This morning I woke up tired and in pain. They tell me it’s because of age and sleep deprivation and I believe ’em.
I’d returned from a conference the evening before tired but deeply encouraged and challenged in my spirit. I determined as I closed my eyes and just before I gave into slumber, I was going to make some changes in my life.
Much needed changes.
I woke up after a restless night, I immediately started thinking about a difficult situation in my life, and then another and another until I finally decided I didn’t want to get up at all… I just wanted to pull the covers over my head and go back to sleep.
But, it was Sunday morning and I’d made up my mind years ago to be in church. I reluctantly rolled out of bed and stumbled into the kitchen to brew a cup of coffee.
I made it a little stronger than usual.
It was after I had my coffee in hand and my Bible in the other I remembered…this was the morning I was to make some changes.
Long overdue changes.
It’s so easy for me to be hard on myself. Honestly, I would never talk to another person the way I talk to myself. Yes, I talk to myself in my head and out loud. I’ve embarrassed myself more than once at a traffic light talking away to me, myself and I only to look over and see the person in the car next to me staring with mouth hung open. I know they wondered what in the world was wrong with me. I was so thankful when cellphones came along because then I could pretend to be talking to someone besides myself.
I just held the phone up to my ear and talked away. No one was the wiser. And, with Bluetooth technology, it’s even easier!
Anyway, back to what I was talking about, so easy for me to rabbit trail.
As I sat in the nosebleed section in an arena that held thousands of folks just like me, I felt the sting of conviction in my heart as the speaker reminded us that our words hold power. The power to build up or tear down, the strength to make a strong person feel weak and the ability to cause the able feel incapable. Our words can influence our emotions in ways we can’t explain, they can be a soothing balm or a wielded weapon.
What we say matters.
I sat there listening, and all of the thoughtless words I had said that very morning ran like a movie clip through my mind. I vowed then and there to be more intentional about what I say. But, it wasn’t long until I was back in the car headed home and I began to gripe and complain about the traffic. Granted it was a very big city, and the traffic was backed up for miles, but it sure didn’t take me long to dive right back into the familiar.
Why is it so easy to speak negatively? Why is it that thinking and speaking more positively is so often like trying to get a train moving? When I was younger and the world was still all roses and happiness, it was no big deal to spout off a positive word of encouragement to someone who needed it. But as I’ve gotten older I find I’m more jaded, and when there’s a negative conversation going on I put my two cents in and it’s not always on the bright side.
I have to ask myself why I lean more toward the negative these days?
Is it because of the constant media that bombards my senses? I was standing in line at Subway the other day and there is a giant TV to watch while you wait. It was on a news channel and in the ten minutes I stood there they reported on a suicide bombing, a missing child and the dismal state of our government. When I got there I was in pretty good spirits and by the time I got my turkey and bacon on wheat I was ready to give up on the state of our country, maybe even the world.
If you jump on social media for any length of time you will find more opinions about popular topics than you ever wanted. And, of course, you will feel as if your life is dull and small compared to all of the vacationers and “perfect” families living their seemingly glamorous lives.
No wonder I feel like complaining and running for the hills.
What can be done to combat all of the toxic words we hear each and every day?
I learned so many things at this conference, but I think the number one practical tool I walked away with was learning to speak God’s word into my everyday life. I came home inspired, but overwhelmed at the idea of changing how I think. And not just how I think but how I speak. It’s not just using self-control to NOT say the negative, it’s learning to replace the negative with the positive.
And the positive needs to be based on a principal from God’s word.
So, for me, I long for my kids to be lovers of Jesus and to live spirit filled, powerful lives. But I’ve found that I’m hoping they will be instead of speaking with the authority of God’s word and believing He will bring this to pass. He longs for my kids to know and love Him, He longs for each of them to share in His goodness and see His power at work in their lives.
It is His will.
So, starting this week I wrote the simple words on an index card, “My children love Jesus and live powerful and spirit filled lives.” And on the back I wrote a verse that supports my statement.
I can’t tell you how much better I feel inside since I’ve started quoting this and a few other statements over my life a couple times a day. It’s never just my declaration, I always find a scripture that embodies the essence of what I’m asking for because I know that’s where the power comes from. My words alone will do nothing, God’s word brings life and light and every good thing.
Spoken together they are changing my mind.
I’ve found I’m feeling more positive about the world around me, more confident that God is in control.
I’m at the very beginning of this new thing, but already I can tell the Lord is shifting me from “believing He can” to “knowing He will.” Two statements that seem similar, but are so very different. I’ve believed he could for a long time, but now I can feel Him leading me a little farther down the road in my personal growth to knowing He is going to do what His word says.
What is it you need to feel more confident about in your spiritual life? Is there a longing in your heart that you need to see God fulfill? Is there a dream you need to pray some scripture over? Let me challenge you to write these things down and then look for scriptures to affirm your request, it will boost your confidence and ultimately your faith.
Well, we finally made it home after fighting our way through more traffic than this small town girl has seen in years. It was time well spent. I did have my strong cup of coffee the morning after I got home and I wrote and read a few index cards that made me feel hopeful and excited about what God is going to do.
He is always up to something.
So, if you find yourself needing encouragement or some index cards, hit me up, I have both.
“Gracious words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones.” Proverbs 16:24