Thursday, January 10, 2013


Words.  They have power.

For example, has anyone else noticed the whole "one word" New Year's resolution thing?

Basically, the idea is that you pick one word that you want to focus on in the next year.  I really hate to jump on bandwagons but I kind of like the idea.  It's not a big list of lots of things that I will forget about in 3 weeks.  It's just a word to think about, a word to strive toward over the next year.  A word to inspire.

I gave this some thought and prayed about it, and the word that kept coming to mind was "courage."  I want to be more courageous.  I can appear on the outside to have it together - but on the inside I am often fearful, worried about what other people think, and sometimes I hold back from trying new things.  I want to work on stepping out of my comfort zone and being willing to do what God is asking me to do, even if it feels uncomfortable.

So (hang with me here, this does relate to words...) back in the fall, I began helping lead a women's Bible study at our church.  I am kind of getting to a point with the kids where I feel like I can actually take on outside responsibilities and I was excited to take on something new.

But honestly, after a couple months I was doing what I often do - questioning myself. I wonder - is leading a group really my gift?  I worry about whether I am tripping over my words.  I get concerned about what people are thinking about my ability to lead.  I compare myself to other leaders and find myself coming up short.  Then that negative voice in my head starts with the negative words.  Words that discourage and tear down.

Really, what I should be doing is praying about it if I have concerns - isn't God our source of wisdom and discernment?  (Yes, duh, Amy.)  So yesterday before Bible study I prayed that God would use me through this study and that I would have a right attitude about it all.  And I was remembering that I needed to have courage to do what God has called me to (because I do feel that He has placed me in this role), even if I'm not always "comfortable" leading.  I just need to do it and trust God to help me where I am lacking.

So today I went to our meeting, and everything went as usual.   But as we were leaving one of the women in my group stopped me and said "I've been meaning to tell do a great job leading the group."  She went on to say some other encouraging things.  I thanked her and told her how much that really meant to me.  She has no idea what kind of mental wranglings I have been doing over the past months.  But her words were an answer to prayer.  Her words encouraged me and breathed fresh life into my soul.

This reminded me anew - we need to take care with our words.  What words we allow to define us, and what words we cast off.  Because, perhaps you are like me and live with a critic in your head.   But also we need to be careful about what words we speak to others - are they words of encouragement?  are they honest words?  will they help someone to grow or will they make someone wither?

God, please give me the courage this year to step out into whatever You call me to do.  Help me to be obedient.  And help my words to encourage, uplift and inspire. 

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