“No matter what I do I just can’t seem to lose weight.” “I’m so tired.” “I hurt all the time.” I have said all three of those sentences multiple times within the past 30 days. But this week I heard something that revolutionized my thinking and subsequently, the words I speak.
I was listening to a podcast from Elevation Church out of Charlotte, North Carolina. Pastor Steven Furtick’s sermon was titled “How to Be Brave.” (Part 1) He was talking about how we create our environment by our words. In his message he told about a time he’d been to a teaching and the speaker challenged the audience with this: “After anything you say in life, don’t say it if you can’t follow with, ‘and that’s just the way I want it.’”
Stopped. Me. Short.
Let’s just go back for a moment to the sentences I started with adding “and that’s just the way I want it.”
- “No matter what I do I just can’t seem to lose weight and that’s just the way I want it.”
- “I’m so tired and that’s just the way I want it.”
- “I hurt all the time and that’s just the way I want it.”
Whoa, whoa, whoa! There’s no truth to any of that! Why then would I say those “condemning words” over and over again?
I know there is power in our words. I even wrote a devotional on that very topic a couple of months ago. But the whole concept of adding, “and that’s just the way I want it” opened my eyes to the words I have been allowing to come out of my mouth.
Do my words really have that much power? Oh, I don’t know, let’s see what the Bible says.
“The tongue can bring death or life; those who love to talk will reap the consequences.” Proverbs 18:21
LIFE or DEATH!
So it appears that yes, our words do have that much power. The next question is how do I change?
While it’s true that I may be struggling to lose weight it doesn’t mean I have to give up hope. Pounds aren’t permanent. And though I do deal with fatigue and chronic pain I certainly don’t want them to hang around for the next 30 years. So if I get to choose death or life by my words, I’m going to choose life!
Practically speaking I think this could wipe out any and all potential whining on my part. If I have to finish my sentence with “and that’s just the way I like it” I’m certainly not going to start it with, “I have a nasty headache” or “I look frumpy today.” That would be dumb.
Does this mean I’m going to lie when someone says, “How are you doing?” My husband says that “fine” is the first lie anyone tells at church on a Sunday morning.
“How are you today?” “I’m fine thanks.”
But the truth is that I really am “fine” in the ways that matter most. Or, as the song says, It is well with my soul. So “fine” is never really a lie when put in an eternal perspective. Sometimes though, a friend throws out a “how are you” and you know they are really saying, “What’s going on in your life? Problems? Issues? How can I be praying for you?” (Those are good friends to have, by the way.) How do I answer those questions with a life-speaking answer? Again, let’s go back to the opening sentences and add some “life” to them.
- Old Statement: “No matter what I do I just can’t seem to lose weight.”
- New Statement: “I am choosing to live a healthier lifestyle.”
- Old Statement: “I’m so tired.”
- New Statement: “God gives me strength for everything He’s called me to do.”
- Old Statement: “I hurt all the time.”
- New Statement: “I believe that God is healing my pain.”
Perhaps I should add a statement here to go along with the picture above.
- Old statement: “It is so stinkin’ cold!”
- New Statement: “Isn’t the snow beautiful?”
This could take some time.
But, do you see the difference in the original three sentences? The old statements are life-stealing. The new statements are life-giving. How can you add “life” to the situations you’re dealing with today? I would love it if you’d join me on this word-changing, life-speaking journey. If you’re comfortable, please share in the comment area the “life-speaking” change you want to make. I would love to pray for you.
“And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.” Philippians 4:8