“What I know about you is that you are brave. Remember that time when we had just moved here and you walked right into Youth Group without knowing a soul? That took bravery. And then a couple of years later you did the exact same thing, but on a much larger scale? Bravery.” This is what I said to our oldest daughter once when she was doubting herself and I watched as she breathed a long sigh, nodded her head and agreed with me.
My girl needed something that I could give her that day, I know her history and her fears, I know her strengths and her doubts. I could have joined her in her doubts or I could point to the truth. This is something we do for those we love; we remind them of who they are. We point back to examples of what we have seen and we assign a strong word to that characteristic, breathing encouragement into them. This isn’t just for our children, it is imperative that we do this in our marriages often, because we know our spouses best and they listen for these words most from us.
When we start a statement with ‘what I know about you’, that person’s interest is piqued because people love to learn about themselves, or at least to hear someone else’s perspective, so they can argue against it or choose to agree with it. It’s not up to me what that person chooses to do with it, but it is my responsibility to speak into the lives of those who are important to me, and who desperately need the encouragement.
Give it a try, the next time you hear someone doubting themselves or questioning their plans, start with these words and then back them up with actual facts. You will probably watch them lean in as you speak, make full eye contact and then quickly look away while they process your important words. You don’t need to say more, let the memory you just shared speak for itself to them, and allow them the opportunity to accept the truth. Then get out of the way!