Finding Unique Ways to Encourage Others

By Lauren Wittel

Photo by Emily Fletke  @fletkefoto

Photo by Emily Fletke @fletkefoto

The reason I love red lipstick has nothing to do with going dancing on a Friday night. It has everything to do with a unique tradition my mom started to encourage me.

On the morning of each birthday, every opening night and big SAT test day, my mom would write messages of encouragement in huge letters in red lipstick on the bathroom mirror. I would walk drowsily into the bathroom after a sleepless night of studying, or tossing and turning in anticipation of a big day, and flip on the lights to find I couldn’t see my reflection. Sprawling words of inspiration and celebration covered the entire mirror.

A RED-LETTER DAY

Mom’s words marked the moment and spoke encouragement and significance over my day in a way that could not be ignored. I had my own red-letter day.

Words written in the color red demand our attention and indicate they are a priority. Red often represents strength and boldness, and it certainly cannot be overlooked. And so, the intense effect of the color red can be used to “spur one another on towards love and good deeds.” Many Bible translations rubricate Jesus’ words — print them in red ink to bring them to the forefront.  And there’s even a verse that talks about “discovering creative ways to encourage others and to motivate them towards acts of compassion, doing beautiful works as expressions of love.”

GETTING CREATIVE

However, red can also be used to stoke fear and hatred. Like red lipstick applied incorrectly or to the wrong item can stain, so too, unkind, divisive, or unnecessary words can taint and tarnish.

So, we must be careful because: Out of the same mouth we pour out words of praise one minute and curses the next.

My mom’s use of red lipstick has taught me to to get creative in the ways I use my words — to defend instead of defame, to lift up instead of instigate lies.

How are you finding unique ways to encourage? Let’s resolve to use our words to build each other up in love.