I was talking with a friend about goats one day after church.
(If you know me, you know that’s not nearly as strange as it sounds. I have a little bit of a thing for goats. And if they’re tiny and in pajamas? Just STOP.)
I don’t remember what took the conversation in that direction (it doesn’t take much), but I was telling her about fainting goats. Have you seen them? They’re the ones that when they’re startled completely spaz out. The muscles in their legs tense up to the point that while they never lose consciousness, they just flop over on their sides. They recover after a few seconds and go on about their business, but they’re known – more than anything else – for their inability to cope with anything surprising or out of the ordinary.
As I described the adorableness of fainting goats to my friend, something occurred to me.
“You know what?” I asked her. “I’m basically a fainting goat! Something hard or unexpected comes my way and *flop* I’m down for the count!”
I laughed at my new realization, but she got a more serious look on her face.
“I don’t know, Jess. Don’t speak that over yourself.”
And y’all, I’m not lying when I say that I can’t get her words out of my mind.
Don’t speak that over yourself.
I’ve always heard not to think badly of myself…not to say bad things about myself…not to believe bad things about myself, but it’s always been more of a suggestion than a rule to live by. More of an idea than a policy. More of a “power of positive thinking” thing than a “cling to what is true” thing.
The thing is, Scripture tells us about the power of words, whether spoken out loud or thought in private. It exhorts us to speak the truth in love, reminds us that words can bring life or death, and challenges us to take even our thoughts captive. Words, it seems, are far more powerful than we give them credit for. Words can steer us toward the life God wants for us, or toward the life He’s died to free us from.
That seems pretty important, so I’m working on it. A few weeks ago another friend mentioned how she stands in front of the mirror with her daughters and speaks truth over them every morning.
“You are God’s child,” she says.
“I am God’s child,” a little voice repeats.
“You are beautiful.”
“I am beautiful.”
“You are a world-changer.”
“I am a world-changer.”
They go through the ritual daily, with about a dozen affirming, life-giving statements spoken and echoed and made personal. It’s the intentional speaking of Truth over a heart and mind and life. With time, those Truths can become more and more real to those girls, traveling the seemingly unsurpassable distance between the mind and the heart.
I absolutely loved the idea, and it reminded me of the video that went viral last fall of the young dad doing this ritual with his little girl. He stood behind her, speaking the words, and she repeated them back. (You can see the video here.) When I saw the video, I teared up, thinking of the impact that two-minute routine could have on that little girl’s future. And as I thought about my friend’s little girls, I wanted nothing less for my own daughter.
So I originally planned to put this action plan into effect for my eight-year-old, and I’ve already done it a few times with her. She rolls her eyes a little and is less than enthusiastic about it sometimes, but her mama won’t relent. I know it’s important. And because it’s so important, I’m making a commitment to speak those same life-giving words over myself. If they’re true for a five-year-old…an eight-year-old….then they’re true for me.
I am God’s child.
I am beautiful.
I am a world-changer.
I am called.
I am equipped.
I am treasured.
The power of God’s Word is not diminished by my feelings, but my feelings can be controlled by His Truths. I’m clinging to that, and refuse to admit anything less. I am not a fainting goat, even though they’re pretty darn cute.
Nope. I am a chosen woman of God, and while that’s probably not as high on the cuteness scale, it’s over the top in power.