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Limit and Label... or Lift Someone Up!

Updated: Jul 9, 2020

I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with loving kindness.

– Jeremiah 31:3


Think of someone in your life who has loved you with an uplifting, never ending love? What memories of them do you still cherish? They may have already left this earth but you can still feel their love in some special way.

Maybe you had a grandparent who scooped you onto their lap to snuggle and read books. Maybe you had a cousin who taught you to play cards or video games. Maybe you had a best friend who invited you to sleepover. Under the blankets with flashlights, the two of you laughed and told secrets late into the night. Or maybe you had a teacher or coach who spoke truth into your character or pointed you in the best direction, impacting where you are today.

We’ve all had influential people come into our lives and tell us who we are, or change the way we see the world. What if they are gifts from God?

In the 7th grade, when I felt awkward and uncomfortable in my adolescent body, I had a Physical Education teacher, Coach O’Brien, tell me I was strong and athletic. He invited me to lift weights and work on my sprinting speed. He told me if I put in the hard work and kept a determined mind, making the varsity soccer team as a freshman was possible. He was right!

In a time when I didn’t feel close to, or receive any positive encouragement from my own father, Coach O’Brien’s words filled a void in my heart and mind. He lifted my head and helped me see great possibilities, both in front of me and within me. I will forever be grateful for his words of encouragement and God’s timing in bringing him into my life.

Our words hold so much power. They have the awesome ability of being uplifting and life giving. But, they can also be crushing and destructive. Consider the following situations:

A child drops his lunch tray, splattering food onto the cafeteria floor. The cafeteria worker nearby can say, “No worries. Let me help you clean this up and we’ll get you another lunch.” Or she can say, “C’mon, pay attention to where you’re going.”

A volleyball coach wants to win the state championship as much as her players do. At halftime when they’re losing by three points, she can either pump them up with hope and possibility, or she can tear them down by listing off all their mistakes.

A senior girl is taking an advanced science class filled with mostly boys. After grading her lab with an “A,” the teacher calls her to his desk and says, “Nice work, are you considering studying science in college?” Or, and this really happened, the teacher walked to my table, tossed the lab paper in front of me and said, “Laura, you only got that good grade because Ed is your lab partner.” No joke.

Words spoken over us either limit and label or lift us up to see our true potential.

Thankfully the words God speaks over you are beautiful and abounding with hope.

In Jeremiah 31:1 God confirms, “I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with loving kindness.”

In Zephaniah 3:17 God comforts, “The LORD your God is with you, He is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you; He will quiet you with His love, He will rejoice over you with singing.”

In 1John 3:1 God calls you His when He says, “See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!”

When we know what God says about us, and are reminded each day, His voice becomes louder and cuts through all the lies and the noise. We will also discover that His encouraging love spurs us on to share it with others through words of loving affirmation.

Who can you lift up with your words this week? Whose life can you influence with endless possibility? How can your encouraging words change how someone else sees themselves or the world? When you do, you are a gift from God.


Here are 3 questions you can discuss with someone or in a circle with several others.

1. Who has been a loving and influential person in your life? How did their words or actions have a positive impact on you?

2. When have you wished you could take back your words because you knew they crushed someone's spirit?

3. Think of one person you’d like to influence in a positive way this week with your words. How can you reach out? Make a plan to share time, lift up, or make a loving memory.

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