Quit speaking that over your life!

  • I am stupid.
  • I am ugly.
  • I am not good enough.
  • I am too old.
  • I am too young.
  • I am incapable.

According to the National Science Foundation, 80% of our thoughts are negative. A lot of our thoughts about life and ourselves are pessimistic. We outwardly walk around in melancholy. A dark cloud over our heads exposing our dejected thoughts. Some of us conceal our despondent thoughts in hopes that the world would be blind to our insecurity as we cover up in nice clothes, fancy things and artistic instagram posts.

Think for a second. What is one negative thing you repeatedly say about yourself or think to yourself on a daily basis? What is that insecurity you say to yourself that haunts you at night and interrupts your thoughts each day? The words you speak, shape who you are. Whether through mere confessional joking or the thoughts you entertain that stirs insecurity; those words crystallizes and then shapes your belief about self, forms your character and establishes your worldview. What you speak will be what you become.

If you’ve read the historical fiction novel by American author Kathryn Stockett, The Help, or seen the film adaptation, there’s this moment where Nanny Aibileen Clack tells Mae Mobley, to repeat what she said. Nanny Aibileen’s words to Mae Mobley were, “You is Kind, You is Smart, You is Important.” Nanny Aibileen wasn’t just doing a nice thing by saying those words. She noticed insecurity developing in Mae Mobley at the ripe age of 2 due to the neglect she received from her birth mom. Nanny Aiblineen needed Mae Mobley to speak words of perfect truth because she knew that whatever Mae Mobley, or anyone for that matter spoke of themselves, would be who they would become.

My husband is my Nanny Aibileen. There are days where I wake up and I all I can say about myself are negative things. I’d tell myself, I am ugly, I am too fat, I am not capable and I am just not cut out for it. That’s when Jarrod will scoop me up in his big arms, take my face in his hands and look me dead in the eye and tell me “Quit speaking that over your life!” He’d follow that by challenging me to speak absolute truths. He doesn’t let me wallow in the negative talking. He stops me in my tracks and challenges me to speak truth not death over my life. Face it, we have bad days, but bad days can easily turn into bad weeks, months and years if we allow ourselves to constantly speak words of death over our lives.

Words that stir poor self esteem, and low self worth are words of death. They kill our drive, kill our confidence and kill our character. Words of life, does exactly what the word is. It gives life. It stirs motivation, gives hope to each day and build our character. King Solomon wrote in Proverbs 18:21,

“Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruit."

Simply put, whatever you speak over your life will be what you produce. If you speak you are stupid, ugly, not enough, too old, too young or incapable, you will live out those words exactly. Maybe not to others, but when you look in the mirror, that will be all you will see. It is far more than seeing though. You will act out what you speak. If you tell yourself you are stupid, you will make no efforts to learn. If you tell yourself you are ugly, you will make no effort in your outward appearance. If you tell yourself you are too young or too old, you will keep living in excuses and never live to your true potential. If you keep telling yourself you are incapable, you will never walk through doors of opportunity.

Champions make adjustments. Everyone else, make excuses. Whether you believe it or not, speak truth of life over your life. Be the champion and make adjustments. Excuses will keep you in the rut. Excuses will keep you defeated. Excuses will keep you from accomplishing your goals, from becoming a better you and from making a difference. Excuses rob your potential. Champion on! Now, quit speaking that[death] over your life.

As Nanny Aibileen Clack would say, You is Kind, You is Smart, You is Important. Now say that out loud until you believe it.

Have you used words of death as an excuse to stay in the rut? What words have you spoken over your life that you need to rid of? Replace them with words of life!


Artifice Strides

You woke up this morning only to find yourself on a stage with the biggest projector screen behind you. Your life is being played on said screen. You look around to see that you’re not the only one in the room. Rather, there’s a full audience watching your biopic. Your “true” self, is being revealed. Every thought, and action both seen in public and unseen in private is being played for said audience. Would you be ashamed? Would you hide in shame seeing the inner parts of your life being exposed? Would your true self contradict what your daily strides have conveyed. I can tell you — I would be ashamed. There are parts of my heart and my character that I am not quite proud of.

We have been living in deception. We’ve chosen the route of fake it till we make it. Our Christian walk is all a hoax. We’ve been preaching a certain narrative, while living the exact opposite of what we preach. We’ve tricked those around us to believe we are the “it” Christian, when in actuality we are crumbling inside. I call this, artifice strides.

What’s “artifice”? Defined, it is a cleaver more often underhanded means to achieve an end. Simply put, it’s a gimmick or bluff. I’ve bluffed Christianity. I’ve pretended in order to convince those around me that I’ve mastered it. Have you done that before? There’s a difference between struggling with a sin and actively working towards growth versus actively living in said sin and pretending nothing is wrong. Artifice strides creatively manipulates those around you that your walk with Christ is subpar. Artifice strides are works based when the heart is quite messed up.

Paul, the writer of many of the New Testament books, writes in 1 Corinthians 13 some biblical truths on artifice strides that I believe properly illustrates how many of us have chosen to live out Christianity. He writes,

If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.

The idea here is that love conquers the sin nature within us. Love is found in salvation and atonement, however it doesn’t stop there. It continues after we’ve accepted Jesus in our hearts. Salvation is not a one moment experience. It’s a daily, moment by moment, spiritual growth. In Christianity, we should grow patience and kindness. Envy, boasting and pride is replaced with humility and genuine glee for the victories of others. In growth, we learn to honor those around us, and seek truth versus delighting in evil. Paul states that when love through salvation grows within us, we protect, trust, hope and persevere in our daily strides.

We’d like to believe we are not pretentious in our approach to Christianity, but the truth of the matter is, many of us are. Our intentions are not always pure. We pray with hate heavy in our hearts. We sing praises with no faith within us. We share the word of God through mere memorization and not a love for God’s word. We quote scriptures as a means to judge those whom we disagree with because of their open sin nature, yet we are no different in the secret places as we’re actively living in sin. We’ve cleverly developed a means to say we’ve done Christianity well, when in actuality it is all a hoax. We hide behind the title Christianity when it’s merely a means to gain status and liking among believers or present oneself as perfect.

Christianity is not a destination. When we view Christianity as a destination we take artifice strides. All our doing for Christ is done with the intent to “appear” as a Christian. Faith, integrity and authenticity is absent in terminal Christianity. Destination Christianity knows only to do and has not grasped onto the truth of transformation. True Christianity is perpetual. It doesn’t end with the call to salvation. It’s continuous in unwavering growth.

The question I want to propose to you is, are you taking artifice or honoring strides? Are you authentically walking? Are you living what you preach or have you bluffed the Christian walk? Is at all a hoax? If it is, here’s something you need to know, you cannot make a lie, truth. Ultimately, the lie you’re hoping to appear as truth air its’ ugly face. Until we begin to be honest with ourselves and open up about the sins we struggle with, then will we be able to find freedom. Truth sets us free and in freedom we can walk honorably. Truth is you admitting and acknowledging your sins. From that point, Gods word can transform. God cannot move unless we create space in our hearts for Him to move. Too often we’ve welcomed artifice strides in order to hide behind perfection and not admit our sin nature.

I want to challenge you to be honest about your faith walk. If you’re making artifice strides, someone will eventually call your bluff. We are not promised tomorrow to live honorably. We have a choice and ultimately it’s choosing between a lie or truth.

What are you going to do?