Words hold more power than we can imagine. Words can breathe life and words can crush hope. Words can build strength and words can shatter hearts.
I believe that words can change everything.
It almost broke my heart a couple of weeks ago, when I told a little girl at school just how good she was at doing the actions for the nativity songs. (She was doing so well that I was actually copying her, but years of childrens work has taught me that action songs are definitely not my strength!)
Anyway this little girl seemed so shocked by my encouragement. Her “really” and the huge grin on her face said so much to me. Those few words seemed to mean everything to her
It was almost as if she had never been encouraged before. I mean I am sure she had been told “well done,” or “nice dress,” or “good work” lots of times, but how often had she been given really specific encouragement?
How often do we go out of the way to give really specific encouragement. It’s nice when somebody says “I like your nail varnish” or asks if you’re wearing a new top, but the real, specific, personal encouragement is a whole different thing.
I can rememeber times in my life when people have really gone out of their way to encourage me, speaking specific things into my life; telling me I am gifted in certain areas. I have held on to those words like jewels. They have spoken life to me, and have changed me.
Some people seem so naturally really good at this, these people are a joy to be around. (Have you noticed that the most encouraging people also seem to be the happiest?) But to be honest, it doesn’t always come easily to me.
I’m not a complete cow, I mean, I think nice things about people, but I don’t always get around to saying them. It can feel so awkward. I’m English, I worry that any kind of complement or encouragement will sound fake or sarcastic! I even worry that complementing someone will actually offend them!
It’s really crazy when I think about it. And actually, it’s a lie.
These encouragers aren’t mythical creatures with some hidden gift we can never receive. We can be encouragers too. Just sometimes we need to make a little bit of effort, and take a few steps out of our comfort zone.