One of my goals for this year has been to speak life to the people around me. It all started with the TobyMac song ‘Speak Life’….
Lift your head a little higher,
Spread the love like fire,
Hope will fall like rain,
When you speak life with the words you say.
The Power of Our Words
Our words are incredibly powerful. I’m guessing we’ve all been on the receiving end of hurtful words spoken carelessly or in anger. Sometimes the wounds caused by words take longer to heal than physical wounds would. I’ve met adults who still carry wounds inflicted by words received in childhood.
I’m guilty of being careless with my own words. Though I don’t intend to harm anyone, I’ve watched our daughter wilt or my husband shut down when I’m not careful with my words. When I’m not intentional and don’t choose my words wisely, I’m not speaking life.
Cultivating Life with Our Words
Fortunately the flip side of the power of our words is true.
So speak Life, speak Life.
To the deadest darkest night.
Speak life, speak Life.
When the sun won’t shine and you don’t know why.
Look into the eyes of the brokenhearted;
Watch them come alive as soon as you speak hope,
You speak love, you speak Life.
I’ve seen first-hand how people can blossom when words of life are spoken.
- Maybe someone is having a bad day and they simply need to be reminded that things are going to get better.
- Maybe someone is discouraged, thinking no one cares, and they need to be reminded that someone DOES care.
- Maybe someone feels invisible and needs to know that they’re seen.
- Maybe someone has a dream and needs the encouragement to pursue it.
Whatever the words of life, they are desperately needed. We’re bombarded by negative in the news and on social media. I think that’s why words of life are so refreshing. They’re like the proverbial glass of water in a dry, thirsty land.
Keeping It Real
Speaking life isn’t just walking around sprinkling compliments on everyone in your path. We can easily tell people how much we like their shoes, how good their perfume smells, or what a great hair day they’re having. Compliments have their place, but speaking life is so much more.
Sometimes speaking life is uncomfortable. Will he think I’m crazy if I offer this word of encouragement about something personal? Is she going to drag me into a really deep conversation? Am I willing to go WAY out of my (introverted) comfort zone to lift up someone I don’t know very well?
Speaking life is keeping our eyes open, being willing to do what it takes to offer hope, encouragement, and love to the people around us.
Opportunities to Speak Life
Each day holds opportunities to speak life to people around us. Maybe you’re only comfortable practicing this inside the four walls of your home. If so, then go for it! Then broaden that as you’re comfortable. Here are a few ways that I’ve been attempting to speak life.
- To My Husband: This one is hardest because of sheer familiarity making me careless. I’ll often think “Oh, I should remember to tell him that nice thing I just thought about him!” Then I promptly forget. He thrives on words of affirmation, so me speaking life is key for him. The words stored in my head aren’t going to speak life if they aren’t actually spoken. 😉
- To Our Daughter: This one is more natural for me. Her eyes light up when I encourage her to try that dance stretch one more time, compliment her good manners, or simply tell her that she’s amazing. My challenge is to be fully present when we’re talking. That means putting away the phone or turning from the computer (if it’s work time), making eye contact, and paying attention.
- To Friends & Extended Family: I’ve recently learned how much I enjoy helping friends pursue their dreams. Being able to encourage friends and family and speak words of life to them is energizing. I’ve had the opportunity to “look into the eyes of the brokenhearted” and “watch them come alive as soon as you speak hope, you speak love, you speak Life.” People desperately need to know that they are loved, that someone sees them and cares enough to speak life.
- To Strangers: As an introvert, I have to work at this one. Speaking life may take the form of an encouraging word for the cashier, acknowledging the other person in line at the bank, or greeting someone new at church. It also could be not adding to the negativity that seems so prevalent today.
As we walk through each day, let’s weigh our words. Let’s evaluate them with one simple question. Will these words speak life to someone? What a difference that can make!