You know how it goes. Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me. The reality is that words do hurt, and their effect can last much longer than a physical injury.
There are a lot of words that swirl around in my head. Some are true and some are not. Some are kind and some are not. Some are mine and some are not. Some are godly and some are not. I am going through some counseling right now (oh yes, I will wave that banner high), and one thing we are working on is paying attention to those words and rewriting when necessary.
Here are some of my thoughts…
My small group recently went through the book Desperate: Hope for the Mom Who Needs to Breathe (which I HIGHLY recommend to expecting/new/seasoned moms), and there is one line that seemed to resonate with me. I am slightly paraphrasing because I have a bad memory, but the gist of it is, “Sometimes the loudest voices are from those who haven’t failed enough yet.” Moms are overflowing with advice and “This is how I…”, and I do believe it is good-natured. Sometimes, however, it is ill-timed. Or not asked for at all. Even judgmental. It is the judgmental lines that are on replay in my head, not the encouraging or wise lines. Why do I (we?) do that? So to reference the line from Desperate, I fully admit I have failed. A lot. Everyday. Before breakfast. Do I have a certain way of parenting? Absolutely. But it doesn’t have to be YOUR way of parenting. This is something I am working on. I am a work in progress.
I’m pretty hard on myself. Well sometimes, I am also quite gracious with myself in some areas of life. But honestly no one is more critical of me…than me. God is not critical, or shaming, or unloving. He DOES use his Spirit to convict us so we can grow to be more like him. So I am working to discern whether I am hearing my own critical voice, or his convicting Spirit. My small group is now working on the book Unglued: Making Wise Choices in the Midst of Raw Emotions and this is a theme in the book. God is not condemning. So much freedom.
One final thought from the book Unglued…she mentions the book “You Are Special” by Max Lucado, and how the Wemmicks get stars or dots, and they only stick if you let them. Basically it teaches that you are special because you have a creator who loves you, not because of what others think of you. It made me think…what words am I leaving behind? Am I placing lovely stars or ugly dots on people? Words stick, friends, even to the most confident people.
Words stick. Make them lovely and loving.