Bread of Encouraging Words
by Faye Wilson Walton
(Proverbs 27:17, TLB).
Mark Twain said he could live off a compliment for two weeks. I wholeheartedly believe that. Words of affirmation are my love language.
Once a month, I meet with a group that uplifts and edifies me. I always leave in a better state than when I came. This Word Weavers International chapter meets in Knoxville, TN. Each member presents a piece of writing, and the group provides feedback. We use the cold sandwich method of praise, constructive critique, and praise. Just like a sandwich comprised of two pieces of bread and a slice of meat in between.
The slices of bread represent what we like about the selection. The meat symbolizes hearty suggestions to strengthen the author’s work. Each member provides oral comments as well as written ones on the authors’ submission. Some examples of comments I’ve received include:
“Powerful work, well said.”
“Moved me to tears. Publish this.”
“Riveting your reader. Wow. You’re on a roll.”
When I received tough feedback, the layers of praise and positive words helped me swallow the meat of critique. Although not a mathematician, I see wisdom in the formula of multiplying a writer’s encouragement. We include two pieces of bread for every one piece of meat. A bite of chewy substance may present itself, but I have so much more bread.
I love the way our meetings align with God’s heart to uplift and strengthen us. He authors our lives and sustains us. Jesus, the bread of life, nourishes our souls with encouragement.
I keep the hard copies of my submissions to make corrections and re-read my writing buddies’ comments. One day, I decided to cut out their words of praise. I tape them on posters and hang them on the wall above my desk. They serve as a constant source of inspiration.
This piece of bread sums it up: “We are made to need each other for edification and encouragement.”
I needed this a few weeks ago. Although I wake up at 3:00 or 3:30 AM most days, I didn’t want to get out of bed that particular morning. An all too familiar sense of insignificance threatened to overwhelm me. I dreaded facing the grind of another day of discouragement.
My inspiration to leave the bed that morning came from re-reading some of my bread-bites of positive feedback. Recharged by words of affirmation, my fingers flew across the keyboard.
Father, thank you for giving me people in my life who inspire me to become the author you have created me to be. Help me to glorify you in my spoken and written words. Amen.
Faye Wilson Walton is the author of The Unknown Missing Piece, Twofold Love Comeback, and Light & Momentary Troubles. She lives with her husband in Knoxville, Tennessee. She loves to run, swim, and bake. She is a devoted member of Word Weavers and Bible Study Fellowship.