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The Power Words Can Have in Encouraging Us Through Our Struggles

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Words are so very powerful! They have the ability to cheer us up, encourage us, motivate us and make us feel good. Unfortunately they also can be devastating, hurtful and at times extremely debilitating. The words written or spoken to us can make us either feel loved or unloved.

I want to share a story with you about my best friend Ashleigh, who has been a constant source of encouragement on my journey through lupus. I have had a hard time slowing down and listening to my body. To be honest, there are days when I would much rather be in denial of the state of my health and carry on with life as normal. But with each new challenge that arises, my best friend is right there to help me shift my perspective. I can think of many messages she has sent me that have helped me to find the positive in whatever I am facing.

A couple summers ago, about a month after my lupus diagnosis, I went camping with some friends. This camping trip was a big deal to me as I had spent the majority of the summer in bed, sick and at many doctor appointments. So I was determined to have a great time! We all went for a nice long hike in Big Sur, CA. Absolutely beautiful! But about three-quarters of the way into the hike, my body started struggling. I didn’t want to be a burden to my friends around me and continued on. Finally I hit a point where I had to stop and take a break. I was upset, as I felt weak and this was the first time I was faced with a new limitation. All I wanted was to be “normal” and continue hiking with my friends. I didn’t want to ruin their adventure! And I sure as heck didn’t want to show any sign of weakness!

It was at this time that my best friend, who is truly a blessing from God, willingly insisted on staying back with me so I could rest and take a break. I was fearful that others would be upset with me or judge me for my weakness. Instead, Ashleigh used her words to speak life, to encourage and motivate me during this hurdle. We continued back down the mountain slowly and took in the beauty that surrounded us.

A couple of days after we got home from camping, I remember Ashleigh sent me a sweet message. She showed me a new perspective on my limitations. Instead of looking at it as a negative thing, it shifted to something positive. She helped me to realize that I may not have been able to keep up with everyone quickly, but it’s not a race to the top. In going slow, I was able to take in more scenery and see the small things that would have easily been passed over had I quickly pushed through.

This was not an easy lesson to learn as I used to be one to go, go, go. Since that day, there have been many more times when I have been faced with challenges or limitations, but because of that sweet message, there has been a perspective shift! Sure, there are days where it’s harder to see the good in all of this. But I am slowly learning how to choose to see the positives and be filled with gratitude daily. It’s a choice we have to make but it’s sure easier when we have people cheering us on, reminding us of our faith and that we are not alone.

I could go on and on about the many encouraging messages that have had an impact on me, but that would be a novel. So here’s a challenge for you. Reach out to someone around you, whether it is a friend or family member, and take a few minutes to send them a message of encouragement. There is no such thing as too much encouragement. We are all going through our own struggles, and sometimes we need a reminder that we are all in this together! Let’s choose to use our words to uplift and love those around us!

Thinkstock photo via monkeybusinessimages.

Originally published: May 5, 2017
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