put yourself into a situation. you’re an average college student, going through the motions; studying, eating at the cafeteria, trying to keep a 3.0. one day, you and a few friends go out to dinner for taco night, and one of your best friends looks at you and says “you seriously make every single situation fun, whether we are out to eat or just sitting in our room, when you’re there, it automatically becomes fun.”
first off, you don’t really think of yourself as all that fun, you just think of yourself as an average human (although sometimes you crack a good joke,) and you don’t really focus on bringing life to situations. but after your friend says this, something in you starts to change. You find yourself wanting to make people smile more, you find yourself purposely pursuing other peoples happiness and excitement because that’s what you’re good at, right? You slowly grow into a person who intentionally creates fun and life in a boring situation, because someone spoke that over your life.
now put yourself in another situation. you’re a middle schooler, you just started taking algebra and noticing the other gender and choosing what you wear to school. you’re awkward and not sure of who you are and you’re discovering new stuff every day. one day after a long week of people gossiping at lunch tables and not being included in cliques, you come home on a Friday to relax in bed. your mom looks at you & says “you don’t have plans tonight? you need to stop being so shy, and maybe you’ll make some more friends.” shy. your mom thinks you’re shy. you didn’t think you were shy but maybe you are.
when you go to school on Monday and see all the groups standing by their lockers, you realize the reason why you aren’t included is probably because you are shy. you aren't very good at talking to people anyways, you’re better off just sticking to your schoolwork and getting all As in school. thats what matters, right? you retreat into yourself for the next few years. you have a few friends but you try to keep your distance. you’re just a shy person so you can’t really make any good friends anyways. you’ll make friends by reading, or watching TV, but real life people are too hard, and no one likes someone who is shy, right? when your mom spoke that over you, you became it.
these two situations are both probably something most people can relate to. as humans, no matter how much we like to say we don’t care, we care what people think of us. it’s impossible not to, especially when it’s someone we care about. and when someone we care about or whose opinion we value speaks something about us - whether its true at the time they say it or not - we slowly become a little bit more of what they said.
the bible says “the tongue holds the power of life & death.” sounds pretty intense right? it is. when you tell someone they are something, they become it. if you tell your 3 year old son he is a very good sharer, he wants to show you that you can believe in him, and he’s going to try his best to share with other kids, because someone he cares about believes he is a good sharer.
likewise, if you tell your 3 year old son he is annoying an a disappointment, what does he have to live up to? nothing. his mom already thinks he’s annoying, why would anyone else think something different? besides, she knows him best, so he must be annoying.
if you tell your husband he is the worst at remembering to to chores around the house, he’s going to continue to live up to that, if he already sucks at doing laundry why would he even try?
but if you notice the one time he does the dishes without you asking him, and you make a big deal out of it- “honey thank you SO much for doing the dishes tonight, i didn’t even have to ask you and you have no idea what that means to me, what can i do to help you out this week, is there a special meal you’d like me to cook for you?” wow- he’s not going to forget to do dishes again- because you made him feel good when he did something instead of bad when he didn’t.
here’s the secret- you can call things out in people to help them live up to their fullest potential even when they aren't fully there yet. you can tell your 12 year old daughter that she is the kindest soul in the world even if you’ve seen her give the most attitude a 12 year old can give- and she's going to start living like that. you can tell your best friend she is the best mom to her kids you’ve ever met and she's going to start living like that. you can tell your little brother he is the best football player you’ve ever seen and you know he’s going to start playing like it. you can tell your mom she is the best singer in the world and she is going to start bringing song into your home.
you can tell people those things EVEN WHEN THEY ARENT FULLY TRUE, because you see their potential, and you want to see them grow. speaking things over people’s lives is one of the most important things i have ever learned as a person. you have SO MUCH POWER in your tongue that you can literally be the difference between life and death. i mean - seriously! people who have had negativity spoken over their lives for years upon years upon years and believe their worthless can suffer from depression so badly that they end up taking their own life.
you don’t know who has spoken what into someones life. you have the power to change that. the person sitting next to you might believe they are shy and cant make friends, at a new school, but a simple “wow, you’re so easy to talk to!” could resonate with them for years. ( even if they really aren’t all that easy to talk to.) it could change the course of their life.
now, i’m not telling you to lie and tell people good things about themselves that are completely off the wall and not true, i’m saying take a moment to think about the things that are true about someone and good, and speak that into their life! instead of “you never smile you always look grumpy”- try “i love your smile, it’s so pretty.” i guarantee they will go home and admire their smile in the mirror.
And more than that, lets call each others Kingdom potential out:
“you’re so good at praying.”
“you are such an encouraging friend.”
“you lead small groups so well.”
“you always speak truth into my life.”
guys, i wouldn't be the person i am today or the person i will be tomorrow without the AMAZING people in my life who call out my potential. we have the ability to hold a crown above someones head and let them grow into it through our words. take advantage of that! i’m not sure why people think they can say anything they want to anyone and it doesn’t matter. what we say affects peoples outcomes. take it seriously - and surround yourself with people who will speak life into you as well.