Steered By Your Words


Our words are powerful, but have you ever considered the effect of what you speak over yourself?

Words. According to the children’s rhyme, they don’t hurt like sticks and stones. But we all know that’s not really true, is it? We’ve all been hurt by other people’s words. But what about our own words? Do we hurt ourselves with what we speak over ourselves?

Me and my big mouth

I’ll be honest with you. I talk to myself. Not in a full-blown conversation kind of way (then I’d be officially crazy), but more of a slip of the tongue kind of way. Last year, God challenged me on what kept coming out of my mouth — He suddenly made me aware of the negative words that I was so frequently speaking over myself. It surprised me, actually. I kept catching myself in those slip of the tongue moments saying things like, “I’m so stupid,” “My opinion doesn’t matter,” “I always...” “I never...” “I can’t...” Then God started to reveal the obvious — that these weren't doing me any good.

Solomon wrote in Proverbs: “Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruit.” (Proverbs 18:21 NKJV) I love the way the Message translation puts it: “Words kill, words give life; they’re either poison or fruit—you choose.” Oh... That means my words which aren’t life-bringing are poison. I’m poisoning myself.

"We always have a choice in what we let out of our mouths, and the result is more powerful than we may realize."

I felt God challeng me: "Naomi, whenever you say something negative about yourself, replace it with a positive that I say about you." Challenge accepted! Of course, that didn’t stop my slips of the tongue from happening. I would often blurt out something negative, but then realize and end up repenting and replacing the poison with good fruit. Just as I started to think I was doing OK with balancing out the negatives with positives, God upped the ante and told me not to speak anything at all about myself that was not inline with what He says about me. “I can’t do that!” (Oh dear... another slip.) “OK, I can do this...” Second challenge accepted. To be honest, it’s hard — and yes, I still let things slip. But it has become easier, and I’m more aware of the effect of my own words. We always have a choice in what we let out of our mouths, and the result is more powerful than we may realize.

I like being crazy

Those slips of mine are gradually changing into more intentional and life-bringing encouragements. I say “intentional” because now I don’t just speak positive things over myself after I let something slip. I have formed a new habit of speaking life over myself every day. By that I mean daily speaking out the positive things God says about me. Instead of “I don’t belong,” it’s “God loves and accepts me, I belong to Him.” Instead of “I can’t,” I say “God is giving me strength and grace to do this.” “I have a powerful voice...” “I make good choices...” Some people call these daily declarations. You may think I’m crazy for talking to myself, but I have noticed a big change; not only in what comes out of my big mouth, but also in my thoughts and whole attitude. I’ve actually begun to believe these truths that God says about me.

Was it easy? Not always. Did it feel true? To begin with, not at all. But perseverance is the key. When you plant a seed, you can’t expect it to produce fruit overnight. If we want our words to be good fruit instead of poison, we need to persevere in declaring truth over ourselves. Even when we can’t see what it’s achieving. I’m not much of a gardener, but I know that when you keep watering a seed, you’ll see a plant grow. Then with time, patience and lots more water, the plant grows and buds. When you finally see fruit you hoped for, even then you keep watering it so there will be even more fruit. Speaking positive, Godly declarations over myself isn’t just a temporary thing. This is a habit I want to keep, even after the fruit comes — because I want more. I want good fruit, not poison.

Tiny rudder, big ship

I’ve heard that in relation to its size, the tongue is the strongest muscle in the body. Whether that’s true or not, I don’t know. But I have learned that our words really are powerful. The tongue is described like the rudder of a ship in James 3. “Although they (ships) are so large and are driven by strong winds, they are steered by a very small rudder wherever the pilot wants to go. Likewise, the tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts. ” (James 3:4-5 NIV)

"Set yourself on the course heading for life."

You set the course of a ship with its rudder. Moving the rudder by just one degree completely changes the destination of the ship. “Death and life are in the power of the tongue.” You have the power to change your destiny by speaking life over yourself. Talking to yourself can alter your destiny! Just imagine if you believed all those positive things God says about you, how different would you be? Seems like it would be pretty destiny-altering to me.

Set your course

I extend this challenge to you: If you catch yourself in a slip of the tongue moment saying something negative about yourself, try replacing it with a positive. What does God want you to speak over yourself? The Bible is full of truths about who He says you are. Why not turn them into daily declarations?

Use your tiny rudder to change the destiny of your life’s big ship. Set yourself on the course heading for life.

“Words kill, words give life; they’re either poison or fruit—you choose.”