“If I had really spoken this way to others, I would have been a traitor to Your people” (Psalm 73:15 NLT).
We’ve all gone through some major upheavals. Times when it feels as if life has completely sideswiped us, and when that happens it’s easy to complain. And frump. And mope. But our words matter, a lot. Everything we say has the capacity to inspire and encourage or discourage and deaden.
Never is this truth seen more clearly then when words are spoken between a parent and child. Hold on to that thought; we’ll pick it up in a moment.
I’d received a bit of a blow. Nothing catastrophic, but enough to throw me into full-on moping mode. I’d stepped out in faith in a few instances, believing wholeheartedly God was calling me in that direction, only to reach the biggest dead end possible. And there I stood, staring at that big yellow sign, confused and discouraged.
Numerous questions swam through my mind: What now, Lord? Were you in that? Have I learned to recognize Your voice at all?
Questions like those aren’t bad. We all go through periods of doubt and uncertainty, of times when we run full speed ahead only to ricochet off a massive and previously hidden brick wall. And when that happens, it’s okay to lie on the ground stunned—for a while. It’s okay to cry out to God, asking for help. For guidance.
But even in the midst of our greatest setback or frustration, we must remember others, our children in particular, are watching.
Mamas, we need to be really careful to guard our words, to make sure what we say when squeezed mirrors what we preach during bedtime devotions. Because each day, in the muck and thick of it, our kids are learning from us what it means to live a Christ-centered and Christ-dependent life. What it looks like to keep walking by faith even when our sight gets all fuzzy. And what it means to love God and others with everything within us, even when our first response is to hide, lash out, or self-protect.
So how do we do that?
First, we surrender. The other day, I happened upon a quote cycling Facebook. It said, “Quit asking why and start asking, ‘God, how can you be glorified through this?’”
That’s a game changer, isn’t it? An attitude changer—a life changer, and not just ours. Our response to problems and trials has the capacity of drawing others to Christ or pushing them further away. The choice is ours.
Next, we pray, knowing God’s wisdom is perfect for every situation or problem we’ll encounter. Throughout the Bible, God promises to guide and instruct us. I believe many times when we feel we have no answers, it’s not because God hasn’t made His will clear but rather because we haven’t taken the time to listen.
Finally, we rest in Christ and His perfect strength. That’s the only way we can live this Christian life in a way that glorifies Him. Apart from Him, we’re weak, selfish, fearful, and deceived. But when we abide in Him, which means drawing near and staying close to Him throughout our day, allowing Him to stand strong on our behalf, we can overcome any challenge or setback that comes our way.
When problems strike or uncertainties arise, we can ho, hum, and mope about, presenting a fair-weather faith, or we can guard our words, draw near to Christ, and let Him use our circumstances to bring glory to Himself. I don’t know about you, but I’d rather do the latter.
What thoughts did you have as you read today’s post? How have you seen your words impact others? How might being intentional about what we speak, especially when we’re more emotional or perhaps tired, help those we love?