Words. We take them for granted.
When my daughter began speech therapy at age 3, and again when she began tutoring for dyslexia in the third grade, I remember being dumbfounded by the complex number of things that happen from the time our eyes see a group of letters to the end product of saying or writing a word. The fact that we even speak or write words is truly a testament to God’s detail in creation!
Not only do we underestimate the miracle of communication, but we also underestimate the power of the words we communicate. Just as able-bodied people can take going for a walk or a run for granted, we can often take the ability to communicate for granted.
Many of us like to use words.
Many of us like to be heard.
Many of us use words to make sure our viewpoint isn’t overlooked.
Many of us use words to accomplish our goals.
But what if we looked at words differently?
In my last post, I urged you to consider the words you speak to yourself. Even things we say out of self-deprecating humor can cause us to believe lies about ourselves. “I’m so fat.” “I’m a klutz.” We act like those words are harmless. But are they? At some point, we’re reinforcing the worst version of ourselves and obliterating the opportunity to see ourselves as our Heavenly Father sees us.
What if we take a step back and consider how our words impact other people? Every interaction we have with someone is an opportunity to breathe life and hope into them… or death and discouragement. You may be thinking what I’m tempted to think: “That’s a little extreme. Lighten up, Karin!” I hear you, but I also think about the discouragement, anxiety, and depression that plague so many people. A few uplifting words can be extremely powerful.
A couple of weeks ago, someone came up to Chris and me and said, “I can see that you’re life givers. Wherever you go, you give life to others.” Wow! That spoke to a dry place in our souls that needed refreshing. We needed to be reminded that, not only does another human see that in us, but God cares so deeply that He would send someone to tell us how He sees us. This person could’ve come up and just said hello or asked us a question, but instead they made a deposit.
We have the opportunity to be used of God, not to blow smoke or insincere flattery, but to speak the good that we see in people.
What would it look like if you decided to speak to the best in people you interact with, even if it was just once a day? Can you imagine if your co-worker down the hall said something each day that made you feel seen, valued, and appreciated? You can give that gift. What would be different if, in the midst of all the instructions, lectures, and threats to your kids, you inserted life-giving statements like, “You are a hard worker. I see your perseverance. Keep it up.” Or, “You are such a joy to be around. You make so many people feel good.” And what about communicating the strengths of your husband, out loud, to your husband?
You get the point. Let’s go and make some deposits. Take 3 days and see what happens as we begin to be more intentional with our words.