What does it mean to communicate?

We probably think we have the answer in the myriad ways in which we carry out this activity.

But do we stop and consider if our words and messages match our hearts, thoughts, or intentions?

Are we communicating to bring clarity, purpose, hope and meaning to one another? 

Much of what we express is done with the words we say or leave unsaid.

So much can  get lost in translation.

So much can fail to convey what we desire.

“Sticks and stones will break my bones but words will never harm me” ~ Anon (English Language children’s rhyme)

The quote above may be familiar to you. The second line is alternatively: “but names will never hurt me”. I don’t know about you but I think it is way off the truth, even if this was drummed into us with the intention of stiffening our spines to playground taunts, the slings and arrows of outrageous insults that were flying our way, hopefully more often with mischief than malice.

“The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit” ~ Proverbs 18:21

Words spoken Over us, To us, About us – names and labels applied by others (or ones we attach to ourselves) – all have the power to bring change for good or ill. They can bless, heal, restore and encourage or have potential to wound, emotionally upset, damage, and affect how we perceive ourselves.
This week’s God-sized Dream challenge is to: “Think back to another time when you took positive action in your life. What’s the one thing that helped you move forward that you could apply again now and someone else could benefit from hearing too?”

I have been remembering the time when I came to the end of counselling for the emotional pain in my past. It was clear that I needed to think of and speak about myself using different terminology than before. 

The negative messages from childhood, which had very much shaped the way I saw myself, were crying out to be addressed and positive reinforcement applied instead. 

I’d unconsciously absorbed and worn ‘labels’ that didn’t fit me anymore as a believer in Christ:

Unwanted, Unloved, Rejected, Lost, Ashamed, Guilty…. etc

God has given me new names from His word and encouraged me to believe I was now THIS: Precious, Beloved, Redeemed, Honoured and Forgiven instead of THAT list above.

Words have power to change our life by changing our way of thinking

In order to move forward I needed to require a new mind-set which would come from focusing on His word and what it said about me, instead of focusing on my feelings and old patterns of thinking. To change my life by changing my words. A brilliant little book really helped me to do this and I still turn to it whenever I need a boost and a reminder.

“Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is – his good, pleasing and perfect will” ~ Romans 12:2 – 3

I’d love to report that it all made sense and I woke up the next day thinking only positive thoughts and speaking only good things over my life. If Only.

What has taken years to be absorbed can take a long time to rectify because old habits die hard and new habits take time to cultivate

I am very much a ‘Work in Progress’ in this area as in so many. Much patience is needed.

Little by little, though, I am seeing changes for the better in my way of thinking and feeling. It is no longer automatic for me to respond to a compliment with a put-down. I am generally able to believe what the Bible says about me and gain peace from it.

This is definitely something I can apply to my God-sized Dream quest and, indeed, the rest of my life. Positive affirmation and thinking go a long way toward making us whole.

“We all talk to ourselves. A major key to success exists in what we say to ourselves, which helps to shape out attitude and mindset” ~ Darren L. Johnson

Would you join me in applying God’s truth to the lies spoken over you, the untruths you have believed and spoken about yourself, that have affected you with pain, sadness, and feelings of powerlessness?

Your past doesn’t have to determine your future

Today can be the start of the rest of your life

God can equip you to believe for better and see it happen

Let’s also try to remember to ‘speak’ words of life and hope into the lives of others too and bless them with positive reinforcement. For it is said:

“Tread softly because you tread on my dreams” ~ William Butler Yeats

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In this post I am linking up with Holley Gerth and the God-sized Dream team. Do join us for the journey of discovering all that God has in store for you this year.

There will be more about the power of words to come in future posts, including my ‘One Word’ for 2013.

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