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Resetting my words

Updated: Aug 30, 2023

July 16, 2022

I have recently been focused on resetting my words in a lot of areas. Our words are powerful! It is important to keep a good reign on our tongues - and this does not only apply to "bad words". What we speak about others, ourselves and our circumstances matters more than you might realize.

Prov. 15:4 and 18:21 remind us that even life and death are in the power of the tongue. 1 Pet 3:10 tells us that the tongue, when kept from evil, is for those who love life and want to see good days. And Prov. 21:23 tells us our tongue, when rightly managed, will keep us from trouble. The opposites of these are also true - if we do NOT guard it or use it rightly.

What I had been saying

The most recent focus for me has been shifting my words around prayer. So often we find ourselves saying "well, all we can do now is pray". I know most of us don't intend to say or believe that prayer is actually a last resort only, but this phrase implies that, and I think it is important to say what we mean. It is especially important around things like this - you never know who is listening, not to mention the fact that our brains process things as they are said, not always as they are intended. Even when it is our own statements - if we are not intentional with our words, our brains will twist it and therefore our behavior and worldview will shift. It's a dangerous path to start down.

What I am resetting to

Prayer is my first and constant necessity

Now, I am training myself to say "the BEST thing we can do is pray." I want to remember that prayer is my first and constant necessary response, not a last resort. Prayer should always be the first place we go, whether for a problem we don't know how to handle or a praise for what has been handled. I always want my first response to be to go to God. I want to remind myself that I am to be praying without ceasing - in every circumstance.

Other areas of application

Speaking about or to ourselves

I firmly believe - through evidence in my experience - that what we speak to and about ourselves is so important. Especially for those of us in or who have been in traumatic/toxic relationships. The lies that have been told to us for so long by our abusers or our circumstances need to be replaced with truth. The best way to do this is to speak the truth God says about us out loud. Any time a thought comes to our mind that is negative, we must examine it for truth.

Statements about things we are actually doing wrong are things we need to examine and make appropriate changes to, yes. But so often we take the thoughts that are born from lies and believe them to be true. One way (the best way in my opinion) to tell the difference is first to examine the thought or statement for details. General statements and overall identity statements that are negative are most likely lies. (Things like "I am not enough", "I am just a failure"). On the other hand, if we are told or realize that we have a bad habit of lying, or that we just told a lie - those are more likely to be true and fixable.

This is where the difference between Guilt and Shame are helpful too - Guilt is a conviction that leads to repentance, while Shame is a feeling of identity that leads to depression and self-loathing, along with the idea that there is no changing it. God does not shame us. That is a work of the Devil. God our Father always leads us to repentance, redemption and restoration.

Speaking about and to others

I would never want my words to be the catalyst for someone else's battle with their own identity or mental health. I want my words to speak life over others. I am all about being a help to healing, and as such, I must be very careful with my words.

Many times this means not allowing them to escape my mouth. Helping others heal, and making sure I am not a part of the problems, often means way more listening than it does speaking. It means sitting quietly and offering hugs, and no more! For me, with my "mouth gift" (as Tina Smith calls it), that can be a big challenge at times - especially when it is someone or something I am very passionate about. I pray that I can use my ears and arms more than my mouth! After all, I have two ears and two arms but only one mouth - and that should be a hint, don't you think?

Speaking about our circumstances

I often refer to Phil. 4:8&9 because it is my life verse. It applies perfectly here too. When looking at the circumstances I find myself in, it can be all too easy to see the stuff going wrong and the ways that things are hard. When I apply this verse, however, I find myself in a state of peace way more often than not.

Even when things are super hard and overwhelming, looking for "if there is anything worthy of praise" and speaking that out loud has made all the difference. There is always something I can praise God for in every circumstance, and being able to focus on that instead of whatever negatives there are is so freeing. It doesn't mean I don't see or acknowledge the things that need my attention to make right, or that I live a "pie in the sky" way. It does, however, mean that I know who is in control and I trust my heavenly Father with all of it. I take one step at a time at His direction and focus on the fact that He loves me and will never fail me.

When I focus on the negatives, I end up with a 'wall of woe' around me that I cannot see a way out of. It's like a black hole that just sucks me in until I remember to look for the light and head towards it. Speaking only the surface "truth" of what I see in hard times keeps me from being able to see any deeper into what the deeper real Truth is - and that is always my way out and on.

How to reset

Resetting my words has taken time and intentionality. I started by establishing my life verse as the way I was determined to do life. Daily gratitude was another step that helped so much. It felt really weird and pointless at first, with things like "I am grateful for food today" and "Thank you God for a pretty sky". As I practiced, however, it became not only easier, but fuller and more automatic. I was grateful for things like specifically answered prayers, changes I saw in myself or my kids and more. As I spoke gratitude out loud or wrote it down, it became more of a natural viewpoint for me. Then, learning how to recognize lies that I had been told and had believed about myself was a big step. I intentionally took time to learn who God is and what He says about me and who I am in him. Then I was able to replace the lies, as they cropped up, with the opposite truth that I had learned.

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