What helped you get through those years? Was it academics or sports? Family or friends?
For me, it was God blessing me through the encouraging words of others. These encouraging words were, in fact, life changing in many respects. I’d like to highlight two people in my life who spoke encouraging words. This is not to diminish the impact of others who have spoken into my life at all (parents, best friends who have listened and shared, etc.), but as I sit and write, these two come to mind. Honestly, I don’t think these two know the impact of their words on my life. In fact, they may not even remember their words at all. But to me, their kind words and words of hope were a part of God’s plan.
The first bits of encouragement I presently recall came from my sister. It was during a time when I was feeling down and depressed and contemplating taking my life. To be frank, I don’t remember her words to me exactly and I didn’t share with her all my thoughts. But I remember her encouragement to me that I will get a girlfriend, grow taller, get thinner, etc. Really, she gave me words of hope that kept me going so I would not give up and hold onto just a little bit longer. I listened and believed these words of hope…
One other bit of encouragement I received was in the form of a compliment from a fellow youth group member, Kathy. We were on a youth retreat to Colorado (from Minnesota) and a few fellows and myself decided to serenade some of the girls at the camp. Afterwords, Kathy approached me and told me that I had a good voice. That is something I never heard from anyone before and it stuck. From there, I joined the High School choir the next year and earned a solo at one of the concerts. In college, I joined a barbershop quartet and a travelling singing group in college (Common Bond). And from the travelling singing group, I met the woman that I would marry at a Christmas party for all of the travelling singing groups.
In looking back, I am amazed at how God’s plans unfolded in my life. I am also amazed at the impact words of encouragement and the giving of compliments can have on another person’s life, even my own.
So, for those who had given words of encouragement and compliments to me throughout life, I say “thank you.” Fellow blog readers, do not focus on the negatives in others, but be ready to give the hope of encouragement and praise to others. It only takes a few seconds to speak into others’ lives (for the positive or negative) and you never know how much small words of encouragement can impact their lives.
“Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their need, that it may benefit those who listen.” Ephesians 4:29