Today I’m delighted to welcome back my good friend and great writer Wendy van Eyck as a guest poster, sharing a personal story on a theme close to my heart, encouragement. Wendy is a writer and communicator from South Africa, and also guest posted for me last year.
I have written for her blog ilovedevotionals.com, which I would recommend to all of you. There’s more info about Wendy below, in the meantime, here’s her post:
When I was in my teens I got into the habit of using a lot of mean words.
They were my weapons against a world that I didn’t think accepted me or liked me. My main target for this was my younger brother.
I loved to call my brother stupid.
Not the meanest word out there. But words don’t have to be in order to hurt and break and damage another persons soul.
I would call my brother stupid at any opportunity:
- If he broke a glass by mistake: STUPID.
- If he chose to wear a blue t-shirt: STUPID
- If I didn’t like the way he beat me at tennis: STUPID
It didn’t really matter if he did something bad, neutral or good. There was only oneoutcome to anything he did: STUPID.
Needless to say my brother and I didn’t have the best relationship then.
There aren’t a lot of people who like people who insult and belittle them all the time.
I don’t really know exactly what happened but I do know that one day something changed. I remember it as God speaking to me – but maybe it was an adult I knew – planting a thought that I was ruining our relationship because I never said nice things to him.
Whatever actually happened something got through to me and I decided that I would try to say nice things to him, and about him, and see what happened.
I remember the first time I tried we were playing tennis and I tried to compliment him every other ball or so. Just simple stuff that other people probably wouldn’t find a stretch like, “Good ball” and “Nice shot!”
It may have been a small step but it helped me start a habit of encouragement that I could carry over the next time we played tennis. Then I started to try and encourage him in other areas instead of telling him he looked stupid in a blue shirt I told him that it went great with his eyes.
Yes, I was stealing other peoples’ compliments but it didn’t matter because I was learning to encourage rather than to break down.
Before I knew it I didn’t think of him as stupid anymore. We got along better, we became friends, and now I can’t imagine I not being his biggest advocate.
I want to encourage and challenge you today – you can do this. I did it.
It is humanly possible to learn to be encouraging, to become someone who doesn’t hurt others with their words.
Don’t give up on yourself! There is something you must always remember:
You are kinder than you believe, more encouraging than you know. (you can tweet that here)
And more inspiring than you think.
On Monday a new book launches which can help all of us become encouragers, and change the world in 5 simple steps. It’s a short book called ’5 Steps to Encouragement: A Manifesto for Changing the World’, and it’s available free only on this site. You can get the book and download it free here.
Wendy van Eyck is a writer, idea generator and TV producer. She writes about how much Jesus likes (really likes) you at ilovedevotionals.com A born & bred South African she lives in Johannesburg where she runs a TV station and lives with her husband in a house that would look nicer if they didn’t spend all their spare cash on trips to unexplored countries. She would love you to connect with her on Facebook and Twitter .