Your Words Matter
Did you see the #MakeItHappy CocaCola commercial during the Super Bowl? The one where a can of coke magically transforms all the nasty, mean-spirited words darting around the Internet into happy sentiments? Well, it was my favorite.
If you haven’t seen it, take a moment to watch the ad below. You’ll be glad you did.
Whoever said “sticks and stones can break your bones, but words can never hurt you,” lied. Their pants are on fire. Words have weight and power no matter what medium they come across—“I love you,” whispered tenderly, a handwritten thank you note, or a spiteful Tweet.
Your words matter because they have the ability to impact others significantly.
Proverbs 15:4 says, “A soothing tongue is a tree of life, but perversion in it crushes the spirit.” It’s true.
Last Friday, I was stressed and discouraged at work—practically on the verge of a panic attack—when a random notification from Instagram lit up my phone. It was just one small sentence. A thoughtful mention from my sweet friend Ali reminding me that she thinks I’m awesome.
“Pleasant words are a honeycomb, Sweet to the soul and healing to the bones.” – Proverbs 16:24
It was one simple, thoughtful statement, but I read her words five times. I drank them in, surprised at how dehydrated my soul was. A handful of words, typed out on her phone, sank down deep in my heart and lifted me up like helium in a balloon.
Her words mattered to me.
They mattered to me the same way hurtful statements lobbed carelessly by a co-worker still sting. The same way spiteful words written in high school over AOL are seared into my memory. Even though I’ve forgiven their distributors, those words are still etched in my mind—sneering reminders of reasons I should feel insecure and unloved.
I bet you can think of similar words spoken or typed into your life.
Words that have brought tears to your eyes, phrases that have robbed you of confidence, sentences that have caused you to forget you are a precious, valued daughter of the King. They burn deep and can hurt worse than broken bones.
It’s words like these that make me want to apologize on behalf of all women. Because you know as much as I do, we can be terribly mean to each other.
(Seriously, I want to tell you I’m sorry. I am so sorry for the judgmental comments, tactless insults, or backhanded complements you’ve received. I’m sorry for the words you’ve heard that have made you feel small, ugly, worthless, dirty, or unlovable. Whether they fell out of my mouth (or fingers) or someone else’s, I’m deeply, sincerely sorry. )
But it’s also words like these that make me want to give all women a nice swift kick in the butt. (In the most kind, loving way, of course.)
There are not enough Ali’s in this world—not enough women who are deliberately using their words for healing, truth telling, and loving affirmation. Not enough women, are like the Proverbs 31 woman who, “opens her mouth in wisdom, and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue.” (Proverbs 31:26)
Ya’ll, why are we not better at encouraging each other?
Frankly, I think many of us are not strong enough to speak beautiful words to others, because the words we speak to ourselves are the meanest, nastiest of all.
Will you do me a favor, friend? Next time you look in the mirror or make a mistake at work or start to compare yourself to that Pintrest-perfect mom, will you please stop and ask yourself something: Are the words I speak to myself consistent with The Word of God?
For the record… you, my sister, are: gorgeous (Psalm 139:14), righteous (2 Corinthians 5:21), chosen (Ephesians 1:4), an overcomer, (1 John 5:4) loved no matter what (Romans 8:1). You are a wanted, welcome friend. (John 15:15) Never forget it.
Let’s commit to be women who offer life with our words—both when we speak to ourselves and to others.
Once we can speak beautiful words to ourselves, we’ll have much more fun speaking genuine, loving, celebratory sentences to others. Let’s start now.