06 February 2010

The Power of Words

For the past month, I have been thinking about the power of words. Encouraging words, discouraging words.....we all know their power. 
But what I have discovered is the odd way in which it sometimes does not matter where the words originate.....and in others.....
well, it makes all the difference.

For Christmas, we received a Wii Fit Plus which is a very cool thing. I am not, by any stretch of the imagination, a gamer, techie or anything else in those categories. 
But I really like  the WFP.  
It has yoga and strengthening exercises and you can see whether you are doing things correctly because it shows your center of balance. 
There are "cartoon" style (okay, now you computer techies can tell me what they are really called ) trainers that talk you through each exercise. 
I don't care for the girl because her midriff is bare and I don't really want to see anyone's belly button, even a cartoon. 
So I choose the male trainer. 
If you are a bit wobbly you will hear him say things like, "Your legs are a little shaky, try stretching your spine." or something like that. 
But if you have your center of balance right, you will hear this:  
"You have perfect balance.  
You're doing Great! 
 Good job! " 
Okay, I KNOW this is a machine....I know people have programmed this. ... but, I SMILE every time it tells me I'm doing a good job.  

It motivates me.

Weird, huh?

Now, my family will tell me I'm doing a great job at something and I'm inclined not to believe them. Why is that? 
Is it because they are my family and they are "supposed to say that"? 

Why do I dismiss the encouragement of certain people and believe the encouragement of others, especially if they don't know me? 
I guess because I feel they are being more honest and objective than those who know me. 

But is that really true?

And what about the opposite?  What if the WFP told me," Boy you are shaking all over the place, can't you do any better?" 

Would I care? 
 Probably not. 
And I probably wouldn't want to use it either. 
 But if someone close to me or even someone who does not know me very well tells me something negative or discouraging, it sears like a hot iron. 

Why is that?  

I can lose an entire day worrying over what is wrong with me to cause someone to say what they did. Why especially, do I care about what people who don't really know me think about me? 

I must admit, this has been a question of concern to me. For some people, they know who they are and do not worry too much about things like that. For others, it is a place where Satan can have a fun time making a person miserable.  

It is, I think, that horrible sin of wanting to be perfect. 
The irony of wanting to be perfect when we absolutely know we are not perfect can derail us.

So.....yes, an honest encouraging word can build up......even if it is given by a machine........

and discouraging words can tear down.......
I'm thinking, 
mostly if they are not given
 with a true assurance of love.

It is difficult to be encouraging, say, 
when you are teaching a struggling learner and you keep doing the same things over and over

 and over and over and over and  ..........
well, you know......
it becomes a conscious act to figure out some way to stay upbeat and encouraging and not let an irritable word slip out......
because it will always find it's target.

It is useful to remember that encouraging words of TRUTH work whether they are given in person, machine or on paper.  

Positive words from the Word of God pasted all over your house can lift your mood, change your state of mind.....hearing them, reading them, saying them.......it does not matter.

What you say to yourself is just as powerful because if you suffer from an occasional bout of "perfectionism" 
you will only believe the negative things you tell yourself and easily dismiss the positive things. 

If you are like me, that would be a good time to get out the WFP, if you have one, so you can hear an objective, 
"Good job!  
You have perfect posture!  
You're doing Great!" 

You may laugh, but I'm telling you, 
it will make you smile.

"Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers, this should not be." James 3:10 NIV

*I am not paid to say good things about Wii Fit Plus....too bad.....

photos: Christmas car in Rothenburg Germany, Lantana, wisteria, north shore PEI by debbie r.

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