Words like Arrows

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“Lord, I ask that today, when I open my mouth to speak, my default is encouragement and not sarcasm.”

 This has been my prayer of late. It’s a desire that my heart is chasing on a daily basis.

Believe me when I say, I have come a very long way over the years. A few years ago, in particular, the Lord began to speak to me on the topic. He showed me the impact that an encouraging word brings and how they open a door for the recipient to receive His truth.

Words that heal and not harm.

Words that build up and not tear down.

Words that shift atmospheres and cause the darkness to flee.

This is what I want.

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I look back and think about the times when I have been the recipient of sarcasm. Sure, some of those words made me laugh in the moment, but there’s always those moments that linger. The ones that make you wonder if there was any truth behind them.

And yes, it’s usually something really stupid, but . . .

You can’t help but think to yourself, when the lights go out and you’re alone, staring up at the ceiling in your bed,

“Is that how they really see me? Is that who I am?”

 Of course, it’s not like we can control how people receive our words. But I suppose what I’m getting at is this:

“Lord, give me strategies on how to speak in a way that is intentional and with grace.”

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 We all experience times when the enemy seems to be shooting lies, like arrows, over and over. Attacking our insecurities and identities.

I don’t want to contribute to THOSE arrows.

I want my arrows to be the ones that attack the arrows of the enemy. Strategically sent out. Splitting the lies before they hit their target.

This is something I know can only be accomplished if I am taking the time to sit with the Lord. I need His heart for people.

His heart.

That’s where you get the power to shift atmospheres just by walking into the room.

His heart.

I want His heart.

I was reading in Matthew 12 this morning:

“For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.”

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 So, I cry out . . .

“Lord, I need Your heart.”

I may have shared this before, but a very dear friend of mine passed away a few years ago. It’s still sad, but I have such joy because the last conversation we had was epic.

They took the time in that moment to share how proud they were of me and what God has done in my life, and I was able to do the same and tell them how much they have contributed to my story in a positive way.

When I think about how they are no longer here, this is the memory I have.

On the other hand, not all of my last conversations with people have been this positive. I realize, I can’t always control that and sometimes it was completely out of my control because I was on the receiving end. But . . .

That one positive conclusion to my friendship with that dear person makes me want to take every opportunity to do that for someone else.

We don’t always know when a moment with someone is going to be our last. Sometimes life happens and you lose touch. Sometimes it’s with a stranger in Walmart and you may never see them again—as much as I rant about hating Walmart, I did have an opportunity to speak life into someone there the other day.

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The point is that we don’t know, which is why we should try (if we can) to not leave loose ends. To do our part, at least, and allow God to move through us.

I want His heart.

Be Careful What You Say

It’s just about midnight and I’m wide awake writing. Rather than sleeping, my mind has been preoccupied with thoughts regarding the weight of our words and how each word we choose to speak has value. Whether they are deemed (by us) as neutral, negative or positive, the words we speak matter.

I’m trying to get more of a grasp on using my words with greater caution. I’m trying to think my thoughts through with a lot more precision and measure those thoughts with grace before they roll off my tongue.

I can think of more than a few occasions where I spoke too quickly and immediately saw the result of my lack of forethought and grace.

I can also think of more than a few occasions where someone spoke too quickly to me and left me standing there with their words playing over and over in my head.

We all have those words. The words we battle late into the night. The words we counter with prayer. The words that have affected the way we see and do, the way we ourselves speak.

Words cannot be erased and we need to remember that.

Sure, time heals wounds. But maybe life is too short for us to keep adding to the pre-existing wounds. Maybe we need to focus on healing the wounds that are already there.

Isn’t it interesting how quickly the positive words can fade, and all it takes is that one dagger of a word to find its way in and park itself right in front for years?

There’s no amount of “I’m sorry”s or “I didn’t mean it”s that can change the fact that words stick.  They stick easier than they peel off.

Which is why we need to be so careful. We don’t know what has already been said.

Be careful what you say
words are violent weapons
of love and
of war

Be careful how you say them
when you say them
they play over
and over
forever on repeat
a thousand apologies
cannot erase their sound
as they play round
and round
louder and more
distorted than before

Be careful what you say
because I have plenty of words
already playing
and I am unable
to erase their sound
as they play round
and round

Be Selective . . . It’s Healthy!

Just as God spoke the universe into existence, our lives are continually being formed and rearranged by words. It is imperative that we use wisdom and be selective about the voices we allow to speak into us.  Yes, this is something that we alone can choose.  Even in those situations where we may not be able to silence all of the voices around us, it is up to us to learn how to respond, filter and process in healthy ways.

I talk to quite a few people on a weekly basis.  It is not unusual for me to be approached, specifically online, by those who are struggling with various issues and seeking counsel.  Sadly, there are always a few who don’t actually want to be helped, but merely want to be heard and validated.  Being validated is a good thing, but not when the desire to resolve the real problem is still lacking.

The number one root issue I keep running into has everything to do with words.  Words people have spoken over themselves and words that have been spoken by others.  It is a very sad thing when the most crippling words in our lives come from the people who should bring healing and encouragement, but sometimes that is just the way it goes.  [Believe me, I get it . . .]

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It is so common for people to walk through life holding everyone else responsible [except themselves] for where they are at.  An avoidance of taking action and taking control of their own life, by coming up with excuses and shifting the blame.  It soon becomes a crutch that eventually infiltrates their very identity, until they can longer see it for what it truly is . . . a chaotic mess of lies.

I write this with a bit of a burden on my heart.  This week I’ve dealt with those who are in this category and it felt like I hit a brick wall.  I saw that they were starting to attempt to use me as a crutch, or rather a human-garbage-can in which they wanted to dump the weight of the world that they were carrying.

I love helping people.  I hate seeing people living in darkness.  However, this was one of those moments when I realized that their words were starting to affect me.  I noticed that when they would message me, my heart would start to race and I would immediately be hit with a wave of anxiety.  Do you know the feeling?

It was time to draw a line.

We may not be able to completely remove all of the negative voices, but we always have a choice when it comes to how we respond.  And in those situations where you are able to completely silence the voices, please do not hesitate to be brave and take a stand for your well-being.

Be selective about the words you allow to form your world . . . it’s healthy!

New Video: Holy || Spoken Word – Stephanie Meier

A few days before I left for Iceland in September, I was inspired to create this piece.  Though I did not have all of the words, I felt very certain that I would film during my travels.

On the night of the blood moon, after I watched the eclipse from my room where I was staying, I started putting words down on paper, and I began to hear the notes that would eventually become the soundtrack to Holy.

To view the video in high definition, change the quality to HD in the video player settings, or view it on Vimeo.