Last year, I read the cutest book to Ellie’s first grade class, Lacey Walker, Nonstop Talker. It was about a little girl who had a problem with, you guessed it, talking. As I read to those kiddos, I asked if any of them talked too much. They all started talking about how they liked to talk, and their sweet teacher just died laughing. Then I leaned forward and asked if I could tell them a secret. That got their attention. As I looked at those sweet faces, I confessed, “Ms. Natalie talks too much too. Just ask Ellie’s daddy. But I am working on it.” I think I gained some lifelong friends that day. 😊
I do love to talk! It’s how God made me. But sometimes it gets me into trouble. And more than I would like to admit, my words cause me to sin. A wise friend shared this verse with me, and it’s so true.
When there are many words, sin is unavoidable, but the one who controls his lips is wise. (Proverbs 10:19, HCSB.)
I have really thought about tattooing this verse on my forehead!! There have been so many times when I have said things out of emotion or kept talking when I should have just zipped it. I cringe when I think back on certain conversations, and I wish I could have a “do-over.” I walked away feeling convicted, knowing that I had said things that were not God-honoring. Thankfully, we can repent when we mess up, ask for forgiveness and move forward in God’s grace. And maybe duct tape our mouths shut. (Kidding!!!)
Our words have so much power. Proverbs 18:21 in the New Living Translation puts it this way.
The tongue can bring death or life; those who love to talk will reap its consequences.
The phrase “sticks and stones can break my bones but words will never hurt me” really isn’t true according to Scripture or from my personal experience. What we say affects people. BUT we have the power to speak life and truth. We can ENCOURAGE one another. What if we used our words to cheer each other on in the LORD, to lift each other up when we fall down, to celebrate one another’s gifts and talents? Can you imagine?
The LORD has been unbelievably gracious in bringing people into my life who have used their words to speak life. Some may not even realize how much their friendships mean to me. Their sweet texts, notes, and encouraging words have often come at the exact time when I have needed it most. Most of these precious friendships were birthed out of community from church. It may sound cliché but it is so true. And they are some of my greatest treasures.
If you don’t have anyone in your life who encourages you, what should you do? Remember Matthew 7:9-11? Just Ask. God did not create us to live this life on our own, and He will bring people to come alongside us, especially when we put ourselves out there within a community of believers. In the meantime (really all the time) start encouraging others in your life!
And for those of us who have those sweet friends who hold us up along the way, maybe we should reach out and let them know how thankful we are for them. You never know how much they may need some encouragement right about now.
Praying that we become a generation of encouragers! And that I learn when to zip it. 😊