POD #19: The Power of Your Word
One of the quotes that those close to me would say is a Jackie-ism is “Your words have power.” I grew up hearing the scripture that “the power of life and death are in the tongue. ” But I don’t know when it really clicked for me that what we say truly is creative in our life.
The power of spoken word is something that I am a firm believer in, and a guiding principle for most things I say. I am not perfect by any means with this, but if I catch myself, I correct it. When others speak negative things, I immediately point out their words have power too. I drive my co-workers crazy with it, but I can not help the firmness of my belief. I can’t stop what thoughts come time my mind, but I can control what I allow to come out of it.
I do my best not to speak out things that can have a negative impact on my life. If I claim I have a headache – it is generally after I have spoken it out of existence for a while and it continues with intensity. I do not speak illness into my life, and I am a healthy person (Still working on being fit, but I am healthy.). Not that I am good about speaking blessing over myself, but I do not speak the negative very much.
In the power of my word in others’ lives, I think the first time it really understood this principle was around 2003. I was a very negative person; not that I couldn’t see people’s strengths and point them out, that was my job and I was great at it. Yet, I really focused on the negative with my husband, my children, and those closest to me. My marriage was really struggling at the time, and a good friend asked me rather frankly “Jackie, why are you married to your husband?” After the initial shock of her question wore off my face, she went on to say “You never say anything nice about him – ever.”
That statement cut me to the core. So I set about to change. Initially, I would have to catch myself mid-sentence. Then I started being very selective to who I might complain to about my husband. Eventually, I would only complain to God or share with a friend one time what my husband was doing that was driving me nuts. It really was a life changing statement my friend made. My marriage quickly took on new life as I stopped speaking negative about my husband and it has only improved since that time.
I realized I had the same pattern with my children. I admit this is an area I still struggle with, there are weeks I feel like the only conversation I am having with my youngest daughter is how she doesn’t pick up after herself and I am tired of doing it – most every parent’s battle. However, I now usually try to balance out correction with positives. There really are so many positives about my now grown children. I didn’t do a great job of it when they were younger. They were probably in their early teens when I started asking myself (And admittedly they would also sometimes ask me) “If this is the worse thing my kids ever do, would the world still go on.” The answer was always a resounding “yes.” Looking back, I am so thankful for God’s grace covering them from a lot of my negativity and anger.
I know my negative pattern came from my mother when I was growing up and some from my siblings towards my parents and each other. The environment I grew up in was not at all nurturing. Our physical needs were always met – we always had food, shelter, clothing. My parents took care of birthdays, Christmas, and start of school. They were very good at meeting our spiritual needs – taking us to church, reading the Bible and showing us that with problems – even big ones God could be the answer. They even met our educational needs – making sure we attended school and did our homework. But our emotional needs were completely ignored.
There were times that nothing we did could please my mother, she was such an angry person. She could always find the negative things we had done and harp on them for hours, days or weeks. I think I was blessed as the youngest child, because she was wore out. She began working full-time from the time I started school and so my exposure was limited to weekends, holidays, and summer when we would be home when she was awake. I also had the benefit of have older siblings, aunts, a grandmother, and many other adults who spoke life into me.
When I get focused on something that someone has said about me, something that is draining my life – I remind myself that my worth and value do not come from what I have done, what others have done to me, or what others say about me. My value comes from my Creator. Then I work to refocus my thoughts about what He says about me. I won’t say I am always successful, but that is the strategy I use when I find myself slowly dying from words spoken over me or to me.