing it because circumstances around me kind of had me stressed. But when I took my stuff outside, took a breath and prayed, the words just came and I ended up being uplifted myself. That is a God thing!!! I can not even put into words how thankful I am for the online Christian community. I decided even if it was just 1 person whom I could reach and encourage each week, then all my time and effort is worth it. Because people matter!!
    I am also doing the #TheHappinessDare and the shift in perspective is mind blowing. Thanks for sharing this, Crystal. I always love going to your social media sites because I know I will be uplifted and inspired. 🙂