Speak: 1. To say something in order to convey information or to express a feeling. 2. To utter words or articulate sounds. 3. To talk.
January 1st usually goes something like this: I choose one (or two or ten) problematic behaviours that have plagued my life (usually “eat less, exercise more”) and then I vow (resolve) to reverse those behaviours. However these New Year’s resolutions seldom work because they are based on the type of person I’m tired of being rather than on who God wants me to be. By February (or sometimes by January 2nd) many or all of these resolutions have been “broken,” which leaves no room for the process of growth. So, what if my hopes and dreams for 2014 focussed instead on who God wants me to become? What if I focus on and centre my thoughts around my “one word” and allow Him to lead me through a transformation process, using the power of that one word to replace broken promises and resolutions with real change?
In 2013 my one word was “strength”. If you’re interested you can read my blog posts about the impact of that word here and here. It quite possibly comes as no surprise to those who know me well that I believe my “one word” for 2014 is “speak”. For Christmas Tim (my hubby) gave me a journal with a bible verse written inside and the moment I read these words I knew I was being reminded by God that He has
called commanded me to speak. He has given me a voice. He has given me words to share. And I must be obedient.
“Now we are all here before the presence of God to listen and hear everything the Lord has commanded you to tell us.” (Acts 10:33)
Immediately that word “speak” was dropped into my heart all the ugly insecurities inside of me rose up and that little voice screamed loudly “who wants to hear what you’ve got to say anyway?” But just as quickly that voice was drowned out by God’s voice: “Then the Lord said, ‘Who made a person’s mouth? And who can make someone deaf or not able to speak? Who can make a person blind? Who can make a person able to see? I am the one. I am the Lord. So go. I will be with you when you speak. I will give you the words to say’.” (Exodus 4:11-12)
As I have been praying about what this word might mean for me this coming year I am reminded that speaking is so much more than just talking out loud. It is more than just effectively communicating and articulating the ideas and thoughts that come to mind. What I speak is nothing if my actions are not louder than my words. And there’s the challenge right there.
In order to encourage others as I speak I need to remember the words of Paul to the Ephesian church: “When you talk, don’t say anything bad. Let no foul or polluting language, evil word or unwholesome, worthless talk ever come out of your mouth, but only use such speech that is helpful, good and beneficial to make others stronger and build them up. Then what you say will do good and may be a blessing and give grace (God’s favor) to those who hear it and listen to you.” (Ephesians 4:29).
Words are powerful. For out of the fullness (the abundant overflow) of my heart my mouth will speak. What I say will flow from what is in my heart. The words that I speak have the power to do good. They have the ability to bless others. What I say might strength, uplift and encourage someone. And that’s my next challenge right there – to have a heart overflowing with words of encouragement so that what I say will do good and bring God’s favour to those who hear.
“Good people bring good things out of the good they have stored up and treasured in their hearts. But evil people bring evil things out of the evil they have stored up and treasured in their hearts. People speak the things that are in their hearts. Whatever is in your heart determines what you say. “(Luke 6:45)
2014 is a new year. A new day. A new beginning. A new page is being turned. A new chapter is about to be written. There are words to be shared and I intend to speak them. Loudly. Boldly. Transparently. With confidence and clarity. Without fear. And as I write and speak the words I believe God wants me to share, I shall remember that it’s my heart, not the dictionary, that will give meaning to my words.
My prayer for 2014 is that as I my heart and fill it with good things, in the abundant overflow the voice of God will be heard.
If you’ve picked a word, I’d love to hear what it is so please leave me a comment and tell me why you’ve chosen this word for 2014.
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