The Healing Power of Encouragement

encouraging-words-feature

I caught a pretty nasty cold in February. It made the rounds of our whole family, landing on me last. I’d hoped it would lose steam before it got to me, but no such luck.

I had to pause my revisions for the manuscript I was working on. I turned down substitute teacher jobs for three days. My brain was fuzzy from cold medicines, and my eyes watered when I looked at the computer screen too long. Mostly, I curled up on the sofa, let the fireplace burn, and watched “Jane the Virgin” on Netflix.

By the time Sunday rolled around, I wasn’t feeling any better. I skipped morning services and stayed in bed. My husband preaches evening worship, and I run the media, so I had to get myself up and dressed. No one else is trained to do my job. Also, it was Super Bowl Sunday, not a good day to find a last minute fill-in.

Just before I left for church, I got an email. It was from a literary journal I’d submitted a short story. I started submitting short stories at the end of 2015, and mostly received rejections, so I opened the email half-heartedly, already resigned to another, “We’re sorry to inform you.”

Instead, the journal wanted to publish my story.

I squealed with delight. Suddenly, I felt better.

Sometimes a squeal of delight is better than a dose of Robitussen. Click To Tweet

I’m not even kidding. I was tired but excited, and I made it though worship and the Super Bowl party with a smile on my face. I went home thinking I had kicked that cold to the curb.

I hadn’t. It came back and kept me sniffling and coughing for a few more days. However, that Sunday afternoon taught me something new about healing.

Adrenaline plays a role.

Good news, joy, pleasant words … these things aren’t as useless as I often think they are. When someone is sick, I feel helpless. There isn’t anything I can really do for them, no way to make them feel better.

Gracious speech is like clover honey — good taste to the soul, quick energy for the body.”  Proverbs 16:24 (MSG)

How many times have I looked at a hurting friend and said, “I know words don’t mean anything?” How many times have I simply said nothing, because I was certain there was nothing I could say that would make a difference?

How many times have I said nothing, certain nothing I could say would make a difference?Click To Tweet

It turns out, I was wrong. Words of acceptance in the middle of my sickness gave me just enough of a boost to get through another day, to complete the tasks at hand.

Have you experienced anything like this?

I encourage you, the next time a friend is sick or suffering, say something. No matter how useless your words feel, they may be exactly what your friend needs to hear. They may land on needy ears and a wounded heart and turn out to be just the bandage necessary to get them through one more hour or one more day.

Just like there is always time to say I love you, to say thank you, there is also always time to encourage one another verbally.

Words are more powerful than we will ever understand.

Who needs your clover honey today?

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The power of encouragement ... of our words. I think we often sell it short. Maybe it's time to start sprinkling them everywhere we go instead of underestimating our ability to comfort another.

Heather Truett
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Heather Truett

I drink Sweet Cream in my coffee. My DVR is set to record Doctor Who, Grey's Anatomy, and The Walking Dead. I have a serious chapstick addiction, a history of purple/blue/green hair styles, tattoos on my left ankle and my right foot, a whole solar system of freckles, and I may or may not spend an inordinate amount of time trying to convince my kids I am a Time Lady from Gallifrey.
Heather Truett
Follow Me

Latest posts by Heather Truett (see all)

About Heather Truett

I drink Sweet Cream in my coffee. My DVR is set to record Doctor Who, Grey's Anatomy, and The Walking Dead. I have a serious chapstick addiction, a history of purple/blue/green hair styles, tattoos on my left ankle and my right foot, a whole solar system of freckles, and I may or may not spend an inordinate amount of time trying to convince my kids I am a Time Lady from Gallifrey.

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