6 Inspiring Questions to Ask Before Writing Your Social Media Content

6 Inspiring Questions to Ask Before Writing Your Social Media Content

It’s not easy to come up with new content for social media posts. Simply said, it’s hard to know what to say. Social media marketing is (obviously) important as you work to promote the products and services you offer in your business. Social media channels have proven value in building awareness and trust for your brand. While it’s not easy, there is a simple hack to develop a solid posting strategy. By asking 6 questions before writing your social media content, you’ll always have a compelling message.

 

Developing a Strategy for Your Social Media Content

 

Nearly every business owner has been there, staring at her keyboard, wondering what in the world to post each day on Facebook, Instagram, Linkedin, or other social media channels. Content ideas don’t often flow naturally. Having a predetermined strategy can be helpful, but let’s be honest. Developing an overarching strategy for your social media content can feel like a daunting task. It feels like all pressure of a single post on steroids. Suddenly you’re not thinking of one post to write, but a myriad of posts, and you find yourself wondering if it’s worth it. 

 

How much easier could it be to manage your social media accounts when you know exactly what to say?  When it comes down to the nitty-gritty, crafting the words is by far the hardest part of social media.  By asking yourself key questions before you begin, you can make the process much easier. When you consider the right questions, your content will practically write itself—and be more engaging and enjoyable for your audience. 

Writing Engaging Social Media Content

 

When you post on social media, no matter how professional you keep your posts, you’re putting a small piece of yourself out there. It’s easy to feel scrutinized each time you post. What will my friends think if I’m too business-oriented? What will my clients think if I get too personal?  It feels vulnerable to publish any type of content. That vulnerability adds to the enormous pressure that we already put on ourselves when deciding what to write. Writing content that engages your audience just shouldn’t be so hard. 

 

I get it.    

 

Our team has managed social media accounts for our clients for nearly 5 years and has established some best practices that draw followers into an interesting story.  

 

We understand that social media is a great platform to help customers know, like, and trust your brand. We also know that it’s a ton of work. That’s why it doesn’t make sense to waste the energy or the opportunity by putting out mediocre posts. 

 

Creating a Memorable Social Media Strategy

 

There is a simple way to make sure your message is interesting and memorable to your social media followers. By taking some extra time at the front-end of your planning, you’ll begin to reap great rewards with your social media activity. Imagine how it will feel when your followers begin to engage, or when they sign up for your freebie, or better yet—make a purchase. How would it boost your confidence to get DM’s that thank you for sharing your wisdom and making life better for those you reach? 

 

These are the types of results we see from social media channels week after week. And it all stems from 6 simple questions that we ask before drafting posts. The series of questions will help you draft a collection of posts and add to your overall social media content strategy. 

 

 Want to know those 6 questions? Here they are:

 

Question1:  What do I want my followers to remember? 

 

Social media content that rambles on without making a point will annoy and frustrate your target audience.  It shows them that you have nothing meaningful to say and that reading your posts is not worth their time. Instead, when you stick to a clear main point and give them something to remember, they’ll come back and engage with your posts time and again. 

 

Question 2: How can I help my followers overcome a problem?

 

By showing your followers that you understand the problem they face and that you have a plan to help them, you’ll develop loyalty and trust. Your posts will draw them into a story of their own success.  Consider your own expertise and what problem you can best help them solve. Then use your social media content to show them that you’re here to help. 

 

Question 3: How can I empathize with followers and share my credibility? 

 

In order to guide your followers to the transformation they desire, you’ll need to show them you care. Help them see that you understand what they’re going through and that you feel their pain. Consider sharing a short personal story that paints a picture of a similar problem you’ve overcome. Mention any certifications or experience that you have that relate to the assistance you share. This will convey your expertise and make you a credible source of help. 

 

 

Question 4: What is my plan to help them solve their problem?

 

People want to follow someone who has a plan. So, be sure to give them a 3-step plan for engaging with your brand. Now I realize there may be a lot of steps involved in your process, but summarizing them in three key steps will help your customers see how easy it is to do business with you. They’ll also begin to see their own success as just a few steps away. 

 

Step one can be your primary call to action, such as “Take my course.”  Step two can be the execution phase—something similar to “Apply what you learn.” Step three is the success phase, such as, “Fulfill your dreams as a writer.” 

 

Question 5: How will my customer’s life look better because of the solution I offer?

 

Here’s where you’ll really use your writing skills and show them what success will look like. If you’re helping them quit smoking, paint a picture of the money they’ll save, the weddings they’ll attend for the grandchildren, and the long life they’ll enjoy with their spouse. Don’t just tell them they’ll have success, help them envision exactly how it will look and feel.

 

Question 6:  What action do I want my customer to take next? 

 

Never forget to call your followers to action. What next step do you want them to take to engage with you? Do you want them to comment on your post? Ask them to do so inside your social media content. Should they visit your website? Invite them to follow the link you provide or see the link in your profile. If you want them to sign up for your course or download your freebie, give them instructions and help them along. When you clearly call your customers to action, you’re demonstrating that you are confident in the help you provide. 

 

Asking 6 inspiring questions before you compose your social media content will help ensure that your followers will engage and deepen the trust they have for your brand. You’ll give them many reasons to keep reading your posts and to see you as a source of help. 

 

I invite you to download the printable worksheet that you can use repeatedly as you plan out our social media content. The worksheet provides room to write out your answers to these 6 helpful questions then use your answers as a tool to organize your content strategy. 

 

Download the free worksheet here.

 

By asking 6 questions before writing your social media content, you’ll always have a compelling message that you can also use for blog posts and other content marketing. Your followers will remember your posts and continue to think about them even after they’ve logged off.  Remember to download your checklist here

 

You can do this!

 

Instead of wondering what to say in each post on different social media platforms, take some time to consider the expertise and wisdom you have to share with your followers. There’s no one on earth who can help them in your unique way. So walk through these 6 simple questions and enrich your content so that it becomes more exciting and memorable. Invite your customers into a story of their own journey to success and they’ll follow wherever you lead.

 

 

 

How to Write an About Page That’s Guaranteed to Engage Your Audience

How to Write an About Page That’s Guaranteed to Engage Your Audience

It’s a question I hear often. As I introduce brands to the idea of bringing the power of story into their professional marketing strategy, it often brings a moment of confusion. Small business owners who want to transition their message from self-focused to customer-centric often ask, “How do I write an about page that engages my audience?” 

 

There’s some tension and even a bit of mystery around the idea of focusing on your customer while writing copy about your company. So it’s a fair question. 

 

The powerful truth is—writing content that focuses on your customer, will increase conversions and result in higher sales. Your about us page is no exception. 

 

 

As You Write an About Page, Show The Problem You Solve

 

A visitor comes to your business website for help with a problem, hoping your product or service can help them win the day. When you make your brand the hero of the story in your business messaging, you are inadvertently driving them away. But when you can write copy that shows visitors how your products can transform their lives, they will pay attention. Over time, they will become loyal, raving fans of your professional brand.

 

Imagine what would happen if you began to write your message to show customers you care about them and their success? How would a visitor react if they realized that you wanted to help them become the hero of their own story? When you make all of your business messaging about your customer—including your about us page—you’ve made huge progress in an effective marketing strategy.  

 

Shouldn’t Our Company Page Focus on Us?

 

Believe it or not, the about us page of your business website should not be entirely about your professional brand. Instead, it’s an opportunity to strengthen your writing show how your company will serve as a helpful guide. Your about page can convey your ability—and your passion—to help a client find the success of their dreams. An effective marketing strategy for your business should include writing content as an engaging story that conveys your empathy and credibility. It will show the confidence you have in your products and services. Remember, insecure people talk about themselves; confident people focus on others. And it shows. 

 

Obviously, the about us page is the perfect place to tell your story, how you’ve walked in the shoes of your client, and how you overcame adversity to achieve success. Tell the concise story that equips you to help them find success of their own. By conveying your empathy and authority, you’ll help a new client trust you as a helpful guide.

 

Why Play the Guide When You Write an About Page?

Every customer wants to be the hero in their own story. But in every good story, the hero needs support from a helper in order to succeed. They need a guide to give encouragement, critical tools, and wisdom so they can win the day. Marty McFly needed Doc. Simba needed Rafiki. Even Iron Man needed Pepper Potts. 

 

In the movies, we rarely get to see the back story of the guide. For example, we know very little about Yoda, the guide Luke Skywalker relies upon to become a Jedi Warrior. In The Hunger Games, Haymitch guides Katness to success in the arena, yet we don’t learn his backstory until the second movie. Even then, we discover very little about him. 

 

As you guide your customers to success, use your about page as an opportunity to give a few highlights of your backstory. As your story unfolds, it should emphasize how you are best equipped to help your customer, and it should always remain client-focused. If you position yourself as a hero, your customers will lose interest. But when you show them how heroic they can become themselves, they will actively engage with your brand.

 

Tell Your Story—Not Your History—on Your Web Page

 

Believe me, I understand the tension. As a Story Brand Certified Guide, I work with clients every day who want to tell too much of their history on their about page or even worse on their home page. The truth is they’re proud of the history of their company—as they should be. The story of a brand’s history—how much work their grandfather did to start the company or how two best friends took a risk right out of college—puts a brand into the role of hero.  

 

It’s not that the sentimental story should never be told, but it is best reserved for informal conversations that come much later in the customer journey. As you work to attract new customers to your business, playing the guide of the story you tell will help potential customers start to know, like, and trust you. They will listen and engage with your brand and buy your products when they know that you genuinely care about their success.  

 

Purchase your copy here!

 

A 3-Step Template to Writing A Compelling About Page and Examples

 

There is a simple, formulaic way to write your about page in a way that stays customer-centric. The words you choose will send a clear message to your customer about your experience and understanding of the problem that they face. Use the following prompts as a template to write your company’s about us page:

 

1.) Start With The Problem Your Target Customer Faces 

 

As with all messaging, readers are drawn in when you start with a problem as you write. In movies, there really is no story until a problem surfaces. A movie or a television show about an easy life with no conflict is not interesting. When writing copy for web pages, starting with a problem that our customers can identify with will quickly capture their attention.   

 

When you start to write your about page, immediately address the problem that your target customer faces. Explain that you understand what they’re going through, what it is they want, the obstacles that are in their way, and how you can help them work toward success.

 

2.) Write to Show You Understand How They Feel 

 

The next part of the marketing template for an about us page is to show empathy. Many brands are becoming more vocal about helping customers solve a problem. But you can take the marketing strategy even deeper and help your company message stand out in a noisy marketplace. That’s what an interesting story will do.

 

How? By identifying with how your target customer feels if they face the problem. When you identify with their pain points, show you know their internal struggle, and have experienced the emotions of encountering this problem, the doors to trust will open.  A customer inwardly says, “She really knows what I’m going through, and I trust her to help me out.”

 

3.) Write Your Story (Not Your Business History) and Why You’re So Passionate About Helping

 

Once You have shown potential customers that you know what they’re facing and how they feel, and even that you know what injustices they’re battling, that is the time to begin to share an overview of your story. Keep it concise—write in a way that is as easy to read and scannable as possible. Paint the picture of your personal experiences that brought you to this point. Explain why you are so driven to help others. Then detail how your work with other customers has delivered success and transformation.

 

To give you some examples of compelling about us pages, I’ll share my own and a couple of others I love:

 

www.cathymcintosh.com/about

https://cornishmarketing.co.uk/about-us/

 

Why You Should Write an Update for the About Your Company Page

 

Most businesses focus their energy and attention on the website’s home page and sales pages. However, the about us page is generally the second most visited page on your website. People do want to know about the company they’re doing business with, and you can score a home run when you write your about us message carefully. 

 

So take the time to write an update to your about page. Even if you only write small changes and start making your about us page more customer than company-focused, you can see results. Imagine hearing potential customers say, “I feel like you really get me” or “I knew right away that you could help me with my problem.”  It makes all the effort worth it when you earn the trust needed to move your target customers to action and guide them into the transformation they seek. 

 

Remember, the message on your website will help your customers keep your brand top of mind. Your website copy is a great place to focus on your customer and demonstrate how much you care. When you craft a strong message for your brand and invite your customers into a story about their own success, it will increase your website engagement and result in higher sales. It’s a simple (but not always easy) thing that goes a very long way.

 

Share Your Progress!

As you start to write and update your about us page I would love to see your finished work! Please share it with me in the comments or through email

 

Rather than positioning yourself as a hero and telling your history on your about us page, use this valuable real estate on your website to show your customers that you care and are well equipped to help them overcome a problem they face. Paint the picture of their transformation and help them see how good their life can be when they follow the plan you provide.

 

It’s not your history your customers want to hear it’s your story. And they will engage with you more quickly when you show them you’re on their side and have a plan to help. Give them a reason to trust you with their business. All of this can be done as you write the copy for you about us page. 

 

 

 

 

 

3 Key Aspects of an Engaging Elevator Pitch for Your Small Business

3 Key Aspects of an Engaging Elevator Pitch for Your Small Business

Nearly every small business owner understands the importance of having a good elevator pitch—a prepared introduction to your products or services that you can recite in 30 seconds or less (the time it takes to ride from floor to floor in an elevator). It’s a phenomenal tool for networking and has many other benefits as well. The problem is, it’s hard to pare down what we think is important when we’re passionate about our business. I’ve often been asked, “how do you write a killer elevator pitch?” 

Think of delivering your pitch this way:  It’s a short learning exercise that will encourage someone to remember what you do and how you can help them (or someone they know). By including 3 key aspects in your 30-second elevator pitch, you can stir others to become excited to engage with your business. Here’s how:

A Simple Way to Pitch Your Brand

I’m always surprised to see the number of business owners and ministry leaders who are uncomfortable sharing what they do. They don’t want to feel pushy or sales-y. When they envision telling someone about their products or services, they imagine themselves as a used car salesman in a bright yellow suit. It’s no wonder they choose to keep silent. 

It shouldn’t be so hard to muster the courage to share what you do. And with the right elevator pitch, it doesn’t have to be. 

Consider a conversation with a person who shows a need for something you offer. Suddenly you see how you can actually help them. Your demeanor changes. You straighten your shoulders, speak with more clarity, and portray a level of confidence you didn’t know you had. Suddenly, you’re talking about your company with authority and purpose. You feel the assurance of your giftedness and it shows. 

When you include the right aspects into your pitch (also called a one-liner), you can walk into any conversation with that level of certainty. 

What Do You Say in an Elevator Pitch?

When someone asks you what you do—even if it’s one of those passing questions and you suspect they’re simply making conversation—it can be easy to draw them into a meaningful conversation.

Remember that you’ve worked hard to develop your craft and make a career out of your passion to benefit others. You have what it takes to make a difference in the lives of others—to help them overcome a problem or challenge. That leads us to step one of in this face-to-face way of promoting your company:

1) Identify the problem that your customers face.

Let’s face it. Most people feel a need to talk about the problems they encounter. They want to know that someone else understands what they’re going through. Most want to know they’re not alone and they search for any help available. 

So, when you share the problem that your potential customer faces, you’ve started a strong pitch for your company. You’ve given yourself a comfortable way to connect with and grow your audience.   

The second step of the plan is equally simple:

2) Share your solution you offer.

Whether you’re in ministry or business, selling products or services, or offering support through a non-profit, you’re offering a solution that your customers need. The next phase of your sales statement is to demonstrate how you can help. You’ve shown them that you understand the problem they face, now convey a short, simple statement about how you can help. 

Since your aim is to recite your pitch in under 30-seconds, you don’t have a lot of time to get into nitty-gritty details. Give them a birds eye view of the solution you deliver—just enough to create some curiosity and make them want to know more. Share how you can help in a clear and compelling way. 

Then you can move on to the final step of the plan:

3) Show them the benefit of doing business with your company.

By showing empathy for their struggle and demonstrating your carefully planned solution,  you’re ready to hit the ball out of the park. It’s time to share the benefits they’ll enjoy when they engage with your brand. Paint a picture of how much better their life can be when they’re free of the problem they’re facing.

Use visual words and paint a clear picture of success. They won’t reach the same conclusions on their own, so invest all the time you need as you create this portion of your pitch. Describe how much better their situation will look, feel, sound, and even smell (if that’s appropriate) by engaging with your company, brand, or organization. 

Using Your Pitch Beyond the Elevator

Not only is a clear, compelling elevator pitch a helpful tool in networking situations, it can shine in other parts of your promotional collateral as well. You can use your “one-liner” (which refers to the single statement, not necessarily a single sentence) to showcase what you do. . .

  • On the homepage of your company website
  • In your “about us” section 
  • In your bio
  • As an opening or closing remark in a promotional video
  • On your sales page
  • And many other places as well

In reality, an elevator pitch is rarely used in an elevator, so bust it out and use it whenever possible to show empathy for your potential customers, showcase your ability to help, and paint a picture of success for those you serve. It’s a small but mighty tool for your company. It does more than help your audience engage, it can generate new leads, website visits, and even sales!

For more examples of engaging elevator pitches and ways to use them beyond the elevator, I invite you to check out The Ultimate Marketing Guide for Non-Marketers.  

Is an Elevator Pitch Really This Simple?

I’m one of those shy, introverted, business-minded professionals who used to struggle to share what I do. Truth be told, making conversation with strangers is not a strong point and I’d much rather stare at my smartphone in an elevator than tell someone about my business or my career. 

When I developed my one-liner, however, things changed. Not in an elevator per se, but in a variety of networking settings. When I attend events with my husband or meet new people at a dinner party, it’s inevitable that someone will ask, “What do you do?” Now I have a prepared answer to provide. It only takes a few seconds to say, it feels comfortable, and I’m often amazed at the conversation that follows. 

An Example of an Elevator Pitch

When asked what I do, I can say, “I’m a business growth coach,” which is slightly descriptive. Or I can say “Writers and ministry professionals often struggle to apply strong business principles. I offer coaching through proven methods and frameworks to help them reach a wider audience and grow their brand.” 

Even if the person I’m talking to isn’t a writer or a ministry professional, they likely know someone who encounters the problem I’ve described. If they personally don’t need my help, I can see their mind filling with names and faces of others who might. Then, when I paint the picture of success, it opens new doors. Suddenly it becomes easy for them to ask for my website or schedule a consultation. 

I no longer step away after meeting someone agonizing over a missed opportunity. I feel confident that I’ve presented myself in a professional, helpful manner. Even more impressive are the new contacts I’ve made, some of which have resulted in website visits, product purchases, and coaching agreements. 

How to Writer a One-Liner and Get the Job Done

Because your one-liner (aka elevator speech) is such a foundational component of promoting your brand, I’ve included step-by-step instructions in one of my most popular products: The Ultimate Marketing Guide for Non-Marketers. It breaks down each piece of your pitch into surprisingly simple steps that help you create, analyze, and fully develop your one-liner. The guide also provides several practical examples of elevator pitches that our team has created for businesses. Reviewing realistic examples will help you say “I can do this!” and confidently move through the process. 

I understand that most people don’t start a business or ministry because they can’t wait to market it. They love helping people, not promoting what they do. Most of the time it feels awkward to “self-promote” but it doesn’t have to. With the right tools, you can promote your brand by using proven methods and frameworks taken in bite-sized chunks. You can feel comfortable and at ease while sharing what you do and the Ultimate Marketing Guide will show you how. I invite you to purchase your copy today. It’s a low-cost but highly impactful resource that you can use for each product, service, or aspect of your business or ministry. 

Feeling Confident in Your Pitch

When you include the right aspects into your pitch (also called a one-liner), you can walk into any conversation with confidence and certainty. Incorporating the three vital aspects of identifying the problem, sharing your solutions, and showing the benefits of what you offer can be a game-changer for your organization.

Stop losing contact and sales because you don’t know what to say. By writing a pitch and practicing to memorize it, you’ll free yourself of the paralysis that strikes when you meet someone new. An engaging elevator pitch will make sure you’re always prepared to show the effective job you deliver for your customers.  

Polishing Your Elevator Speech

After you’ve worked to write a good elevator pitch, I’m happy to provide you with feedback. It’s incredibly beneficial to gain insight from someone who isn’t familiar with your company and can strengthen your communication to an outsider. Simply schedule a free appointment and I’ll help you put an extra layer of polish on your pitch. 

And if you just need a little extra encouragement to get the job done right, don’t forget to grab your copy of The Ultimate Marketing Guide for Non-Marketers. It provides all you need to walk through every stage of the process so that you feel confident when you say your pitch and make potential customers excited to engage with your brand. 

Creating your elevator pitch is something you may have put off doing. But I encourage you to generate yours as soon as possible.  When you practice saying it until it feels comfortable to deliver, you’re sure to be amazed at the way it will help you generate new leads, website visits, and even sales!

3 Practical Ways to Love One Another as the Bible Teaches

3 Practical Ways to Love One Another as the Bible Teaches

With all the unraveling of our social spheres over the last 12 months, it feels as if our society has forgotten how to love one another. Deep down, I know that’s not entirely true. Yet as I look around our hurting world and the ease so many seem to find in attacking each other from behind electronic screens or scowling from behind masks, it seems we could all use a fresh perspective on what it looks like to love like Jesus, just as we’re taught in the Bible. 

 

As Christians, how can strengthen our society through acts of love? In Christ, we have such power—and the impact could be greater than we imagine. 

This post contains affiliate links. Please see our disclosure statement. 

 

The lack of love we currently see in our world comes with dire consequences. Distrust is running rampant making us feel segmented—rather than unified—as a culture. It spurs loneliness, depression, anxiety, and also fear about the future. Deep in our hearts and spirits, we know it shouldn’t be this way. 

 

Loving people is important for so many reasons. It reflects the love God has for His creation. Our obedience in this area helps display the Gospel of Jesus, and love is highly contagious. The more we give it to others, they, in turn, will begin to love. We identify ourselves as ambassadors of Christ—as His followers and His representatives—when we love the people of our world. 

Pursuing a 1st John Kind Of Love

 

It isn’t always easy, even when we earnestly seek to obey the new commandment of the Bible. What seems like a lifetime ago, I connected with a small group of Christians who had a strong desire to love well. A few of the leaders in this group shared practical ways they felt our group could show greater affection and respect toward the people we met. The group seemed to go along with a few of the ideas but showed reluctance to many of them. It was an incredibly eye-opening experience. 

 

As we worked to put the desire to love into action, disunity crept into our group. Members disagreed about how we should show it, and which of our comforts we should lay down in order to help our community feel more welcome in our midst. As I walked through this struggle with my brothers and sisters in Christ, I felt both confused and disheartened.

The Blessing of Obedience

In 1 John, we’re taught that God’s love is perfected in disciples who walk in obedience to Him. We can know that we’re abiding intimately with Him when we are walking in His footsteps, doing as He did when He walked this earth. 

 

Each of us is called to follow hard after Jesus and do as He does. Radically speaking, this requires sacrifice. It requires selfless unconditional devotion toward others, and a willingness to decide to love even when feelings and emotions resist. That degree of obedience is hard to find. Even in Christianity, loving like Jesus is too often curbed by earthly motivations and current moods.

 

We read that Christ left His throne and came to earth as a man to walk among us. He laid down His life for you and for me. He was scorned, battered, ridiculed, and also beaten for us. The Son of God didn’t offer casual love, but radical love evidenced by radical sacrifice. We are called to do the same for others. If we aim to love like Jesus, there should be nothing that we are unwilling to do for or share in order to show that we love one of our brothers or sisters. And yet, our humanly hesitations prevail.

 

Acting in the Strength of Jesus

 

The entire experience within our small group opened my eyes to the limits humans often put on the love we extend. According to the sentiments of our group, it was fine to love one another so long as the group didn’t have to give up some of the comforts that they held dear. Though we’d read the Bible and desired to obey, we still had much to learn as disciples of Jesus. 

 

Sadly, this hesitant attitude toward love permeates pockets of Christianity and too few are willing to sacrifice in our love for one another. 

 

If there is one thing that our broken society has revealed, it is our lack of Bible-directed love for one another. As a society, and even more pointedly as disciples of Jesus, we’ve fallen short of the love that he’s called us to share. We can all do better. We must learn to let the love of Jesus course through our own veins so we can love as He does—not in our own strength, but in His. Christ will help His disciples walk in His ways and at the same time, grow our faith and the expression of our spiritual gifts. 

 

Helpful Encouragement to Love One Another from the New Testament 

 

Jesus gave His followers a new command, saying in John 13:34-35 (ESV), “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”

 

The question becomes, how to love according to the Bible and the commandment that Christ gave in John 13. In the simplest terms, there are three practical ways:

Speak it

Show it

Receive it


Speak Love to One Another

We all know the power of words. Proverbs 18:21 in the English Standard Version says “Death and life are in the power of our words.” They can tear people down or build them up and Ephesians 4:29 (ESV) instructs that we use our words so they give grace to those who hear. 

 

 

As a tenet of Christianity, we’re taught in the Bible to guard our words and use them carefully. We’re to use our words to speak life. 1 Thessalonians 5:11 (CSB) exhorts, “Therefore encourage one another and build each other up as you are already doing.” 

 

Learning to love is one of our primary callings of the New Testament. But how do we draw near to God and use our words as Jesus directed in the new commandment? 

A Menu of Helpful Options

 

In her book Gracelaced, Author Ruth Chou Simons shares ways to use our words to encourage and build up. She says,

 

“Speak reminders of freedom in Christ. . .

Speak the joy of forgiveness in Him. . .

Speak encouragement for weariness. . .

Speak truth that convicts. . .

Speak warning of sin’s lies and deception. . .

Speak friendship and care for the battles ahead. . .”

 

These are tender reminders of practical ways to use our words kindly. We are to care for others as we care for ourselves. We can offer verbal encouragement for their spiritual health, their struggles with sin, and their connection to Christ—just as much as their physical well-being, their professional integrity, and matters within their families. 

Show One Another

Obedience stretches beyond our words and should permeate our actions also. In the Bible, obey Jesus and do as He does. We are to walk in good works (Ephesians 2:10, ESV), give to the needy (Matthew 6:2, ESV), and show acts of kindness for others (Hebrews 13:16, TPT).  

Practically speaking, as a child of God and in His power, we can each show love to one another by

  • Praying for them
  • Listening and seeking understanding before we speak
  • Delivering a meal for a family that is facing a challenge
  • Celebrating together 
  • Sending cards or notes of encouragement through text or mail (If you don’t know what to say, a Bible verse is often well-received)
  • Being vulnerable with them 
  • Including new people in ordinary activities that you enjoy
  • Sharing books or resources that may be helpful
  • Supporting a cause that’s important to them
  • Share opportunities to develop their spiritual gifts
  • Generously providing for the needy 
  • And so much more

 

No matter the way that you choose to demonstrate it, you are showing that you care about them and esteem them as a person. I don’t know a single person that isn’t encouraged and built up by feeling valued. 

 

Receive Love From One Another

 

Too often in Christianity, we’re eager to improve the way we show esteem, yet reluctant to receive it in return. It’s often our pride that hinders us from accepting help or encouragement from those around us. The truth, however, is that It’s a privilege to receive encouragement and help from others. And it’s also a gift from God, Himself. 

 

Receiving from Jesus is how we put our faith in action. It’s He who equips us to love in His strength rather than our own. Along the same lines, receiving the encouragement that others share is one way that we, in turn, receive it from God.  

 

Our Heavenly Father placed us in a community—a community where each of His followers reflects all that dHe feels for us. When we reject it from others, we in essence reject the love of the Father. When we reject their help and encouragement, we forsake a meaningful gift that He shares with us. 

 

Helpful Encouragement from Jesus—in John 17 

 

John chapter 17 shows us the prayers of Jesus. In His closing words—while praying for you, me, and all Believers—He prays that the “love you have loved me with may be in them and I may be in them” (John 17:26, CSB). Another version puts it this way, that which “You have bestowed upon Me may be in them [felt in their hearts] and that I [Myself] may be in them” (John 17:26, AMP). 

 

Jesus prayed that the Father’s love would flow through Him, that we’d experience in our hearts, and reveal it to those around us.  May we learn to speak love, show it, and receive it. All for His glory.

What Does The Bible Say About Loving God and Also One Another?

The Bible is rich with encouragement from Jesus and His disciples to love God and each other. I invite you to meditate and pray through each of the verses shared below. Our aim as Christ-followers should be to abide with Jesus so fully that His love flows naturally through us. 

 

Helpful Bible Verses About Showing Love to One Another

(Verses are from the English Standard version)

 

Psalm 63:3

Because your steadfast love is better than life, my lips will praise you.

Proverbs 10:12 

Hatred stirs up strife, but love covers all offenses.

Luke 10:27

And he answered, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself.”

John 14:15

“If you love me, you will keep my commandments.

John 15:12

“This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.

Romans 12:10

Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor.

Ephesians 4:2

With all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love,

1 John 2:15-17

Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride in possessions—is not from the Father but is from the world. And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever.

1 John 3:18

Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth.

1 John 4:18

There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love.

1 John 4:19

We love because he first loved us.

1 John 5:3

For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments. And his commandments are not burdensome.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Spiritual Journals—A 4-Step Formula to Begin

Spiritual Journals—A 4-Step Formula to Begin

A 4-Part Formula to Start Spiritual Journals

 

I’ve often tried to adopt the daily practice. But with spiritual journals, I find I use them more frequently when I’m trying to sort out decisions or seek Biblical direction. I journal in a variety of ways when I feel the Holy Spirit prompt, “Don’t miss this,” or when I’m trying to untangle my thoughts. 

 

Recently, though, I’ve discovered a lot of peace when journaling my spiritual journey on a day-to-day basis. The daily practice reminds me to focus on our Savior and seek His ways as I navigate life. 

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What are Spiritual Journals or Spiritual Notebooks?

 

A spiritual journal is simply a notebook or a document on your device reserved for writing thoughts. More than just recording events of your day, spiritual journals will record how we see the Lord’s involvement in our daily lives.  

 

Types of Journals for Your Spiritual Walk

 

The types are as endless as your own imagination, but a few of the most commonly used spiritual journal ideas include:

 

  • Prayer journals (listing out your prayers so you can watch for and record answers)
  • Journals that pair with Bible studies (helping you internalize and apply what you learn)
  • Sermon journals (writing down the inspiration that comes from spiritual leaders)
  • Spiritual growth journals (detailing your intentional activities to draw near to God)
  • “God” sighting journals (recording where you see the Lord moving in your life, answering prayer, providing for needs, directing your path, etc.)
  • A Gratitude Journal (naturally, to record your thanks)
  • Spiritual Gift Journal (to convey how you use or develop your spiritual gifts)
  • And many more

What Is the Best Journal?

 

There are a plethora of options, but the best journals are the ones that you will actually use. I find it beneficial to shop around and pay a little bit more for a journal I enjoy opening and using each day. My spiritual walk is a gift that I want to document appropriately. If funds are tight, you can always add your favorites to your wishlist or ask for them as a gift. 

 

For writing about spiritual matters, I’ve experimented with a 3-ring notebook (smaller versions work well for me), composition notebooks (especially if they’re cute), spiral notebook (these are super fun when they can be personalized), 3×5 notecards, even sticky notes. Sometimes I will record my thoughts in a typed document, but normally I like to write with a pen in hand. There’s something about slowing down and considering the words that help me focus my spiritual thoughts. Using a keyboard doesn’t always bring the same degree of introspection. 

 

Research shows that writing with pen and paper promotes high-quality learning and offers a good strategy to store and internalize ideas for the long-term. The act of putting pen to paper to record what we have experienced in our walk with Christ strengthens both our recollection and our resolve to walk in obedience to His ways. That’s why it’s important to shop for something you’ll enjoy. 

 

Why Keep a Journal for Spiritual Matters?

 

The instruction from Deuteronomy 4:9 (HCSB), encourages us to remember spiritual teaching and pass it on to our children. It says, “be on guard and diligently watch yourselves so that you don’t forget the things your eyes have seen and so that they don’t slip from your mind as long as you live. Teach them to your children and your grandchildren.”

 

The practice of journaling prompts us to take this Biblical encouragement and puts it into practice. Writing down the ways we see the Lord moving in our spiritual lives helps us keep them at the front of our minds so we can share them with others.

 

4 Reasons to spiritual journal

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A Journal Helps Us Self Examine

Through journaling, we can evaluate our thoughts, reactions, spiritual growth, and the way we apply Biblical truth to our lives. 

Author Michael Hyatt says in his article about a daily journal, “What happens to us is not as important as the meaning we assign to it. Journaling helps sort this out.”

I completely agree. Writing in a spiritual journal prompts me to process my thoughts and determine the most God-honoring response to the situations I encounter. I can then proceed with purpose and intention—steady my spiritual walk, so to speak—and pursue obedience to Jesus. I find it’s well worth the time investment and is one of my favorite practices to help quiet surging emotions to focus on the Lord. 

Writing in a spiritual journal is a helpful tool to diligently watch ourselves.

A Journal is a Great Tool for Meditation

When we’re quiet before Jesus, He often reveals meaningful insights through His Word and by the power of the Holy Spirit. We often have to sort through the revelations one bite at a time. Recording our thoughts brings what may seem like a blurry landscape into better focus. The more we contemplate Biblical truth by writing in a journal, the more we can process, remember, and apply the spiritual aspects that we learn. 

Journaling is helpful to remember what we’ve seen. 

A Journal Records our Journey of Faith

A journal serves as a type of memorial stone so that our stories don’t get lost in the busyness of our schedules.  The Lord told Joshua to establish markers that would always serve as a memorial for His people and a sign among them. Looking back on our own stories helps us recall the steadfast nature of the Almighty and builds our faith for the road ahead. 

Journaling is helpful to keep our stories from slipping our minds.

A Journal Can Witness to Future Generations

Most often when we write in a journal, we’re writing for our own benefit and not for an audience. Keep in mind, however, that when we pass from this life, our journals may be collected and read by our loved ones.  They will read our stories of powerful spiritual testimony and spiritual growth through our own words. Only the Lord knows how He may use our journals to encourage others and perhaps draw them into a saving relationship with Jesus Christ. 

Journaling helps teach our children and grandchildren.

A 4-Part Formula To Start Spiritual Journal

Facing a blank page can feel daunting. When creating a spiritual journal, writing to—or about—the Lord can feel intimidating, although He encourages us to speak to Him as a friend. The biggest key to becoming comfortable with the practice of writing in a journal is to begin doing it. There are 4 steps that will help any beginner adopt the practice as a daily routine.

  1. Decide When And Where You’ll Journal.  Many people enjoy setting aside a specific time and place to record their thoughts each day. Others write when inspiration strikes and always have pen and paper within reach. Finding a quiet place is important so you can reflect and contemplate. Establishing a prayer closet or prayer nook is a good practice. You may need to experiment and find a favorite routine that works best for your personality and schedule. 
  2. Start Small. If you’re just beginning, remember to start small. Your goal isn’t to write your entire life story but to begin where you are. Start by recording your thoughts today and work to develop a consistent habit over the next few weeks. As with any spiritual discipline, journaling takes practice before it starts to feel comfortable and routine. 
  3. Ask Yourself a Few Questions. Especially in the beginning stages, you might like to ask yourself a few questions then record your answers in your journal. Here are a few places to start: 
    • What did I read in the Bible today that encouraged me?
    • How will it help me in the challenges I face today?
    • Where did I see Jesus’ activity in my life today (in the way He provided, directed, or helped)?
    • For what things am I thankful?
  4. Review What You Write. Looking back on your thoughts of your past helps keep your mind focused on Jesus in the present and future. It also reminds you that Jesus is near, that He has helped you before, and is sure to help you again.  Anne Frank once said, “I can shake off everything as I write; my sorrows disappear, my courage is reborn.” What a delightful reason to write and review a spiritual journal. 

Journal Templates With Writing Prompts

Some journals are available with pre-printed templates. These are among my favorite tools and help relieve a lot of pressure that comes when wondering what to write or how to begin. They are encouraging tools. I invite you to visit my shop for a dynamic prayer journal or Bible study companion journal

Comparing a Prayer Journal vs Notebook

A prayer journal is among the most unique types of journal. It is most beneficial when you have room for several aspects of prayer. My Prayer Journal is a reader favorite and is available in my shop. It uses the beautifully illustrated acronym P.O.W.E.R., with room to record your Praise, Offer of Thanks, Warfare (with room to write prayer requests and answers to prayer), ways that you Embrace His Instruction, and Repent of any sin in your life. (By the way, this makes a wonderful gift for anyone who enjoys prayer.)  When you’re trying to add a new spiritual practice into a tiny nook of time, having pre-printed prompts is a game changer!

If you’d like to read another article about prayer, I recommend this one on how to pray daily. 

The Gift of Keeping a Journal 

For centuries, countless followers of Jesus have kept a journal to document their spiritual journey and add to their abiding connection with Christ. It’s a favorite among ways that we can release our creative nature and express our hearts. When we journal, we clear our minds of troubling thoughts and lay them at the feet of Jesus. We release the burdens of our hearts so that we can walk in freedom and joy. By writing in a journal, we can pass on a legacy of the Lord’s loving truth to the generations that follow. 

If you haven’t yet started the practice of journaling about your spiritual walk with Jesus, I encourage you to begin as soon as possible and reap the blessings that follow.

 

 

 

 

How to begin spiritual journal

 

 

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