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Words. They are powerful things. We think it doesn’t matter so much, the words we hear, but I have found the opposite to be true. Interestingly, I’m not talking so much about the words people say to us, but rather the words we say to ourselves.

I have always marveled at the difference I can see between people who have similar, negative backgrounds. I know of several situations where individuals were told they were no good, that they would never amount to much, that they were losers. Most succumb to such ongoing, verbal assault. It’s as if those very words become a self-fulfilling prophecy in those individuals’ lives. They believe they are those things, so they become them. Yet somehow there always seems to be one, despite the odds, who somehow forges ahead and carves out a successful life, not just financially but in every way – great family, great kids, great character and strong faith, even giving back to the community. What is the magical difference? Is it grit? Is it determination? Is it faith? Is it genetic?

I have consistently found the answer to success in any area is almost always the same: Words. Our words, how we think when it comes to ourselves, dictate how we view ourselves. It’s why some people can overcome such tremendous odds. Their self-talk is filled with, “Yes, I can do this,” and “I am valuable and capable, despite what anyone else may say or do.” They believe the best of themselves even when no one else around them does. They say, “You’ll see” instead of, “I can’t.”

I have experienced both success and failure in the midst of poor odds. My successes, without a doubt, have come from a deep, immovable conviction that I can do what I set out to do. The obstacles, the setbacks, the challenges, though hard, push me forward. Yet I’ve also let my own negativity defeat me, taking me out of the ring before I even begin swinging.

The Bible talks A LOT about words, and about how words define us. We are told things like, “Gracious words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones,” and “a deceitful tongue crushes the spirit,” (Proverbs 16:24; 15:4). Have you ever stopped to ask yourself what it is you’ve agreed to when it comes to you? Do you view yourself as incapable of changing, unworthy of love, or beyond redemption? Do you look in the mirror and think, Too fat, too lazy, too old, too young, not enough? Every time we agree to those internal lies, we allow them over time to become our truth. As Jesus said, “You are not defiled by what you eat; you are defiled by what you say and do,” (Matthew 15:11).

I have worked hard to embrace the truth God has laid out for me: that I am worthy of love, worthy of grace, worthy of growth, of victory and healing. Luckily, my view isn’t tied to my performance, neither in the past, the present or even the future. It is tied to God’s unconditional love for me, His perfect grace and mercy. When I’m ready to rip myself to shreds, God’s love and truth of my worth jump right in and help propel me forward. And He loves you that exact same way. It’s never too late to embrace God’s truths for you. The right words about who you are and what you are worth are out there. The challenge is to choose to listen to them.

For Further Thought: We are told, “He who guards his lips guards his life, but he who speaks rashly will come to ruin,” (Proverbs 13:3). What are some ways you speak rashly to yourself? What are some negative agreements you’ve allowed yourself to make about who you are and what you deserve? Look for God’s truths to replace those lies with. Remember Philippians 4:8: “Whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable, excellent or praiseworthy, think about such things.” Now, apply these qualities to how you think about yourself!

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