I almost don’t want to tell my husband that I read this book. Once I admit to reading a book like this I feel pressured to apply the information shared directly to my own life. And well I should, but that doesn’t change the fact that I’d almost rather not mention that I read it in the first place! Pressure, pressure! Or perhaps guilt? Just perhaps.
I am not a Words of Affirmation person. (Nevertheless, feel free to leave me a comment below talking about my superior wit and magnificent writing skills. Don’t be shy.) Seriously, I’m fairly good about keeping on without a lot of flowery language. I never paid much attention to the value and power of words until I happened to marry a Words of Affirmation person. Oh yes, folks, it is true – God DOES have a sense of humor! He also has a desire that we learn to be more like Him and one of those areas is in refining our speech to be uplifting and life giving, as opposed to words that tear town, mutilate and destroy. Yes, it takes a great deal of effort to curb one’s sarcastic speech patterns and remember that kindness is more preferable than harsh realities and truth. (Notice I had to put the bit about “reality” in there. It’s my best excuse.)
Reading The Power of a Woman’s Words was really good for me. It was a good reminder that what I say can and does matter and has an effect – whether I like it or not. I can use my words for good or I can use my words for evil. Those are my two choices. I might as well admit that I usually speak before thinking and prefer to think that people should just learn to deal with whatever it is that I just spit out. It’s easier if other people “deal” than my having to work and strive towards gentle speech. So much easier. But that’s not what I’m supposed to do. Sacrifice and effort should be starting with ME.
Occasionally books come along that really challenge and prompt me to change. This was one such book. Therefore I don’t like it just as much as I do. It knocked me out of my comfort zone. It IS a challenge for me to learn how to “speak softly”, with words laced with love and grace. I get the willies just thinking about having to do that! But just as God had me marry someone who enjoys those affirming words, God also surrounded me with friends who appreciate the same thing. (Ok, ok, I’m getting the message already! Stop already! I need a few sarcastic people in my company as well!) Naturally I find it easier to practice life giving words on friends more so than relations. (Why is that?) I was presented with an opportunity to encourage a young girl that I know in a project she was working on. I spoke some excited words about her efforts and the next thing I know her project had expanded and exploded beyond my wildest imaginations. The power of positive words was made evident. Then I spoke a few to my husband – just to see what would happen. Coolness. That’s what happened.
Words DO have power to sway people. We SHOULD be working to encourage one another and build each other up. One thing I like about what Jaynes had to say was that it’s ok to have a sense of humor and be funny (i.e, sarcastic) but if that gets the better of relations and starts to tear down then those words/jokes are NOT ok and need to be curbed. So I’m curbing. I’ve hung on to “my sense of humor” for a long, long time, claiming that it’s ME and I can’t be any less than ME, right? But I don’t really want to be like me as I want to be like Christ and while even Jesus was sarcastic, He spoke truth to those He loved with great love. I need to take my cue from Him and die to myself and what I think might get a laugh.
Bother this book! It broke my bubble! Therefore I want you to read it so that you’ll have your bubble broken also and we can commiserate as we learn to speak lovingly to people around us. Then when we start to get good at that we can look around, amazed, noting how God used our words to spark imagination and inspiration in the people we love. We’ll watch people soar to great heights and we’ll watch them conquer old and bad habits and rise to meet new challenges! All because of our affirming words. (Well, remove the pride in the last paragraph and you’ll have it just about right.)
Please go read The Power of a Woman’s Words. I need some good company. Meanwhile, I’ve set this book up on the shelf in an easy-to-reach location for easy access. I have a feeling I’ll be revisiting it soon. And often.
Carrie comes by her book obsession honestly, having descended from a long line of bibliophiles. She blogs about books regularly at Reading to Know.