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  • May Your Words Be A Gift

    "Watch the way you talk...Say only what helps, each word a gift." Ephesians 4:29 (MSG)

    A person very dear to me often uses the phrase, "Say what you mean and mean what you say" as a rule of thumb for communicating. At times I probably take it too literally and become too picky when it comes to slang speech, but other times, I know it is golden advice because not following it can be so harmful. I'm thinking of when people use over-arching and comparative statements, whether they mean to or not. It's taken a long time for me to pinpoint why it bothers me when people do this--I've been thinking about writing on this topic for months--so hopefully I can explain it today in a way that is full of grace and encouragement. I'm sure I have done it before at some point too. Growth. Let me break it down. 

    Have you ever read a mom's social media post that proclaims their daughter as the cutest ever or a wife that states her husband is just the best!? I didn't notice them as much before having kids, but now I see and hear people making those kinds of statements all the time. I suppose it is trendy, but I just don't like it. It's my opinion, really, so that's why I haven't wanted to write about it. But over time, I have realized when a person states something meant as a compliment to one, but it can hurt others, then there is a large, red flag waving. Red flags need to be addressed. 

    Almost all of us struggle with some forms of insecurity. I personally am insecure about the way I look, the way I carry myself, the way I explain things, the way I pray out loud, the way I read out loud, the way I drive, the way I cook--the way I do just about everything. I am insecure about even trying to come up with things in which I actually feel secure. Okay, my salvation. I am secure in knowing that Jesus Christ is God's Son and he died on the cross for my sins and I will be with Him in heaven one day. I can say that with full confidence, but everything else in my brain seems to be fair game to second-guess, unfortunately. 

    To be completely honest, it all depends on the day and how I am feeling. Some days I truly can feel free to dance in the middle of the street and really not care what others think of me. The last year has proven I can actually get up in front of people to speak or lead a group, but you can just about bet immediately afterward my internal voice is screaming, "It's okay, Kory! You're going to be fine. Their opinion does not matter. Your security is in Christ, not in the thoughts of others! Just keep going, keep showing up!"  

    When I read on social media that Jane thinks her husband, Jack, is the most amazing man in the world because he does all of these twenty things she has listed, do you know what the first thing is I do? I compare. I think, "Wow, he does all of those things? Does Ryan do all of those things? Do I think Ryan is the best?" What about when she says her daughter, Jill, is the cutest? The first thing I do is compare. I either think, "Wow, she is pretty cute"...or I think, "Actually, she's really not that cute." And then I feel bad for thinking that way. The truth is, Jane was the first one to compare, not me. I response was to compare because she initiated it. She stated that her daughter, out of all of the other cute daughters in the world, especially in comparison to my own {because I am the one reading it}, is the cutest of them all. The problem is that when it is worded that way, it causes the reader to immediately question the validity of the statement. It's stirs up comparison and I personally have fallen into the trap so often that it has driven me to write this post! 

    What if Jane thought to word her social media posts about Jack and Jill in a different way? What if she had said, "I love my husband Jack and I am so very thankful for all he does for me!" Or in regards to her daughter, what if she had said, "Jill makes my heart so full--I think she's so very cute!" What does that make me want to do? It makes me want to join her in her thankfulness. It makes me want to comment below her post and say, "Way to go, Jack, for loving her like you do!" or "Yes, she is so cute! Those dimples!?!?!" 

    What is the difference? It is the overarching statement that what you have is the BEST and what others have is second-rate. Let me let you in on a little secret: no one wants to feel second-rate. We all want to feel loved, chosen, picked-first, beautiful/handsome. We want to feel prized. So I am not saying don't affirm or compliment your loved ones--do!--but choose your wording wisely. Leave out the comparative statements. Express thankfulness for them without comparing them to others. You may truly think your husband is the best, but what value is there to say so on social media? Be a gift to everyone around you in your speech, not just to the people you are affirming. 

    And it's not just on social media. If my sister and I were sitting on the couch with a room full of people around and Ryan said loudly, "Kory, you are the most beautiful woman I have ever met!" Because of his diction, his specific choice of words, my sister could have immediately thought, "I am not the most beautiful woman he's ever met!". Nevermind that Ryan is my husband or my sister shouldn't need Ryan to tell her she is beautiful too. Maybe she wouldn't have thought negatively as a response, but what if she did? Do we take a chance at hurting somone or change the way we say things to prevent it to the best of our ability? If Ryan had chosen his words differently, if he would have looked at me and said, "Kory, to me you are so beautiful!", the whole focus would have been on my beauty, as he intended. Think about your words. Think about what they are saying to everyone listening or reading. There is power in the littlest of words. Say what you mean and mean what you say. 

    "Watch the way you talk...Say only what helps, each word a gift." Ephesians 4:29 (MSG)