Friday, October 14, 2016

The power of words of affirmation

It was simple really. It only took 10 seconds, but those 10 seconds not only changed the course of my morning, but might change the course of yours.

He said, “thank you.” Not exactly in those words, but it meant the same.

My husband texted me to say that the kitchen looked really nice. He could tell I worked really hard to clean it up. I read that text and beamed. As I told you before, words are a big deal to me.

You see, my in-laws were in the week before. We enjoyed their company immensely, and at the end of the weekend, the kitchen was…well… you know how it goes. Catastrophe is putting it lightly. So, I spent a good amount of time cleaning, scrubbing, and dish washing.

When it was all through, I turned out the light and never looked back. I knew I had worked hard and that the kitchen was clean, but I didn’t stop to take in the peace that comes along with a clean kitchen.

But when my husband thanked me, it turned my whole morning around. I was instantly lighter and happier.

"Thank you" is so simple, but within those two syllables lies great power- the power of affirmation.

I don't know about you, but often I don't feel that powerful.

But when I think about how influential words can be, especially to those we love, I realize that my words can bring about change in my marriage, friendships, and within my family.

The other day, Jacob said to me, "I think it is sad; people never say the things that truly matter."

I agreed, but I asked him to elaborate. He was thinking about relationships and how it is uncomfortable, and therefore uncommon, to say out loud, "I like you. I think you're great because (fill in the blank). I am so glad you are in my life," and he is right.

We don't say these things nearly enough, which is partly why it hold so much power. It’s simple supply and demand.

We can change this, and as Christians, we should change this. The way we build up those in our lives should reflect the love God has for us, and therefore the love we have for each other.

The Bible has a ton to say about words. A lot of them are warnings about the destructiveness of not taming the tongue, but one of my favorites is from Proverbs 16:24, "Gracious words are like honeycomb, sweetness to the soul and health to the body."

This verse is a reminder that our words are life-giving.

This truth astound me. It honestly takes my breath away.

My words can bring health to the body. My words can bring light and sweetness into life.

When I let this sink in, I can feel it. I can feel the power words have. I understand why God asks us to build one another up, to encourage each other with our words.

Again, in Ephesians 4:29, "Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear it."

Within my own life, I feel particularly weak when it comes to my husband's health.

He has been sick with an unidentified chronic illness that has taken more away from his life and our marriage than I can even comprehend. I feel unfit to help him. I do what I can, but ultimately, I can't fix him. I can't take his pain away. I can't change what is wrong with him.

But while I don't have the ability to heal his body, I can lift him up with healing words. I can give him grace by building him up. I can bring health to his body by speaking graciously.

I may be powerless to help him physically, but I can, and I will, use my my words to bring about as much healing as I can.

This is not to be missed. Being intentional about life-giving words is not only wise, but necessary. I want to challenge you today to intentionally say something kind, true, genuine, and life-giving to those in your life.

Maybe that is just saying thank you for a job well done. Maybe that is a compliment that you think all the time, but never say aloud. Maybe it is an apology for something you said, followed by what you should have said instead. And maybe it is simply telling someone how you feel about them.

I think God will place something specific on your heart. Follow through. Speak life and bring healing to those you love.