I am, in my human nature, a glass-is-half-empty kind of person. I think about death every day. I get super depressed about the hideous stuff that is happening in our world. I sometimes despair because the truth is I don’t have to look farther than my own heart to recognize the utter brokenness in humanity. Maybe you relate? Maybe you also “tend toward the melancholy”. It’s easy to do. It seems the most natural thing in the world to notice what is not, or what is lacking, rather than being glad about what is.
I’ve been thinking a lot about words. Words are everything. Every action begins with a thought that is made up of words, even if that thought stays in our minds. My outlook and attitude is absolutely formed by these thoughts, and there’s no telling how off I am on many things at any given time! We talk to ourselves all day. We also get to choose the words we speak every day. The inward voice dragging me down toward the tendency to complain or wallow in self-pity is not the voice of truth. It’s often not even my own voice, and so I talk back. I want to tell my soul what is true! David did this in Ps. 42.5.
Isn’t it amazing how God created everything that is through SPEAKING?! “Let there be light.” And there was light. This is incredible! I noticed the other day this correlation between God creating through words and the truth that you and I can also create with our words. Has anyone ever said something to you that truly gave you life? That lifted you up? It is such a gift! It’s powerful! How bout the reverse? Ever experienced death by words? Sticks and stones and all that? Proverbs says “The power of life and death is in the tongue.” We can be life-givers every day! Also, a really lovely indirect result is that it lifts us as well. I’m talking about the simplest words like: “You are beautiful.” This is not flattery. This is truth! Every person is an eternal, unique soul made in the image of the creator! God says this about us and we need to remind each other often.
We are loved! (Jn 3:16)
We are delighted in! (Ps. 18.19)
We were created by (ON PURPOSE), adopted by and wanted by the most incredible, powerful, beautiful, inspiring, perfect Being who invented this entire universe!
It is hard to see sometimes, though. We live in a world skewed by sin. We have an enemy who shrouds the truth. We contend with our fallen nature that is everyday ‘at war’ with the spirit. (Gal. 5.17) I’ve been asking God regularly to open my weak eyes so I can see what IS and say thank you for it. It’s crazy how He is answering this prayer! There is beauty and wonder everywhere! Actually, Instagram has been huge in helping me put this into practice. Focusing on something beautiful and snapping a picture of it gets me in the habit of looking for the good all the time. This practice is truly life-changing. We are called to be thankful people. We are invited into joy. But we have a role to play. God doesn’t just dump joyful, happy feelings in our laps. We are invited to seek what is true and good and beautiful and affirm it; to ourselves and to others. I want to speak LIFE.
Now, finally, I feel the need to say that I’m not talking here about just putting on a chipper, fake smiley face and ignoring or denying truly heavy, sad things. God help us if we start faking it! There is absolutely a time for grief. If we notice injustice and need, I’m convinced God wants to be involved in working for change and peace and justice. He made us for this! But in general, if we are steeped in the truth, if we’re asking the ‘big’ questions, if we’re starting to figure out some of the bigger picture, if we’re believing that the life of Jesus gives US life, if we’re starting to see God as He is, the result will not and should not be complaining negativity, but rather, thanksgiving, hope and joy. This kind of thing transforms us and thus changes the world.
Cheers, friends, Lizi
Lizi Bailey lives in Griffin, Georgia with her husband, Matthew and their 5 beautiful children; Ezra, Silas, Lyric, Sunny and Daisy. She is a learner, singer, songwriter, musician and worship leader. Learn more at lizibailey.org or follow her @lizibailey.