If you’ve been reading for a while, you know I’m a runner. About a month ago, I injured my ankle. After some rest didn’t seem to help, I headed to the physical therapist for an evaluation.
I basically pulled a tendon that goes from my big toe up the inside of my calf. My PT generally sees people 2-3 times a week, but she said to me, “Because you are highly motivated, I’ll give you the exercises to do at home, and you can come back in 2 weeks.”
Let me give you some history here. About 8 years ago, I started having severe hip pain and spent close to 4 years in physical therapy until it got to the point where physical therapy wasn’t causing any improvement. My PT there gave me exercises to do at home as well, which I did – about 10% as much as I was supposed to.
Now, 3 weeks ago, when my current PT called me “highly motivated,” guess what I did? For the first time in my life, I went home and did my exercises as prescribed.
What was different this time?
When she described me as “highly motivated,” 2 things happened:
1. She deposited courage into me. Words have the power to encourage us (deposit courage into us) or discourage (rip courage out of us). Her words helped me have the strength and motivation to do what needed to be done.
2. She made me want to make her words true. Now, maybe she thought I am highly motivated because I’m a runner who’s completed two marathons. Maybe she said that because I didn’t let the injury linger or keep trying to run on it before coming in (as runners tend to do). I don’t know. But because she used those words to describe me, I wanted to live up to what she saw in me. I wanted to be able to come back in and tell her I did what she instructed.
As you speak, think about how your words to someone (or even to yourself) are depositing courage or ripping courage out. Who can you deposit courage into this Monday morning?
“Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.” Ephesians 4:29 (NIV)
“The words of the reckless pierce like swords, but the tongue of the wise brings healing.” Proverbs 12:18 (NIV)