Speak Life-Giving Words
A while back a friend of mine talked about speaking positive words to her children when they are misbehaving. Not just positive words…but life-giving words. God’s word. Speaking into their situation and into their heart the words that call out their true nature in Christ…not their momentary misbehavior.
This piece of advice felt like a giant YES in my spirit. I’m not always perfect at it, but it’s been that voice in the back of my head every time I find myself in the throws of correcting and disciplining.
A child that has told a lie is told “in this house we don’t lie. You’re a truth teller.”
A child that has crumbled on the floor in complete despair because something didn’t go their way is told “you’re an overcomer and you’re not going to allow this to overcome you…you’re going to overcome it because we are overcomers in Christ.”
A child that’s having a horrible meltdown and spewing words of anger is told “you have a kind heart and you use your words to speak kindness and love to others. You’re a good boy/girl.”
Sometimes they stop what they are doing and look at me like I’m crazy because it’s unexpected. But when we give people what they need…instead of what they think they deserve…like Jesus has done for us…we are overcome with the feelings of love and grace. It IS transformative.
I have seen eyes dry up and smiles spread across a face. Defiance turned inside out with nodding and agreeing. Screaming turned to weeping and repenting. That’s what can happen when we speak life-giving words. It’s amazing the power of the tongue and what it can do. Words of compassion heal a misunderstood soul. Words of grace soften a hardened heart.
Now, can I confess something to you? This is not my natural, first response. It’s something I have to work on. I like to say it’s something I have to walk out on shaky legs. But the more you do it, the more you become good at it. All of sudden, in the midst of a trying parenting situation when you’re feeling like you’re going to lose it, you find your answer…your hope…in the life-giving words that you speak rather than giving into the frustration and chaos of the moment.
I think it’s something that works not just on children, but on all of us. If there’s a person in your life who is getting on your last nerve at work or is always finding a way to rub you the wrong way, flip your script. Try speaking life giving words to them…even if it’s done on shaky legs. It will not only have the potential to change them, but it will bring an internal change in you, as well.
Now, one last thing. Do it for yourself, too. Speak God’s life-giving words over yourself and your situation.
When life throws up a wall call upon His name because “I am more than a conqueror in Jesus.”
“The things that are impossible for people are possible with God” so bring worries and fears to the One who has supernatural power.
“His strength is made perfect in my weakness” so be weak before Him and call on His strength to meet your feeble attempts.
“I am fearfully and wonderfully made by God” so the next time you’re feeling unloved and unworthy remember you are counted by the one who made the universe and are a splendid example of His workmanship.