Speak Life

Speak Life Shirt – $25

Naptime Diaries just came out with this “Speak Life” shirt and just in time. i ordered it right away because i knew the Lord was confirming so many little things in me that morning. i have been thinking about and mulling over words a lot over the last month (ask my husband). i see comments that people post anonymously (or not) under news articles and my heart cringes. i see pet peeve, confessions, and “things i hate” sessions on blogs and i wonder how the reader is responding – if they feel attacked because they do things on that list (i have even been one of those people who felt attacked). i see how whinny my twitter feed can sound when i am scrolling through my feed. and i even see how my comments on other blogs and posts can reflect the ugly in my heart “so jealous,” “ugh, i want that so badly,” “yeah, i cannot stand when people do that either” …. and it is not all the time but it is there. 


but it is bigger than social media. i hear it in the grocery store when a wife is nagging her husband for grabbing the wrong can of green beans. or when i overhear a mom on the phone talking about how her kids are driving her nuts and she can’t stand them when they are in the stroller she is pushing. i see it when a stranger thinks the best way to connect with me is to complain about something – the line at the starbucks, the weather, the slow waiter, the bad service, the weird smell… and i catch myself doing it too.

YOU SEE, gossip is not just something that valley girls, blondes, or middle schoolers do. it is our language. the language of the human race (men and women, rich and poor, black and white) it is the way of life and our heart unless we make a conscious effort to speak life.

Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear. – Ephesians 4:29

the truth is our words can do one of two things – build someone up or tear someone down (proverbs 8:21). there is no middle ground. and you may be thinking “but words are so small, i can think of many phrases that are neutral” and i my response is that it takes many words to tear down and many words to build up but each conversation is laying bricks on one side of the scale. i am either justifying the discontentment in the heart of the person mad at the long line in Starbucks by agreeing with them OR i am add hope by saying “it will be so worth it to get a refreshing cup of coffee” or “i love it because it builds anticipation!” i am not saying you have to be fake happy all the time – i am just saying our words have an impact and we need to be aware.

THREE AREAS TO REMEMBER TO SPEAK LIFE INTO:

1. ON SOCIAL MEDIA
first things first, social media is not bad. here we are on social media now – i have this blog, a twitter, an instagram, a fabook page, and all that social stuff. social media is great in the way that we can connect and encourage a greater amount of people and even people who live outside of our daily encounters in our city. but just as we can encourage, we can discourage. we can use social media to complain, to hid behind our feelings, to vent. to make sure your social media words are full of life, here are some questions to ask yourself before you click post:
– would i say this in real life?
– is this encouraging?
– could someone be hurt by this? 

(side note: being hurt and being offended are different . there are words full of hope and life that will be rejected because the darkness hates light (John 3:20). the guy in Starbucks may get offended at your content attitude in line, a reader might wright a vengeful comment because they are offended you are sharing the gospel, and people may call you naive because you choose to forgive. people who live in the light and speak life, will be attacked because it is not the way of the world and Satan does not like it.)

– am i sharing someone else’s story?
– is this embarrassing or hurtful to someone i know?
– where is my heart in saying this?
– what does this say about me?
– does this line up with Truth?
2. IN YOUR FAMILY & IN YOUR WORLD
sometimes it is easier to let our filters go when we are online. when we hide behind our computers we don’t think as much about the reaction but that does not mean it is easy to always speak life when we are in the midst of real life. James 1:19 reminds and even urges us to be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become agree. that is because the people we are around all the time can get on our nerves pretty quickly. and it is easy to complain to coworkers, strangers, friends, anyone because the world is hard and life is not always fair. here are some things you can do daily to choose words of life:
– spend time in the Word
– memorize scripture
– pray in tense situations (in happy ones too!)
– ask for help
– ask for forgiveness
– practice what you preach to your kids
– listen to positive music
– watch what the tone of your voice communicates
– pray for opportunities to be a light and speak life
– send encouraging notes
– call a friend to check in 
– if you need to “vent” do it in your car alone talking with the Lord or with your husband/dear friend but still be careful not to justify talking behind peoples backs saying you are just venting. 
– look for the bright side
3. WITHIN YOUR HEART
it starts with our hearts. in Matthew 5: 21-30, Jesus makes it clear that not only our actions will be judged but also our thoughts! we cannot bottle up anger, bitterness, hatred, jealous, lustfulness in our hearts and put on a fake face when we interact with people. out of the mouth comes the overflow of the heart (matthew 12:34) what we hold inside will always get out. here are some things to do to keep your heart in check:
– have daily quiet times to align you heart with the lord
– confess your sins
– lay your worries and fears at His feet
– replace lies with truth
– recognize bitterness and anger growing inside
– forgive yourself
– ask yourself what you hope in

remember sweet sisters & brothers. i say this to remind myself! i bought this shirt from Naptime Diaries to remind myself. i still speak before i think sometimes and say things i regret! but God’s grace is new every morning. none of us are perfect! let’s together push deeper into the Lord so that we shine light in a dark world and speak life when the world speaks death. 

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Author: Oak & Oats

  • Amy Dawn Bishop

    I love these thoughts…..there is way too much negativity, that's for sure.
    I am challenged by this post, and really encouraged as well, so I think you did a great job of speaking life! 🙂
    I especially want this to be true with my husband….may my words be edifying and encouraging…..to build up, and not to tear down. Thanks for posting Elizabeth!
    http://www.lovelydoesit.com

  • I think words are so incredibly powerful–for good or for evil. We really should intentionally choose to speak life and encouragement. Thanks for the reminder!

  • this is such a GREAT post & something that has been on my heart so much lately! i think the best realization for me was that words either build up or tear down – like you said there is no middle! words are so powerful….how am i using my power through my words?
    it is so exciting & so scary how we can type words, hit post, and the whole world can see – i think it's easy to fall into the trap of just complaining or venting all the time. i have taken a step back from social media because i have been so overwhelmed by so much negative and it was affecting the way i was thinking and speaking myself. i've tried to be very intentional about what i say on a platform that reaches so many people at one time.
    thank you for this post! i love how you use your blog to speak truth & encouragement into others! i just love your heart Beth! 🙂

  • Thank you, thank you, thank you for this post. It is just what I needed to hear today!

  • very convicting and yet encouraging words, bethie! i know i fail at watching my words on a daily basis, and i think watching words is a lifelong battle for all of us. but when seek God's heart and spend time in his Word, it makes it easier for us to choose our own words more carefully. love you bunches.

  • Loving this! I always have to remind myself of Proverbs 31:26…She opens her mouth with wisdom and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue…I cringe at the thought of becoming what proverbs describes as a dripping faucet of a woman that is an annoyance to everyone around me because of what comes out of my mouth! Such a sweet and refreshing reminder to speak life, kindness and do it all out of wisdom and for the Glory of our Father! Amen girl!!

  • I love this! It's such a great reminder that our small acts, words, & choice can have profound effects especially over time. As Christians, especially, we should be speaking life into all situations. But it is so hard in our society. This was a great reminder with some great tips! Thanks so much for sharing!!

  • Kayti Griepsma

    thanks for writing this. feeling convicted, but praising God for his grace!

  • agodfashionedlife

    This is beautiful Elizabeth thank you for reminding us how important it is to speak life! "Use your words to inspire" as Toby Mac says!

    http://agodfashionedlife.com

  • Morgan

    Love love love this! I so agree with what you're saying and my Pastor JUST spoke on this on Sunday! Definitely a good word that I need to continue to live by– thank you for letting Jesus speak through you on this topic!

  • alicia salazar

    Love this post! And since I've been reading your blog this is one of the reasons I am drawn to it. I love that you speak life through the Bible. I have been following Toby Mac's facebook feed and reposting some images from his Speak Life campaign. Now I have to post this one! Thanks Elizabeth!

  • Such a wonderful post!! I love the point that it seems to be so common that people tend to connect on negativity…and I so wish that weren't so. I am definitely going to be thinking about this during my future interactions. Thanks for the insight, girl! 🙂

  • Mandy Reed

    Beautiful Post!! If you do not mind me asking what package example are you on Maiedae. I just love the feel and style of your blog. I'm in the process of picking one of their blog packages but I am up in the air on which one.
    Thanks~

  • I love this encouragement. So many of the issues I face with social media stem from communication whose purpose is to destroy and tear down. I love that you've found a way to encourage those who are still a part of social media and not just write it off completely! Thanks so much for linking up with us!

  • I think you speak a lot of life into this blog, and I appreciate that about you. Thanks.

  • Jayda

    I love this post so much!! I find myself connecting to others based on negativity way too much, and sometimes I don't even realize how damaging it is, because it seems so normal. And "venting" and gossiping fall under that umbrella for me too. Thanks for the encouragement to be more intentional!

  • Wow. So encouraging! I LOVE that shirt, too. I've always want to have a kind and gentle spirit, but I have more of a tendency to be a talker, and that's not always a good thing. Speak life is definitely something I can keep in the back of my mind to help me in that. Great post, friend!

  • I know! I cannot wait until it arrives at my door! and I am a talker too! haha. a kind and gentle spirit is not silent – it is encouraging, uplifting, and patient 🙂 our words can be used for good! we just need to be aware of what we are saying!

  • It is so normal that we are pretty numb to it – but you know when one person is complain at the office then everyone is and it is a sucky day! we can either bring peopel down or lift them up! i am so glad you were encouraged!

  • thanks Amanda for your sweet words! It is Christ in me for sure! lol

  • yeah! I think it is a great way to reach many! you can use that for good or bad – it is up to you 🙂

  • Mandy! Thank you sweet lady! I went with their biggest package for blogger! It was a total overhaul and rebrand! I also have customer support forever – I love that part!

  • It is funny! I noticed it once in the grocery store and then noticed it everywhere. I am trying to be intentional in those times to be encouraging and hopeful instead!

  • Mandy

    Elizabeth, aww thanks but I really mean it! It's a beautiful blog! I finally decided to go with their Entree Blog Design package. Leah, let me know I could upgrade and add more if I need to. I can not wait to see how it turns out in the end of April.

  • Oh perfect! I just love working with them and I hope you do too! They are so talented and kind!!! Enjoy the process!!

    http://www.oakandoats.com

  • Thanks so much for your sweet words of encouragement Alicia!

  • YES! so true. and sometimes we have convinced ourselves that words don't hurt boys…. lol.