"Death and life are in the power of the tongue..." -Proverbs 18:21
Have you ever had something placed on your heart that you just couldn’t let go? Something that fires up your passion so much when you think about it? For me, what you are about to read is that one thing. A couple of years ago, God laid this on my heart for what I thought was just an average Bible study topic. I thought like the rest, I would talk about it at Bible study, we’d think it was great at the time, but eventually move on to the next thing leaving it in the past like we (without meaning to) normally do after a while.
But boy was I wrong. Looking back at my notes, I realized that God put this on my heart for the group of girls that I was having Bible study with at the time almost 2 years ago to the date.
How crazy is that?!
As girls have come and gone through our weekly Bible study (it happens when you’re doing it with middle and high school ladies.. they all grow up!), God has brought it back to my heart and I’ve shared it through the many seasons. Although it’s been about 6 months since the last time I brought it up again, girls STILL constantly come up to me and tell me that they still have their bracelet! Some of the girls from the original group I shared it with who have now grown up and gone their own ways still send me pictures of their bracelet or ask me if I can send them a new one because theirs is worn.
The fact that this has stuck along for so long is a huge indication to me that it was definitely NOT from my mind, but from God Himself. Who else could’ve thought up something with such an impact?!
So this is where it all began.
2 years ago, I was tired of hearing the girls around me (myself included) putting themselves down with their words. All I was hearing was, “I wish I looked like her!”, “I am so fat”, and the popular statement of the time, “OMG can I be you?!” (if you don’t remember that last phrase being a thing, count yourself blessed because it seemed to be the only “acceptable” instagram caption for what seemed like an eternity).
As I was getting fed up with the way that my mouth spoke about myself, as well as the way that other girls talked about themselves, God told me this:
"When we embrace that we are made beautifully and that God didn't mess up on any part of us, we can embrace our flaws. We can love them like Jesus loves them." (7/13/16)
And that ROCKED me.
Our words are more powerful than we could ever wrap our minds around. God didn’t use anything else to create this world other than His words.Our words are more powerful than we could ever wrap our minds around. God didn't use anything else to create this world other than His words. Click To Tweet
Think about that! His words created you and I! If His words are THAT powerful and we are made in the image and likeness of God, then why do we doubt just how powerful our words are?
What if we, as women, became a generation that makes a safe place with our words everywhere that we go? What if we made the conscious decision to not care what others look like, what they’re wearing, or where they came from? What if all that we cared about is the fact that the maker of the universe crafted them so perfectly and that He is madly in love with them. What if we reflected God’s love onto other women, no matter the circumstance.
“Mariah that sounds fantastic, but how in the world do we even go about that?” (mind reading is a side job of mine if you haven’t caught on by now). Well, that’s exactly what I asked God and He delivered an answer.
In order to do this, we have to train our words. We have to get rid of the statements such as, “Can I be you?”, “I look so fat”, “My hair is so ugly”, etc. Easy? Nope. But a trained tongue (in my opinion) is more powerful than a trained army.
Does that mean that we still don’t have insecurities? I WISH. It means that we have trained ourselves not to voice them and bring power to those kinds of negative words.
Look back at the verse that we led this post off with, the power of LIFE and DEATH isn’t in the brain, not in the stomach, not in the big toe, but in the TONGUE.Look back at the verse that we led this post off with, the power of LIFE and DEATH isn't in the brain, not in the stomach, not in the big toe, but in the TONGUE. Click To Tweet
I don’t know if you’ve ever been around a girl that doesn’t constantly talk about how they don’t like this and that about their body (because they are currently far and in between), but those people are SO attractive to be around. Not just physically attractive, but because their perspective is shifted from themselves, they are so much more fun to surround yourself with. They radiate an unexplainable joy.
What would happen if instead of bashing ourselves or bashing other women to make ourselves feel better, we complimented instead? What if every time you said one negative thing about your appearance you had to say 3 positive things about your appearance? What if every time you said something negative about another girl, you had to say 3 positive things about her?
What if that was the challenge I left you with? This is exactly what my challenge was 2 years ago. After presenting those girls with the same information, I asked them to make a choice. I told them that there was no pressure to pick one way or the other, but that I wanted them to seriously consider taking on that kind of challenge. Why? Because I was commiting myself to hold them accountable. And if I knew that they said that they were going to do it, I would be the one saying, “three things” all the time.
With each girl that accepted the challenge, I tied a piece of string around her wrist. The string that changed my life, and hopefully some of theirs. It signified that as of that moment, they would consider their words. They would consider the weight and the power that their tongue held and that they were willing to be held accountable to the task that they had taken on. My string represented that too, and I knew that if I kept them accountable, they would DEFINITELY keep me accountable.
Over the last 2 years, the string has turned into more of a bracelet, the bracelet has sometimes taken the form of an anklet, but I am still known to call them out with grace if I hear any negative words being spoken.
For some girls, saying 3 nice things about another girl is harder than saying 3 nice things about themselves, but most of the time it’s the other way around. It’s difficult to find 3 things you really admire about yourself every time, but that shows the condition of our hearts.
The longer that they have done it, the more creative the compliments have become. But I really love that! At first it was, “I have pretty eyes” but as time has gone on, it’s now, “I really love the way my eyelashes have a slight curl to them”. It makes me smile just typing that because this simple exercise has forced them to find the tiniest details that God placed on their physical body to remind them that He didn’t leave any details out.
How beautiful is that?
So my challenge to you is exactly the same as it was to a small group of girls 2 years ago. Watch your words. Train your tongue. Find someone to hold you accountable and find a piece of string! Tie it around each other’s wrists and start a lifelong journey of controlling what you speak. If you hear them say something negative about their appearance, remind them by saying, “3 things!”. Eventually other people will catch on and ask what the heck you’re talking about. And there it is, another open door to challenge another person to watch their words.
My dream is to hear less and less “3 things!” and more and more positive words being spoken without the prompt having to be there. One day I believe that girls will be able to walk out on the beach with a group of girls and feel admired for the unique way that God created them rather than feeling judged.One day I believe that girls will be able to walk out on the beach with a group of girls and feel admired for the unique way that God created them rather than feeling judged. Click To Tweet
One of my all time favorite quotes is:
"Girls compare each other, but women compliment each other"
And as much as I love that, I think it needs an addition.
"Girls compare each other, but women who know their worth compliment themselves and each other"
*Disclaimer: If I had a dollar for the amount of times I’ve heard “ughhhhh” after saying, “uhm, 3 things!”, I would be a millionare (possibly a billionaire), but what they don’t see is that everytime they say those 3 things (even begrudgingly), I see their life change a little at a time. I have watched some girls go from the most Negative Nancy I have ever met to the most complimentary. Sometimes it can get tiring and you feel like you are the enemy when you’re the designated “3 things girl”, but the reward at the end conquers all doubts. Don’t give up.
So there it is. This is what lights my heart on fire. This is the message that I would love to spread to every corner of the earth. Because there is no limit to what God can do with a generation of ladies that have taken on this perspective.
Tie a string on your wrist and let it change your life.