Last weekend I attended the blogging/writing conference Allume, and each speaker there offered meaningful content in his or her own distinct voice. I brought home several take-aways from the sessions, but two in particular immediately propped their feet up in my heart and settled in more comfortably than the rest.
The first was offered by Sophie Hudson who gave a beautiful talk on hospitality in relationships and how all of us need a safe place with safe people. While stressing that believers belong to each other and have the responsibility to love each other well, she said,
“The spirit of God in me recognizes the spirit of God in someone else, and we need to tend to that.”
So when we are led to be someone’s safe place and they share something with us, we need to intentionally tend to their heart by using our words well.
Another significant take away was offered by Emily Freeman who gave a magnificent talk on how to write like a hostess. As she talked about hospitality in writing, she said this statement,
“When something that is most alive in me connects with something that is most alive in you, we have relational art.”
When you say or do something that strikes a harmonic chord in me, a connection is made. A new relationship is formed or an established one is strengthened. Either way, it’s a kind of relational art.
As I tossed Sophie and Emily’s words gently from one hand to the other, I couldn’t help but spin them both together into a single statement that answers why encouraging people matters:
When the spirit of God uses you to speak to me by awakening something in me, you deserve to know. You should know that what you bring to the table and offer to my heart is valuable because it made a difference in my life.
And this brings to mind my most favorite encouraging word. I love it because it is short and simple but it packs a double dose of encouragement. Even if encouragement is difficult for you, this one word is an easy way to give someone a good measure of happy.
The word? Bravo!
Yep, you tell someone bravo! and they immediately imagine you wildly applauding for them. Even if you are not prone to drastic displays of emotion, bravo! gives the imagery that you are drastically for that person.
I also like bravo because if the words brave and encouragement had a baby, they would name it bravo. This is why it’s a double dose of encouragement–because it recognizes the bold graciousness of someone sharing a part of herself and honors her for doing so.
As I move about my circle of influence–and especially inside my own home–I have the choice to build or break a soul, to help it fly or fail. Seeing bravo! displayed in my home helps me remember to use my words wisely so that they contribute to healthy relationships. That is why I danced when DaySpring sent me the word bravo spelled out with Letterpress Blocks to hang on my own wall. (Confession: I went back and ordered the exclamation mark for the end because my husband’s first thought at seeing plain bravo was ThreatCon level, not good job! Ha!)
The cool thing about these Letterpress Blocks is you can purchase a pre-made word *or* create any custom word you want. They even offer several symbols and extras like the ampersand and design swirlies. So fun! And now for the best news: If you leave a comment sharing your own significant word or phrase, you’ll be entered for a $50 giveaway for your own Letterpress Blocks. Also, follow Chasing Blue Skies on facebook for a second chance to enter–just leave a second comment saying you did follow me or already do (but only if that’s really actually true). Giveaway ends at midnight Nov. 3rd.
While DaySpring gifted me with these blocks, I would happily buy them if they hadn’t. I am wildly in love! So I guess that means there’s only one thing left to say: