Instilling Confidence Through Letter Writing

By Kristen Clark

In the movie, The Letter Writer, Bernie Diamond plays an old man whose secret is discovered by a rebellious teenage girl.  His secret is that he writes personal letters of encouragement and anonymously delivers them to people who need to be uplifted; she was one such recipient. The story is about the profoundly positive impact his letters have on the readers, people who don’t know the old man but who are deeply touched by (and in need of) his words.

God gives us encouragement and He wants us to encourage one another (Romans 15:5).  Unfortunately, as illustrated in the movie, encouragement can be a rarity for some people.  Combine that with the scarcity of the hand-written letter in this digital age and it’s obvious why a simple letter of encouragement can make a lasting impression.  Here are three tips for instilling confidence in others through letter writing.

Write from the heart.  Write creatively and deliberately, and be vulnerable.  Carefully consider your collection of words, thoughts, and ideas and share them in a way that reveals your spirit.  Write a letter you would want to receive, a letter you would delight in, and a letter you would save for reading over and over again.  Write a letter designed to inspire.

Write about God’s love.   Intimate knowledge of the recipient is not required in order to write a letter of encouragement.  However, intimate knowledge about God and His character is a must.  Focus on what you know about God and write about:

  • How much God loves them and forgives them.
  • How God created them in His image and has a perfect plan for their lives and situations.
  • How God’s mercy and grace is a gift available to everyone, including them.
  • How they can do all things through Him who strengthens them.
  • How you also love them and are praying for them.

Write what you need to hear yourself. The physical act of writing punches the written words, ideas, and sentiments into our own long-term memory and causes us to focus our attention on those words, ideas, and sentiments. In writing down encouraging words for others, we are encouraged ourselves.  Write what you also need to hear about your value and worth.  Encourage yourself with words designed to heal your wounds, overcome your conflicts, and tackle your fears.  And, write with conviction.

If you’ve never written a letter for the sole purpose of inspiring confidence in someone else, give it a try.  Write for someone you know.  Write for someone you don’t.  Get in the habit of telling others how much they mean and how loved they are, and tell yourself at the same time.  Build confidence in others and you’ll build confidence in yourself.  It’s amazing how that works!

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