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“You will say the wrong thing if you talk too much— so be sensible and watch what you say."
Proverbs 10:19 CEV
“Sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me”. I remember singing that as a child when someone would say something mean to me. It was supposed to be a way to act as if what was said couldn’t hurt my feelings. But sometimes words just stick. No matter how old we are we have the potential to carry the scars from words that were spoken to us. Truthfully, words can and DO much harm.
Sometimes, what is being said was intentionally malicious and other times it could have been true but it was said without love. Then there are times when what’s said is spoken flippantly because the person is “just talking”. If we’re honest we can see ourselves in one if not all of these scenarios as well as on the receiving end.
I can remember 2 instances in particular in my adult life that caused private heartache and questioning if I had somehow not done enough to belong. The first incident occurred while in college; the time when EVERYONE is trying to find their way and themselves I along with some of my close friends was curious about joining different organizations on campus. However, as time passed on one of my friends who wasn't a member of the organization but had the same interests told me in a not so pleasant way "you aren't humble enough to be chosen to be a part of the organization". The words "you aren't humble enough" stuck to me like a dirty shirt on a toddler and it broke my spirit. One thing I knew was that it wasn’t true, but that one phrase “stuck” and I NEVER pursued it even after college because those words would replay in my mind. I could never understand why my humility or presumed lack thereof would be called into question; however there it was for all the world to judge.
A year after graduating with my degree in Journalism and P.R. I obtained my cosmetology license decided to further my education in early childhood education and had begun my master's program while working part-time in a hair salon. My supervisor at the time tossed out some words that once again “just stuck”. “What sense does that make to get a degree in that you can’t do both”. I reasoned and tried to explain it but nobody heard what God personally spoke to me. His words of affirmation were for my ears only and the more I tried to get her to see I could do both just as she had several businesses, it fell on deaf ears and left me feeling defeated. And although I made the Dean's List every semester, when I entered the salon to work I could hear that broken record playing "you can't do both". I wasted so much time second-guessing myself about business decisions and talking myself in and out of scenarios that frankly I was sick of it and myself. I would start to do something and then stop because I didn't want to seem flaky or all over the place, but when we look at Matthew 25:14-30 it tells us that the talents were given "according to their abilities". Who am I to allow the talents that I have been given according to God to be buried based upon someone else's word?
There have been countless times aside from those mentioned that someone has said something to me and the words have hit me harder than a ton of bricks. But, the difference in those times and the two situations I mentioned is that I intentionally decided to listen to what God says about me. Everyone can have their opinion about how you should do the things in your heart, when you should do them, why you should do them, and why you aren't qualified to even handle the things you're interested in let alone what God is calling you. As I navigate this new season of life as a wife and mother, I am clinging to the fact that my words have power but God's Word and message to me is MORE powerful. When God speaks, His goal is not to entertain me but lovingly instruct. His instructions are to listen to Him and do as He asks but to also watch what I say to my husband, my children, family, friends, strangers, and even my enemies. Be a woman with intentionality and words that edify not words that just stick leaving lasting scars.
Prayer: Lord, forgive me for burying my talents instead of trusting You. Forgive me when I have misspoken and said words that have caused more harm than good. Forgive those who have spoken those words over me. Heal those broken and scarred places where hurt and damage have been done but most importantly help me to forgive and move forward with You. -Amen