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Anxiety in the heart of man causes depression, But a good word makes it glad

Have you ever wanted to try something but there was something that kept you from trying? Have you ever wanted to do something but were afraid it wouldn’t be received well? What eventually motivated you to put yourself out there?

I use my children as examples a lot, but there is so much insight to be gained from watching them interact with the world. 🙂 For example, our youngest struggles with chronic pain. She has fought this fight for over half of her life, but this last year in particular has been full of pokes and prods, countless appointments and tests and even a short hospital stay. Through the course of this, she has developed an intense fear of her doctor and anything medical. It’s to the point where she has full blown panic attacks. What does this have to do with our verse? Well, yesterday she was struggling through yet other appointment. She wanted to share something completely unrelated to her health but something she was quite proud of and that she uses to help calm herself. When we told him what she wanted him to see, at first his expression was one of “okay, I’ll humor you.”   When he saw the picture, however, his face completely changed. “WHOA! Whoa! That could be professionally done!” He proceeded to look at the picture until it timed out on my phone. “You are very talented,” he told her. “We have to get you feeling better so you can get back to that.” That short interaction, those few words of encouragement was like flipping a light switch in her head. Not only is she no longer afraid of him, when we told her later that she is looking at two more hospitalizations and more testing, she completely took it in stride and was willing to do it, without a fight.

What made the difference?  It was the same doctor she’s been seeing and afraid of for a year. It’s the same hospital, at least for one of the visits. It’s still more tests. The only thing that changed was the fact that he took the time to encourage her. That’s all she needed in that moment. What will happen down the road when the tests and hospitalizations loom large? Who knows, but right now, she’s okay with it. And that is priceless.

We are surrounded by people who need a nudge to be willing to step out in faith and do something they have been called and created to do. It may be something small, or it may be something huge. Regardless it’s something that will make a difference. What’s holding them back? Fear. Fear of rejection, or failure, of humiliation, of hurt. Fear of trying something without knowing the outcome. Fear of being themselves and of putting themselves out there. What if all they needed was one nudge, one word of encouragement, to change their perspective and maybe even their world?

Over and over in the Scriptures it talks about how we are to be encouragers. (Rom 15:2, Heb 10:24-25, 2 Cor 1:3-4, 1 Thess 5:11) Think of Barnabas, the Son of Encouragement. What a great difference he made in the lives of those he touched and encouraged! What if your job today is simply to be an encouragement to someone? What if our job each and every day was to offer a kind word? How would our lives be changed as we effect change simply by our words? My challenge to you today is this: make a point once a day for one week to say something sincere but encouraging to someone else. Do that, and then let me know what happens.