Have you ever had the privilege of hearing Bob Goff speak? I have a couple times and I feel inspired just being in the same room as that man! His energy and passion is moving. One of the things he believes in is, “telling people who they are!” I love this message. There is just nothing like speaking life-giving words to people and what a gift it is to have the opportunity to speak life into your very own family every single day.
Even if what you’re telling them isn’t true at that moment, you can incite…
I love the definition of incite: verb. 1. to stir, encourage, or urge on/ stimulate or prompt to action…
… you can incite that very quality or behavior in a person. For instance, when my son falls, he gets worked up and cries right away, even if he’s not actually injured. I totally get this, that’s exactly how I was all through my childhood and, if I’m honest, I’m still this way. So instead of telling him to get up, he’s fine, he’s not hurt— (most times) I scoop that little man up, let him wail into my shoulder and I tell him he is so strong and so brave. Even though what he just did is the OPPOSITE of strong and brave.
I can just catch a vision of him in the future… maybe it’s not when he gets hurt, but it’s when someone at school needs to be stood up for. Maybe he won’t be feeling strong or brave in that moment, but he’ll recognize those feelings as the very times to be brave and strong. He’ll already have the notion of being those courageous qualities grafted into his self image.
Or maybe, there will be a time when his little brother falls and gets hurt. I don’t want to instill a lack of empathy in him. I want him to pick his brother up and encourage him, not ignore his feelings and tell him to stop being a baby. I’ve definitely touched on this in other blog posts— leading by example is so important and so powerful.
We have the example of God doing this for Gideon (you can read Gideon’s story in Judges 6-8). Gideon was hiding, threshing grain in a wine press because he was afraid of being found by the oppressive Midianites (an invading army). God appeared to him and called him, “Mighty Hero,” and then he told him to go in the strength he has and rescue his people from the Midianites. Gideon proceeds to give God excuses as to why he cannot possibly do that, but still, God chose him and used him. He called him a mighty hero even while he was in fearful hiding. To shorten the story, Gideon ends up defeating the 135,000 Midianite soldiers with only 300 men and God by his side.
In Biblical times names held great weight and meaning. Do you know what the name Gideon means?… Great Warrior. Long before Gideon led his people to victory he carried the name, Great Warrior. God told him who he was from the start.
Telling someone who they are is an investment in their future. I challenge you to put this into practice this week. Try it with your kids, try it with your husband, your coworkers, your boss… everyone! Your kind positivity might mean the world to someone; you might even change their future.
Think about where you might be able to incorporate some of these:
» You are kind
» You are so patient
» You are brave
» You are creative