I’m not a steamroller. At least I don’t think I am. There may be times I’m pretty adamant about the way I want something done, but it’s usually something within my home or my personal life. I’d like to think I don’t take steamrolling to the streets.
Have you ever watched a steamroller flattening fresh pavement, making it all smooth and level? Would you want to get caught underneath it? I cringe at the thought of my human self flattened and crushed beneath the weight. Slow. Excruciating pain. All life squeezed right outta me.
What is a steamroller, anyway? An overpowering force or a person with such force that overcomes all opposition and pushes through processes and solutions, crushing all opposition; one who quickly dismisses someone in a heated argument, totally ignoring what the other person is saying.
That’s what the dictionary says, anyway. The Nina-definition is slightly different…one whose words hurt and who doesn’t care much about the feelings of others. I only say this because it’s how I feel when someone crushes me with destructive words.
I’m not really a steamroller and I don’t do well around those who are. I’ve battled too many insecurities in my life to allow myself to spend much time around people who make me feel small. When someone enters my little world and makes me feel insignificant and unimportant I tend to withdraw, tune out, or wave the white flag of surrender.
“Likewise the tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts. Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark. The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole person, sets the whole course of his life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell.” James 3:5 & 6
No, I don’t like the thought of barreling over someone, having no regard for feelings at all, crushing spirits, flattening self-esteem, squeezing the life out of passions. How depressing….I don’t think steamrollers are very good at encouraging others and that’s what bothers me the most. There are too many of us battling poor self-esteem and just plain giving up for lack of godly encouragement.
Why is it so hard for us to encourage one another? What is so difficult about lifting someone up with words of affirmation?
To encourage means to give support, confidence, or hope to someone; to motivate, uplift, inspire, cheer, embolden.
Oh, I like that word…embolden. To give courage or confidence to someone. Like en-courage! There’s something so beautiful about using words to give courage to someone. And who doesn’t need some courage these days!?! Fo’ sho.’ To think, I can actually use words to build up, lift up, and spur someone on…oh that is such a lovely thought, but I don’t just want to think about it, I want to do it.
“And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another–all the more as you see the Day approaching.” Hebrews 10:24-25
Oh, sweet Jesus, let me consider….let me understand, let me be intentional, let me observe carefully my sister’s feelings, let me be attentive to my brother’s circumstances, let me fix my eyes and my mind on this thing: to speak encouraging words, uplifting words, motivating words, inspiring words. Because Lord, I know how much I need them and if I need them, then I know others do, too.
The world is full of broken hearts, crushed spirits, flattened self-esteem, dying dreams. It brings tears to my eyes. There are too many steamrollers out there squeezing life out of the best of us. I don’t want to be one of them. I want my tongue to speak from a heart that seeks to give hope and courage. Life is too precious not to consider the power of words. If I’m gonna light a fire I don’t want it to be from a corrupted tongue, I want it to be with the Spirit’s un-corrupted Presence. He will always bring out the best in me when I give Him control of this little body part…my tongue…that threatens to steamroll those He has placed in my sphere of influence. It takes work. It takes intentionality. It takes the Spirit’s power. If I’m gonna be steamrolled, let it be by the work of the Spirit who knows just how to squeeze out the impurities and the imperfections so that I might walk on level ground.
“Teach me to do Your will, for You are my God; may Your good Spirit lead me on level ground.” Psalm 143:10
So what are words of affirmation? Words that lift up…not bring down. Words that encourage…not discourage. Words that inspire…not dissuade. Words that motivate…not depress. Words that cheer…not sadden. Good words. Beautiful words. Lovely words.
And this is what I want to take to the streets. Life.
Words that give life.