As a woman whose #1 love language is “encouraging words,” and having spent much of my life “recovering from an addiction” to what Jesus called “love of the praise of men,” I was challenged by Erin Davis’s post earlier this week. I also appreciated yesterday’s follow-up post from April Hendricks, on giving affirmation. This is such an important topic, especially for those of us who have more practice at dishing out correction than affirmation!
Sam Crabtree has written a helpful book on this subject that I highly recommend: Practicing Affirmation: God-Centered Praise of Those Who Are Not God (Crossway).
Sam is the Executive Pastor at Bethlehem Baptist Church in Minneapolis. More importantly, he lives what he preaches. I’ve never forgotten a short hand-written note of God-centered affirmation he sent me years ago, though we had only met once briefly. His words not only encouraged me personally at the time, but have influenced our ministry in a significant way ever since. When I first learned about this book, I knew immediately: if no one else needs this, I do!
Here’s what C.J. Mahaney says about Practicing Affirmation:
“Too many of us use most of our words each day for criticizing and complaining. If you find that your communication lacks encouragement, if you want to grow in affirming others, if you plan to say any words at all today—please read this book!”
And to further whet your appetite, here’s a sampling of quotes from the book:
“We rob God of praise by not pointing out his reflection in the people he has knit together in his image.”
“God is not given the praise he deserves when we ignore or deny the work he is doing in people.”
“Affirmation is a way to gain a hearing for the gospel.”
“Love does not first look for ways to correct.”
“Give so many affirmations as a pattern, a way of life, that you . . . are known for your affirmations, not your criticisms, your corrections.”
“It takes many affirmations to overcome the impact of a criticism.”
“Affirmations are deposits. Corrections are checks you write against the balance in the account. If you write too many checks in relation to the deposits, your checks bounce—they’re no good. It will take additional deposits to restore your credit.”
“You become ‘safe’ as a sounding board when people know the first thing out of your mouth will not be criticism when you hear their ideas.” (Ouch.)
Well, that’s just a taste of what you’ll find in this terrific book. Developing a lifestyle of giving God-centered affirmation is an area where most of us need to grow. I’d encourage you to get a copy of Practicing Affirmation, read it, and live it by His grace!
PS: Speaking of affirmation, anyone want to join me in expressing gratitude for Paula and the great team of women who serve us so faithfully and effectively through the True Woman blog? I know each of these women and deeply love and respect them. I am so thankful for their wisdom and their diligent, sacrificial labors to encourage us and keeping pointing us to Christ. Thanks, girls! (Post your words of affirmation for the TW blog team below, and we’ll select five of you on Monday, June 20, to receive a copy of Sam Crabtree’s Practicing Affirmation.)
Purchase a copy of Praticing Affirmation: God-Centered Praise of Those Who Are Not God.