Release the Power of Your Words

Girl Jumping for Joy

You don’t have to be a writer to release the power of words. This week during my devotional reading I was gripped by this simple, yet powerful sentence: “You have the ability, with your words, to make a person stronger.” That sentence was followed by this one: “Your words are to their soul what a vitamin is to their body.” *

How often have you needed a word of encouragement in your life? You’re feeling the pressure of crushing deadlines at work, the stress of a boss bearing down, a sudden and suspicious symptom, the fear of a threatening diagnosis, your kids are struggling in school, or your spouse is indifferent and you’re no longer on the same page. You’re discouraged.

Then someone unexpectedly speaks subtle, well-chosen words that breathe new life into your soul and you suddenly have the courage to carry on. Mark Twain once quipped, “I can live for two months on a good compliment.”

“Words of encouragement, skillfully administered,
is the oldest therapy known to man.”

                                                            Louis Nizer
I’ve needed encouragement many times in my life—on multiple subjects. Writing alone has had its share of rejection from agents and editors. When I started writing professionally, I had enough rejection letters to wallpaper a room.

A workshop leader at a writer’s conference once recommended that all writers should keep a “Praise File.” This file is so-named because it’s comprised of all the emails, cards, letters, or hand-written notes you receive that praise your work, your effort, or generates inspiration to keep going—when you need it most. I took my instructor’s advice.

Lately, I’ve been thinking about the many times people have lifted me above the fray with their hope-filled words. I’ve been uplifted so often by my wife, Karen, my family, friends and colleagues. I remember one moment in particular. This one is not in my Praise File, it's in my memory bank. It was something my son, Mark, once said to me out of the blue when he was a teenager.

I don’t recall the setting. I only remember I was encouraging him in one of his athletic pursuits. He turned and nonchalantly said to me, “Dad, if I get married someday and have a son, will you help me raise him?”

Where did this come from? I paused. I was stunned by this premature question.

“Sure, Mark, but why do you ask?”

“Because I want you to teach me how to make him feel as good about himself as you make me feel about myself.”

I never saw this coming. I stood in silence, too choked up to respond. His words were powerful—life-giving—spirit-lifting, and enduring—as I reflect on them now, 20 years later. His simple words moved me to want to be the best father I could be.

It’s true. We all have the ability, with our words, to make a person stronger. Sort of makes superheroes of us all, doesn’t it?

Release the power of your words.

Ask yourself this question:

Who will I make stronger this week?


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