I am taking a break. I will be speaking to a group of homeschool parents Thursday night. My topic, which I love, is encouragement. I'll discuss the biblical principle of encouragement, the difference between encouragement and praise, the power of encouragement, the negatives of praise by itself, and how to make encouragement a daily act of ministry.
As I said, I love this topic because it has the power to change a live, and it really takes so little effort.
I have had the opportunity to speak/teach on this topic in the past. I've taught on this in a class series. I've taught onit at a women's breakfast. I've also taught on it at a women's retreat. I'll be honest, the class series was a bust. People really didn't see the need for this skill. Sad. The women's breakfast was a joy. I knew the women. I loved them then and love them now. The one that struck me the most, though, was the women's retreat. It was powerful, and it really had far more to do with God than it did me. I was the vessel, but truly, what happened there was beyond what mortal words could accomplish. When I start thinking my abilities are about me, I always think back to that and remember that God did a work beyond anything I could do.
It has been awhile since I've done public speaking. I still love it. I can't even explain it. It's like taking a deep breath of the purest air imaginable. It really is life within me. Still, there are times when I start to get nervous. After having the chance to teach at length on this topic, I have 45 minutes this week, and I've never been known for being brief. That is a bit unnerving. Plus, there are simply so many things I want to say. I want these parents to understand the power they have to influence their children simply by the words they choose to use. I feel such urgency to present examples and stories and...
It is really easy to get caught up in what I want to convey, what I want them to know, what I want them to understand, so I take a break periodically and stop. I stop and get still and ask, "Lord, what do you want them to hear? What do you want them to know?" It isn't what Jerri says or what Jerri thinks that will affect these families. It is what God says both through the words and through the Spirit that will make the difference.
I know that. I've seen the truth of it repeatedly in my speaking and home life. Truly, God's word supercedes mine everytime. Still, we are told in 2 Timothy 2:15, "Study and be eager and do your utmost to present yourself to God approved (tested by trial), a workman who has no cause to be ashamed, correctly analyzing and accurately dividing [rightly handling and skillfully teaching] the Word of Truth." In other words, if you hope to hear the words of God coming out of your mouth, you better spend the time putting them into your heart, which I better get back to doing.
Praying I never grow lazy in putting the Word of God in my heart so He can put the right words in my mouth to speak to other people's hearts...