This week, I want to introduce a very special guest contributor, Leann Guzman! Leann, author of Daughters of Blessing and other insightful and powerful devotionals, has a passion “to see Christians who live mediocre, powerless spiritual lives grow in the grace and freedom Jesus purchased for them at the Cross, so that they live in all the spiritual prosperity, power, and freedom that He intended.” –leannguzman.com
To learn more about Leann and her passion or to visit her website, see below!
Maybe I’d read one too many inspirational quotes on doing the impossible – you know, one of those cheesy inspirational memes you see that says stuff like (and yes, I’m making this up, but just barely) “Impossible really just says I’m Possible.” Or maybe there was no meme… maybe I was just crazy.
Whatever the reason, at the beginning of January when my pastor encouraged each person to do a 21 day fast from something that was a problem for him or her, I decided to give up complaining and negative talk. (Social media was a close runner-up since it’s such a time waster for me, but then where would I get my inspirational memes?)
So what qualified as negative talk for me? I went whole hog, as we say in the South: ANYTHING not positive, like complaining, talking about others, talking down to myself, saying angry things to my kids, saying angry things to other drivers in traffic… the whole gamut.
I know Dr. Phil really isn’t a thing anymore, but you really should insert his famous “How’s that workin’ for you” line here.
I’m still in the middle of this fast as I write this, so it’s hard to answer Dr. Phil’s question. Maybe I should stop right here, just put in a, “Thanks for reading– to be continued– I’ll finish when the fast is over.”
But, I’ll give it a try anyway. To begin with, I’ve had SO MANY OPPORTUNITIES in this fast:
- The opportunity to get second one-millionth chances. Sometimes multiple times in an hour. I’m so thankful God doesn’t keep score of our wrongs once we’re in Jesus.
- The opportunity to notice how serious the problem really is. I had no idea how often non-positive things were spewing from my mouth. Generally speaking, I’m an upbeat, positive person… I thought. I’m someone who thinks before she speaks… I thought.
- The opportunity to realize the source of all those negative words- à la my thought-life! At the beginning of this fast, I quickly realized if there was any hope of making it successfully through even one day of this fast, I would have to change from the inside out.
Change your thoughts, and you’ll change your words;
change your words, and you’ll change your life.
(If that’s not an inspirational meme, it should be.)
What’s bad (ugh, never mind). What’s good is that when you’re a writer and teacher of applying God’s Word to your life and you’re struggling with something specific, you’ve probably written on that topic and you just need to go back and read it, and then live it.
In fact, in my latest book that I JUST WROTE (!!!), Daughters of Blessing: Devotional for Teens and Preteens, a book for our younger generation filled with lessons I’d learned (and apparently still am learning), it’s right there on Day 17. The lesson title is “Tamed,” and “The Point” for the day is, “Be careful what you say and you’ll be blessed.”
And right in the middle of the page, there’s the key… for our daughters, our nieces, our students, our selves…
“If what’s on the inside isn’t given to the Lord to tame,
we’ll never be able to control what we say.”
Do you have an issue with negative talk? With complaining, griping, putting yourself down, spewing angry words?
If so, what is it within you the Lord needs to tame? What does He need to heal? What do you need to surrender to Him?
For me, I realized the huge bulk of my negative talk was an attempt to connect with others.
- Gossip? A way to connect with someone over our shared opinion of another (do I really want to connect with someone on a negative level?).
- Complaining? A way to have someone else connect with me through feeling sorry for me or being impressed that I’m bearing up under such terrible circumstances (even though this hardly EVER works because no one wants to hear complaining).
- Putting myself down? A way to get others to connect with me by assuring me I’m wrong (this also doesn’t work – putting yourself down just makes others uncomfortable and pushes them away).
- Angry words to my children? A way to connect with them by getting them to do what I want (though this may work on occasion, it’s not the kind of connection I want with my children).
My negative talk stemmed (stems!) from a need – the need to connect! But there is only One who can consistently and completely fulfill that need. How often am I connecting with Him to let Him meet it?
Whatever the amount, I need to up it.
For you it may be something different, some other need to be fulfilled that causes your negative talk, but I can assure you, there’s only One who can do it. Only One who can heal. Only One who can be everything you need.
Day 17 in Daughters of Blessing continues, “[E]ven though the tongue is so small, it can set the course for an entire life.”
Proverbs 18:21 says, “The tongue has the power of life and death….” And that reminds me of Deuteronomy 30:19, where God says “I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life….”
The same choice is set before us today. I desperately want our daughters to make their choice early, to choose life, to speak good things over themselves and over others.
And just as much, I want you and I to choose life right now too because we even though we still have so much life left to live, we have no time to lose. No time to lose in choosing to speak life, in using the power of our tongue to speak blessings over our life, our household, our family, our friends, our churches, our work, our ministries, our communities.
If every Christian would rise up and speak life and blessings, how would the world be different? How would your world, your life, your relationships change?
Surrender to Him, let Him fulfill and heal you, and choose to speak life!
Leann Guzman is a Christian attorney (no, that’s not an oxymoron!) who has taught Biblical truths for 25 years through the local church and now through writing, speaking, and online ministry. As an attorney, wife, and mother of three, she understands the challenges facing busy women today and relies on her faith, family, community, and hot tea to see her through. Find out more at www.LeannGuzman.com; sign up for updates and get a free printable of affirmations for girls (or you!) to read out loud every day to speak life and blessings here.
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