A young dad was excited to take his 3 year old boy to participate in a father-son charity event through their church. He looked forward to teaching his child the value of serving others and hoped he would gain a great foundation in how Jesus taught people to treat each other with kindness and compassion. They set out on a bright Saturday morning, piled in their SUV and headed onto the road. As he gazed out the window, the young dad grinned with pride as he thought of his exemplary parenting skills. He felt like father of the year for setting such a good example for his little boy. As they pulled onto the highway his son called out from the back seat, “Daddy?” “Yes, son?” He happily replied. “You think there will be any stupid idiots on the road today?”
Words have an impact, don’t they? We may not realize how much the spoken word actually matters, but it really does. You’d admit that receiving praise for a job well done or a compliment on a new haircut can really give you a lift and brighten your day. On the other hand, receiving criticism on a project or judgment for a decision made can in turn bring you down. Words have power in our lives. It is just the way it is. Whether we realize it or not, there is power in what we speak about ourselves and our circumstances. Have you ever thought about how you speak over your life? What thoughts roll around in your head? What do you let come out of your mouth about yourself…and is it positive or negative?
When I got divorced after 15 years of marriage, I found myself in unfamiliar territory. Broken-hearted from the split with my husband, while also being uprooted from my home because of the foreclosure, I was left devastated and afraid. I heard a voice over and over in my head convincing me that I was unwanted, unattractive, and worthless. Certain I had failed as a wife, I now found myself isolated with no clue how to start over. I remember one afternoon right after my kids and I had moved into a rental house. Standing in the front hallway with my mother, we were surrounded by boxes that needed to be unpacked while my children were grieving in the next room. With tears streaming down my face and that debilitating voice echoing in my head, I asked her, “Mom, what in the world am I going to do?” I’ll never forget the next moment as long as I live. Mom put her hands on my shoulders and her face 3 inches from mine and said, “Yancey, listen to me. You’re gonna make it,” she said slowly. “You are… you’re gonna make it.” As I looked into her sweet and determined face, I believed her. Her words stayed with me for years. Every time I felt overwhelmed with bills I could not pay, I remembered, “you’re gonna make it.” When I was lonely and out of place in the single world, I heard, “you’re gonna make it.” When my children cried themselves to sleep missing their dad, her voice told me, “you’re gonna make it.” My mom’s words had power over me. Why? Because I believed that the person who said them loved me, believed in me and wanted the best for my life.
The same is true with your Heavenly Father. His encouraging words can change the course of your life. His words can have power and you believing His words over you can enable that power. Do you know that your Father loves you, believes in you and wants the best for your life? He knows there are voices in your head trying to discourage you. He sees the enemy on the attack. God knows that difficult experiences can make you feel alone and defeated. But He wants you to choose to listen to Him instead.
“How great is the love the Father has lavished on us,
that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!”
1 John 3:1
Remember, you were created by God. You are His precious child and He has lavished His love on you. To lavish means to bestow something extravagantly and to give to generously. God extravagantly and generously loves you! He wants to pour His love on thick and cover you completely with it. Romans 5:5 promises that
“…God has poured out His love into our hearts…”
We don’t have to question this. When He gazes down on you, God sees someone beautiful and talented with very special gifts that He gave you. Doubting your own value means you doubt His creation. Do you determine your worth by how much you weigh, the neighborhood you live in, your success in business, the size of your bank account, or how others accept you? Do you think that is how God determines your worth?
When my daughter was around 10 years old, I overheard her talking to herself in her room. I curiously crept up to the door to listen. I have a habit of talking to myself, so I found it humorous that she may have inherited this from me. But what I overheard was not funny at all. She was looking at herself in the mirror and commenting on every physical feature she did not like. It was as if she was repeating something someone else had told her. I was crushed. How could my adorable child actually believe all these things about her appearance when all I saw was perfection? As I think about this incident, it occurs to me that maybe this is how God feels about us when He hears us so critical of ourselves. I bet it makes Him sad because He is the one who created us. He gave us our personality, our features, our gifts. He views us as his magnificent creation, deliberately made for a special purpose. Ephesians 2:10 says,
“For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works,
which God prepared in advance for us to do.”
The Bible highlights people that God calls to do great work for Him. When we read the scriptures, we can often see how the plan was laid many years before. But when approached by the Lord, many of these people doubt their own worth and speak words of discouragement and defeat. When God calls on Moses to free the Israelites from slavery in Egypt, He says,
“…and now the cry of the Israelites has reached Me, and I have seen the way the Egyptians are oppressing them. So now go, I am sending you to Pharaoh to bring My people out of Egypt.”
Exodus 3: 9-10
What an incredible honor, right? God hears the heartfelt prayers of His people and has a plan to save them. And who does He call on for this miraculous task? Moses. You would think that this would be the greatest day of Moses’ life. He is the chosen one. The golden boy. As you await his response, you imagine it will be, “Wow, God! Thank you so much for this opportunity! Tell me when to go. I know that with you, I’ve got this!” But instead Moses responds with,
“Who am I, that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the Israelites out of Egypt?”
Moses is blinded by his own insecurity and tells the Creator of the universe, “Why me? How can I do this?” His limitations are his only focus. But God’s response to Moses is the key.
“I will be with you.”
When you are worried about the future and question your worth, how comforting would it be to hear God’s voice saying, “I will be with you”? When the critical voice in Moses’ head is replaced with the comforting voice of his Father, he is confidently able to lead the Israelites out of Egypt. Which voice will you listen to – the one that is critical or comforting? Many years later, God’s people are enslaved again to another evil group, the Midianite army. Gideon is the man God calls on to save the Israelites from them and instructs,
“Go in the strength you have and save Israel out of Midian’s hands.”
Once again, the Lord of heaven and earth has called on a mere mortal to do an incredible task. He knows Gideon’s strength because He made him. He recognizes his worth because He chose him. But unfortunately doubt and insecurity get in the way. We see this in Gideon’s reply:
“’But Lord,’ Gideon asked, ‘how can I save Israel?
My clan is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the least in my family.’”
And just as God replies to Moses, He encourages Gideon:
“I will be with you.”
With the confidence of God’s power inside of him, Gideon ultimately defeats the Midianites with only 300 soldiers. Surprisingly, God actually makes Gideon send away 32,000 soldiers before the battle begins so that it is obvious that the power and victory came from Him! We may doubt our abilities and question our worth, but God knows how strong and capable we are in Him. Both Moses and Gideon hesitated, but were ultimately successful when they believed God’s words over them. Do you think the same could be true for you? Are you facing an army right now? An army of financial strain or health problems? Are you overwhelmed with feelings of uncertainty about your future or the future of your family? Remember God’s words to Moses and Gideon. They are the same words spoken over you: “I will be with you.”
Romans 8:37 promises that
“…in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.”
You are more than a conqueror! Just like Moses and Gideon conquered their missions with God’s strength inside of them, you can conquer your challenges, too. But you cannot do this with defeat coming out of your mouth. “This divorce is going to destroy me.” “I am not smart enough to start my own business.” “I just know that this relationship is doomed.” “My child is never going to make it in that school.” No! I encourage you to speak positive and encouraging words over your life. Hold your words captive because they have power. Let this power be to your benefit, not your discouragement. Don’t let your words tear you down- use them to build you up! When you wake up, before your feet even hit the floor, say this to yourself, “Today is going to be a great day! God has amazing plans for my life. I am a wondrous child of God and I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me! ” Throughout your day speak of God’s love and mighty hand. Speak of the opportunities that will come your way. Remind yourself that things will work out in God’s time and be what He knows is best for you. You cannot, my friend, take away from yourself that you are a child of God. He treasures you. You may not see your worth, but He does. That is why He sent His Son to die for you…because you are worth it!
Sometimes the only thing that makes us different from someone else is what we believe about ourselves. It’s not always about talent or education or upbringing or wealth. It’s simply the voice we allow into our heads and the words that come out of our mouths. Just like the young dad didn’t realize the influence of his words with his son in the car. And how Moses and Gideon’s words threatened to limit their achievements for the Lord. And how throughout the difficulties of my divorce, my mother’s words over me and my Father’s promises about me made all the difference… remember that words have power. Choose to let your words strengthen and encourage you today so you can be more than a conqueror. You just never know where God may lead you!
I love the Christian band, Mercy Me. Their song, Beautiful, is well…beautiful. When I have feelings of inadequacy, it helps so much to listen to someone sing over me the words of my Heavenly Father. Listen to songs like this that will remind you of your worth and how beautiful you are to God.