“I wish I could wake up every day with the energy and joy and enthusiasm that this girl has.”

I was stunned. Not often do you get such an unsolicited compliment from a total stranger. But this wasn’t just some total stranger. This was the lead singer of my favorite band.

Of course, being so floored, I responded “Green tea pills,” because, well, they give me energy. And it was the first thing to come to mind.

It all started on a rainy, 40 degree day in February, 2014. My favorite band was performing that night in Williamsport, and I had a VIP ticket–my family’s Valentine’s gift to me. I had taken the day off from work, because I knew I wouldn’t be able to concentrate. Plus, I was scheduled to be at the concert around 2 to meet the band.

Let’s back up a bit. The month before, I had restarted Weight Watchers, and had lost a little weight. Even though I was still “morbidly obese,” I was starting to feel a little more confident about my body. I knew I would be getting a professional photo with the band, so I wanted to look good. I even went to get my hair done.

At the same time, I had been struggling with my ability as a songwriter. For some reason, I couldn’t get inspired, and I felt frustrated. With this weighing heavily on my mind, I wanted to ask the guys for any advice they could give me. Little did I know I would walk away with something far greater.

In the end, I decided not to ask about songwriting…maybe I was too nervous. It didn’t matter anyway. I had just been given the greatest compliment of my life.

How could Jon Foreman have known my struggles with self-worth? I don’t know. But it didn’t matter. I felt validated. My life…my spirit…my personality…it all meant something. Maybe I did have something worthwhile to offer the world.

That one sentence changed my life.

Today, I have lost a total of 81 pounds. I have completed two half-marathons, two sprint triathlons, and a ton of other races. I am rediscovering myself as a songwriter and musician with a new YouTube channel. Now, I’m finally getting the confidence to put my work out there, even though it’s scary.

You don’t have to be in the limelight to have an impact on another person’s life. Speaking words of hope and encouragement to someone might have a greater meaning to them than you may ever know. In the same turn, discouragement can have a far-reaching destructive effect. Proverbs says that “life and death lie in the power of the tongue.” We have the power to speak life–to cultivate the good, the hope, the joy in someone’s spirit. When that happens, it creates an amazing chain-reaction in the world, and people notice! That will win far many more souls than fear and cold-hearted religion ever will.

Speak life into someone’s soul today.

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