May you walk so intimately with God that you’re acutely aware of your value and divinely aware of your calling.—Prevail by Susie Larson, Day 109 pg. 121
Do you believe your words matter? Like really believe it?
We often say we believe this popular truth, but then we turn around and live like we don’t. We’ve read about the power of our words and heard about the importance of our words, yet we don’t always take care of what we say and how we say things. We know enough about the impact of our words because there’s a plethora of books, articles, and research available to us about why and how words have power. But we take the easier route, the path of least resistance, and continue using words that don’t benefit us or those around us.
It matters the way we speak, to ourselves and to others.
Words matter. Words have power. Words can release life or death.
This post contains affiliate links, which means I may receive a small commission, at no cost to you, if you make a purchase through a link.
Story time: Speak Kindly to Yourself
With summer approaching, the weather has teased us quite a bit. On one particularly sunny day, I threw on a pair of shorts, eager and excited to wear summer clothes, finally! But then… I noticed my legs.
Pale, with a few splotches of red here and there, and little red razor bumps that are referred to as “strawberry bumps” (if you know, you know). My heart sank, and I immediately felt discouraged. I sort of rolled my eyes and said oh well to myself, and brushed it off for the moment. Then, later that afternoon, my husband and I were relaxing on the couch, chatting about all kinds of random things. And I glanced down at my legs again and, this time, complained out loud,
“Man, I hate my legs.”
Without hesitation, my husband looked at me, and with kindness prompted, “Why would you talk to yourself like that?”
Immediately, I recognized my inner-narrative and how often I say things like that. If not out loud, then internally. It was as if a new understanding overtook my mind as I realized the importance of words toward myself. I felt bad. It saddened me I spoke that way to myself. Not just this time, but all the times past. My husband’s question really helped me acknowledge the consistency of negative self-talk I had in my life.
I mean, I try to be kind in my words to others. I try to carry grace and gentleness in my tone with others. But for myself, holy moly, do I throw all that out the window.
That same night I committed to speak life over myself going forward. Anytime my inner narrative became negative, I tried, and to this day try, to speak the opposite, something that would bring life and encouragement instead. At times, I stop in front of the mirror and say things out loud to let myself hear the words.
Gracious words are like a honeycomb, sweetness to the soul and health to the body.Proverbs 16:24
Within a week, I noticed how my heart changed. Not only that, but I also noticed how my skin, eyes, and hair brightened. It felt as though a new health settled in. It might sound silly, but I’m here to tell you, words are powerful!
Our words matter. The words we use for ourselves and for others release life and death, for real! It’s up to us to choose what we will say. No one else is responsible for our words.
There’s a devotional by Susie Larson called Prevail. I admire this woman and the way she carries herself with so much grace, candor, and gentleness. When I picked up this devotional and turned to the correlating day, her words were beyond timely after this specific “leg-hating” instance (it’s the quote I mentioned above). This specific devotional helped me prevail with life-giving thoughts and words.
I had strayed away from being acutely aware of my value and divinely aware of my calling because of the constant negative self-talk.
Even though I can speak kindly to others, I don’t always speak kindly to myself. This alters my awareness of the value God placed on me. This skews my understanding and confidence of the calling God placed on my life. My heart and intentions can be life-giving to others, but not to myself. Is it the same for you?
Do you speak negatively towards yourself and find that you’re less aware of the value and calling God placed on your life? How do you speak to yourself? And, like my husband’s question, why would you talk to yourself like that?
Negative self-talk shifts our ability to live transformed. The words we speak against ourselves hurt us more in the long-run than in the present. We may not think much of it when the negativity slips from our mouths, but later, we definitely feel weighed down, insecure, and unworthy. We grow in fear, anxiety, and depression instead of faith, love, peace, and joy.
When we aren’t kind to ourselves, it will soon weigh others down, too.
Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.Ephesians 4:29
This verse is for all of us.
If everyone’s thoughts and inner-narratives were on display. I’m sure we would find that most struggle with being kind to themselves. Most struggle with negative inner-narratives and self-talks. Along with the world and potentially other people in our lives, the last person we should hear negative self-talk from is ourselves. Yet, it’s often the most prominent, convincing, and consistent.
In my last blog post, I talked about why our thoughts matter. I shared how our thoughts form our beliefs and shape the way we view ourselves and others. Our thoughts influence what we say and, at any point, we can reveal dark thoughts through our words without notice. Like the famous quote by Lao Tsū, watch your thoughts, for they influence your words, and your words influence your actions, and so on.
When we start speaking kindly to ourselves, and understand that everyone has an inner narrative that could be negative, I believe we experience a deeper level of compassion for others and speak more kindly to them, too. Life-giving words come around full circle, helping us grow and mature for the better!
I encourage you to take some inventory of your words.
- Consider taking notes for the next 24-hours (like physically writing notes in a journal or in your phone) of any negative self-talk and words that you say out loud.
- Confess any negative words before the Lord and/or to a close friend.
- Repent of negative self-talk and words. Definitely do the same if you speak negatively towards others, too.
- Find a devotional that can help strengthen your identity, mindset, and understanding of your new life in Christ, like I did. Or read the Bible a little more often.
- Practice speaking kindly to yourself (and others). Look in the mirror and (even if it’s forcefully) tell yourself good things. Write out some Bible verses on sticky notes (like these) if you must, and get into the habit of speaking life over yourself.
Live transformed in Christ by choosing to lead what you say, today!