I’ve been thinking about the significance our words can have in our relationships. Especially words of encouragement. I think “speaking truth” looks like sharing truth the someone is loved, and valuable and guides you toward being your best self.
Speaking truth into someone’s life is not the same as giving advice. It’s not telling someone what they should do or who they should be or how they should act, it’s naming the positive things you already see in them. They ways you believe in them, see good and have faith in them.
A few months ago I heard a sermon that focused on our understanding of our own identity; how we see ourselves, and the ways which we long for others to see us and validate our existence. But then the speaker talked about the power we have to affirm knowledge that we are beloved in ourselves and – here is my favourite part – in others.
When I first drafted this post I focused on the importance of finding people who speak truth into your life. The longer I thought about it, it occured to me that rather than focusing on finding those people, *imagine running around with a butterfly net catching those people*, maybe we should just try being those people.
It is so important to surround yourself with people who encourage you and challenge you to be your best self – but it is more in our control to be like that. The intentionality of speaking well of others and reminding them of their belovedness is something we should be trying to do everyday.
Maria Goff once wrote “God doesn’t just give us Himself. Sometimes he gives us a few other people in our lives who’s voices we can trust”.
Encouragement can stir up our weary hearts and stop dust from settling on us when we are feeling tired. Positive affirmations can keep us moving, or even help us get going again if we’ve fallen off track. We have the ability to speak truth into people’s days to remind them of their value and goodness.
It is up to us to learn to be slower to criticize and critique. Be quick to shower others with love.
If this is too vague and feelingsy – here are some simple and direct tips to speak truth:
- First thing’s first : listening to what someone is going through and assessing if they are inviting you into a space to speak into their life (if you aren’t listening to them they probably won’t listen to you)
- Reminding people of their worth, who they are and what they deserve
- Affirmations, encouragement and naming strengths when you see others thriving
- Lovingly redirecting and calling friends out when they aren’t acting as their best self or engaging in unhealthy behaviour
- Speaking well of others – to their face and behind their back
Sometimes we don’t always realized how much our words can resonate but even just positive off-hand comments, kindness and empathy can speak to people deeply. A few months ago I was FaceTiming my friend Hannah and out of the blue she said to me “by the way I have always respected that you know how you deserve to be treated and you expect others to treat you that way”.
It wasn’t a grand speech, it wasn’t something I think she planned out, but I remember it changed the whole mood of my day. Our words have a great deal of power so take the opportunities to give reckless encouragement and affection.
Establish culture of encouragement, affection and affirmation in our communities to battle self doubt. Affirm the truth that each of us are worthy of love and belonging.