Michael, my supervisor, tells me every time I see him that he loves me, that I’m a joy to work with, and that he’s thrilled to have me on his team. When I first started working with him, I was suspicious that his comments weren’t genuine. But now that we’ve worked together for a few years, the encouragement hasn’t let up. What’s more, he has repeatedly backed up his words with his actions. Now I find myself calling him when I’m struggling or when anxiety weighs down my heart. I know Michael’s kind words will cheer me.
If you’re like me, then you probably don’t go around telling people how much they mean to you or how blessed you are to have them in your life. Those “words of affirmation” make me very uncomfortable when I receive them, and even more so when I give them. It’s somehow gotten into my mind that offering kind words reveals a chink in my armor, a vulnerability that someone may exploit. And that might be true, but protecting myself should not be my primary concern if I trust the Lord to care for me.
God can use other people to lift our anxieties, cheer our heart, help us feel more comfortable in our own skin, and perhaps most importantly, to give that same blessing to others. We may not think we are great at encouragement, but the true value of speaking kind words to another is both a gift to them and an offering to the Lord. When our fear of vulnerability threatens to make us withhold kind words, we should ask the Lord to help us see people as Michael does—a gift to be cherished and built up.
>> Can you remember a time when someone’s kind words cheered your heart? How can you extend that gift to one other person today? Look for an opportunity and then do it as an act of worship to God.
For some of us, kind words do not come naturally. Open our eyes to the good qualities and self-sacrifice of those around us. Help us give encouragement and words of genuine affirmation to bolster others.