being mindful, devotions, friends, healthy living

words matter

I was wide awake in the middle of the night with a restless puppy. If I get woken up like that, I’m up, at least for a good hour or two. #frustrating. So, I did a little Pinterest searching. Better than Amazon prime shopping, right?!ūüėú.

I came across this great article about positive/negative words and how they affect plant growth. This experiment is not new- it has been around for a while and is a great illustration showing how words matter. How we speak to others matters!

img_5888

In the blog post I read, the author explained how the plant on the right was talked to with positive, loving, encouraging speech. In fact the container was even covered with positive words written out on it. On the left, the negative. Put-downs, hate, discouraging speech was spoken to it and negative written words covered the container. And you probably guessed how it turned out.

Our loving, good, positive words bring life to others. They build up and contribute to a life of thriving. And when we choose words that tear down? It’s stifles. It can make others feel weak. It takes life out of them.

This past week we have probably all witnessed this. It’s been a tumultuous week of feelings ¬†swinging vastly on the pendulum of emotions. One simple click of “post”, “send”, “tweet” has brought forth words of all kinds. Words that encouraged, words that offended. Words that showed grace, words that ripped apart. ¬†Words that left a sting. ¬†Words that extended a branch. ¬†Words that affected.

BUT… we often reflect outwardly what we struggle with inwardly. At least I do.

I had never considered this illustration with how I speak TO MYSELF. ¬†I can be so guilty of this. I get in a routine and I do good with my healthy choices, my time management, my effort in relationships. And when I do, I feel good about myself. I speak nicely to myself. My inner voice is all rainbows and unicorns.ūüĆąūü¶Ą ¬†And I tend to approach things with that same attitude

But when any of those efforts slide? When I splurge on bad foods, skip the workout, spew forth a thought without thinking, or put minimal effort into my marriage or parenting when I know better? ¬†I don’t cut myself much slack. I don’t extend myself much grace. And the negativity begins. My inner self-talk becomes putting myself down. I find fault with everything I do. The rainbows turn to clouds and unicorns to something more like angry birds. ūüź§ūüė°ūüź¶ And I begin feeling a little like this withering plant. A little more lifeless, a little more crumbly. ¬†And that is how I find myself living my day to day- with a negative vibe in things I say and do.

We, of course, need to pay attention¬†to how we speak to others and always seek to speak words that bring life. ¬†Words that show respect. Words that don’t intend harm. But… we often need to get to that place by first looking in.

Have you paid attention to how you speak to yourself? Being content on the inside means there’s a greater chance you will spread that joy and good feeling to others on the outside. As you try to be healthier, help others, and live better, are you considering your self-talk? It matters! When you stumble, remember… Be kind to you. Show grace to you. Love you! Be intentional about this. Practice this. Live this. The picture illustrates so well how you’ll grow and thrive when you do. And when you get your heart feeling good on the inside, it’s becomes so much easier to spread that encouragement outwardly.‚̧

daily moments, devotions, friends

a tree out of season

 

Do you notice anything about the photo below ? ¬†I spotted this little scene earlier this year on one of my many treks down Highway 6 to Target. ¬†In fact, it jumped out at me so vividly, that I turned my car around and pulled over just to snap this pic. ¬†When I look at this image, I see spring in full bloom, nice and green, fresh flowers, plants neatly growing with each other. ¬†And then there’s the orange tree. ¬†It’s gone ahead and jumped to autumn. ¬†It’s out of season from the rest of it’s surroundings, doing what it can to grow in the season it appears to be in, but seemingly just a little out of sync.

image

Have you ever felt like this autumn tree? ¬†Like, everyone is in their season of pretty‚Ķ of all kinds of got-it-together-ness and you’re ¬†‚Ķ.. not? ¬†I have! ¬†There have been so many times that when I look out around me, I see everyone’s lives sort of like spring‚Ķ bright and colorful, fresh, neatly planted. ¬†They seem so in sync with their surroundings. ¬†And all the while I’m sitting by my lonesome in fall‚Ķ feeling more like those cheery colors are fading out and the now brittle leaves are getting ready to shed at any time.

Seasons can be good. ¬†They’re often anticipated and expected. ¬†They give us variety to life and can be something to look forward to. ¬†They can bring with them a welcome change from what has been and encourage traditions and newness for the months ahead. ¬†If it wasn’t for seasons, life could be pretty monotonous and dull.

But, not all seasons are times of refreshment.  Some seasons very much throw us off.  They can come unexpectedly.  And some seasons bring about change that we would rather not go through, much less embrace.

The bible  talks about all kinds of seasons in Ecclesiastes 3:1-8:

For everything there is a season,
a time for every activity under heaven.

A time to be born and a time to die.
A time to plant and a time to harvest.

A time to kill and a time to heal.
A time to tear down and a time to build up.

A time to cry and a time to laugh.
A time to grieve and a time to dance.

A time to scatter stones and a time to gather stones.
A time to embrace and a time to turn away.

A time to search and a time to quit searching.
A time to keep and a time to throw away.

A time to tear and a time to mend.
A time to be quiet and a time to speak.

A time to love and a time to hate.
A time for war and a time for peace.

The seasons of life can be good. ¬†And they can be scary. ¬†They can be joyous. ¬†And they can be full of worry. ¬†And unfortunately, we don’t get to choose our season. ¬†We don’t get to pick one everyone else is in, which stinks because¬†I really don’t want a season of crying when everyone else is laughing. ¬†That’s just no fun. ¬†And I don’t want to be gathering my stones if everyone else is able to be carefree and tossing theirs about. ¬†Nope.

I don’t want my scene like the one I saw on Highway 6 last spring. ¬†I don’t want to be out of season from everyone else. ¬†I would much prefer we all bloom and then we all shed. ¬†All at the same time. ¬†There’s safety in numbers, right?

But that’s not life. ¬†We aren’t meant to be in the exact seasons at the same time. ¬†I need to pay attention to what’s around me so that I see the full picture, not just my piece. ¬†It doesn’t matter if I’m the autumn tree or if I’m neatly growing with all of my surroundings. ¬†I need to be able to see the fresh blooms of some and the shedding leaves of others. ¬†We are meant to lean on each other and do life together. ¬†That’s where it’s beautiful. ¬†That’s why the juxtaposition works. ¬†Just look at this photo again. ¬†The colors of both seasons very much compliment each other in such a beautiful way. ¬†One stands out BECAUSE of the other. ¬†Their differences are what makes it interesting. ¬†And¬†I think that’s how life works, too. ¬†Fresh spring flowers and autumn trees- they CAN grow together in unexpected ways.‚̧ԳŹ