My fellow blogger/writer Jill Kemerer gave me something truly precious yesterday.
She nominated In Truer Ink for an Inspirational Blog Award.
It’s the first blog award I’ve ever received. You’ve probably seen them lining the columns of various blogs you read and wondered, like I did, where they came from. Well, at least some of them are given, like gifts.
I’m honored and thrilled to receive this award. (Think Sally Field, “You like me! You really like me!”) But there’s something else Jill gave me that means more than an award: the gift of kind words.
In Truer Ink Niki Turner writes with candor about issues many of us struggle with, and she manages to refresh my spirits with each post.
You may have heard of the book “The Five Love Languages.” The premise behind the book is that there are different ways, or languages, through which we express and receive love. There are quizzes to identify your “native” love language and that of others. It seems we all have a tendency to love others with the language we understand first, but if they don’t speak that language well, your expression of love may seem to fall flat.
Of the languages – physical touch, quality time, words of affirmation, gifts, and acts of service – I tend to be a words of affirmation kind of girl. It’s taken me a LONG time to figure that out. And an even longer time to figure out why other people don’t always respond to words of praise as strongly as I do.
Seriously, I puff up like a hen on parade. I physically feel those words of affirmation as if someone poured warm honey on my head. One time our pastor’s wife mentioned how proud she was of my husband and me for planting a new church in a rural community. I burst into tears.
As a pastor’s wife myself, I feel terrible when people come to church looking for love and we, because of our failure to be multilingual, don’t express God’s love to them in ways they can comprehend.
God speaks all five love languages. Fluently. And He can show us exactly how to communicate love to the people we care about, minister to, and want to help or encourage. Jill did that for me yesterday. Her words affirmed my sense of purpose and motivation, not just for blogging, but for pursuing my writing full time.
Words are either a tool or a weapon. With them we bless, or curse. If I can use the gift of stringing vowels and consonants together in some semblance of order to bless someone’s life, to encourage them to keep striving toward their goal, or just to make them laugh and enjoy a brief respite from an increasingly gloomy reality, then I’ve accomplished something more important than selling thousands of books, getting a movie deal, or finding fame and fortune. (Although I wouldn’t turn those things down, either!)
Conversely, if I use my words – written or spoken – to abuse others, to tear them down instead of building them up, or to spread half truths, accusations, and verbal venom, then I’ve effectively undone God’s work in my life and possibly in the lives of others.
So today, I’m challenging us all to practice becoming multilingual in the languages of love:
- Speak words that encourage and edify your children and spouse, instead of dashing off a list of chores they’ve failed to complete or requirements for them to go out on Friday.
- Offer a hug to someone who might not expect it from you. (That may be your children and spouse, too.)
- Spend thirty minutes chatting with your elderly neighbor instead of rushing off to take care of your to-do list.
- Replace the toilet paper roll without griping about how “you aren’t the household t.p. fairy.”
- Pick up a simple, inexpensive gift for someone, even though it isn’t their birthday, and offer it, no strings attached, just because.
You don’t have to do them all today. Just try one or two and see what happens… it could be just what YOU need to improve your day!
(Don’t forget to visit Jill’s blog! http://jillkemerer.blogspot.com/)