As I swept the crumbs off my dress and finished my last bite of cake, the best man at my dear friend’s wedding stood up to give his toast.
I had known this friend since my early teen years. Unbeknownst to her, she had inspired me in so many ways to be the best woman I could; seeking God with everything I had and living each day with grace and purpose.
She’s the closest thing I have to a big sister and I have always loved her for that.
She’s naturally a pretty quiet person though and as the best man recalled their first introduction, he recounted how he was oddly suspicious, wondering why she spoke so sparingly.
What he said next took me by surprise but I’ve held onto it ever since –
“I [the best man] realized that she didn’t speak not because she had something to hide, but rather because she had nothing to say. She has such a quiet confidence and wisdom about her that she only speaks to inspire (paraphrased).
Even today I find myself remembering this friend and the influence she continues to have on my life, praying that God would grant me the same inner confidence and wisdom as her.
We have the power to speak life into people.
Did you know that?
Sometimes it doesn’t even have to involve words. A simple smile could be the spark that ignites a renewed hope in the depths of a dried soul.
That happened to me once. In fact, it was this same friend who was my first summer Bible Camp counselor. I remember watching her one time, thinking how cool she was and how much I wanted to be just like her when suddenly, she glanced my way and smiled at me.
That changed me.
As a 13-year old, it meant the world that someone I admired actually took notice of me; actually saw me for who I was, and liked me for it.
A simple smile changed that ornery little 13-year old girl then and still causes joy to swell in my heart ten years later.
A cheerful look brings joy to the heart…(Prov. 15:30) and a person’s words can be life-giving water…(Prov. 18:4).
Just as the genuine smile and gentle words of this friend inspired many, so too can the mocking glance, disingenuous conversation, and harsh word cause destruction.
I’ve been hurt by words. Even more so, I’ve been hurt by the lack of words.
I also know that I have hurt others with my words and harsh reactions.
Speaking words of hope and life into someone is so easy to do, and more often than not, those words will never be forgotten. Same goes for a harsh, mocking word – so easy to spit out but severely detrimental and almost impossible to forget.
Imagine though what might happen if we took one day – 24 hours – and dedicated everything we said and did to the purpose of inspiring others; to pointing others to the love of Jesus Christ.
To say something uplifting when a mocking remark is more natural.
To speak truth when lies are easier.
To be genuine when sarcasm might get more laughs.
To smile when disapproval seems necessary.
To remain silent even when the world beckons us to speak.
There is unfading beauty in a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight (1 Peter 3:4).
This kind of spirit is not natural. In fact, it is very unnatural. That’s why when someone like my friend exhibits this kind of gentle and quiet behavior every day, it is not easily forgotten and is cherished by all those who know her.
I read an article by Jon Bloom the other day that delineated the difference between a ‘presently preoccupied’ mindset and that of an ‘eternally focused’ one.
A presently preoccupied focus – Do, Have, Be – I do ‘this’ to have ‘that’ in order to be ‘this.’
However, an eternally focused approach would be just the opposite – Be, Do, Have – I am ‘this’ so I do ‘that’ which results in me having ‘this.’
In order for us to respond to people with gentleness in our voice and a smile on our face, we must first remember who we are.
Something I like to do in my time with God – and I encourage you to try this sometime – is take a piece of Scripture that reminds us of who we are in Christ and make it personal. I’ll give you an example:
Deuteronomy 7:6 –
For you, *insert name,* are holy to the Lord your God. The Lord your God has chosen you, yes you *insert name,* out of everyone on the face of the earth to be his treasured possession.
This is who you are!
You are a treasured possession.
Doesn’t that just make you feel awesome on the inside!?
Does it not just instantly calm your spirit; perhaps cause everything that you’re fighting to be and to achieve grow dim in light of this beautiful truth?
What are you trying to be friend? Where do you feel you aren’t measuring up?
Believe it or not, in the eyes of God Almighty, you are enough. You are holy and you are treasured above all the nations in the arms of God.
So take a second, remember who you are, and allow that to seep into your soul, because a heart that knows it is treasured by the most loving God will naturally speak life because it has life.
Harsh words come from a disrupted spirit. However, a spirit confident in who he or she is in Christ will be calm and gentle, overflowing with words that speak wisdom and inspire for years to come.
People remember kind words.
They remember a genuine smile.
I remember my friend and she continues to change my life even today though we are miles apart because she speaks to inspire.