Hello, My Name is Not Boring
I still remember where we were standing. My bare feet were sticking slightly to her linoleum floor as we talked in the doorway of her family’s kitchen. There's only one part of that conversation that I still hear clearly in my memory now. She told me that someone described me as “boring Tasha.”
That day, I shrugged the comment off because I didn’t know how else to respond. It was a little comment. My good friend didn’t have mean intentions in telling me what was said, but those words stuck. The description of “boring” knocked on the door of my heart and I let it move in and unpack its bags.
The words that we let fall from our mouths have power. James describes the tongue like the rudder of a ship or a wild animal that must be tamed in James 3: 3-6
“When we put bits into the mouths of horses to make them obey us, we can turn the whole animal. Or take ships as an example. Although they are so large and are driven by strong winds, they are steered by a very small rudder wherever the pilot wants to go. Likewise, the tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts. Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark. The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole body, sets the whole course of one’s life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell.”
Those simple words shared by my friend directed the way I viewed myself from behind the scenes of my life for years after that seemingly insignificant moment.
That was over 20 years ago. I didn’t know that what was spoken wasn’t true at the time. I didn’t know that people who make comments like that and, furthermore, feel they are in a position to talk about someone that way, are usually very insecure hearts who have also believed lies spoken about them.
It’s taken Jesus' relentless pursuit of my heart, days that turned into years of reading my bible and living in community with others who spoke truth and grace to me, to believe what's actually true about me (and you). What’s actually true couldn't be farther from the word "boring." What's true is that you and I are masterpieces, created by the God who created the galaxies and the beautiful cluster of stormy, sea-blue irises that I am so eager to see bloom outside of my dining room window again this spring.
What if the words you casually said today stuck with someone for the next 20 years or more, wrapping around them like a set of caged bars, hindering how they move forward in the world from this day on? Or, what if the words you intentionally spoke today stuck with someone and set them free to move into the places God purposed for them to be with courage, confidence and conviction?
Our words matter. Many of us need to learn to keep our mouths shut even though our opinion-frenzy, social-media-driven world tells us we are allowed to comment and “speak” our thoughts and emoticons whenever we want.
Some of us need to learn to speak up and speak the words God meant for us to speak: words of truth sandwiched between grace and love. There is fault in not speaking a good word when we know we can and should.
“Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love.” Ephesians 4:15-16
Some of us need to put into practice taking words and thoughts captive before we speak them or keep them. On one hand, our tongues can do great destruction; on the other, they have the power to heal.
Proverbs 16:24 says, “Gracious words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones.”
There are huge, heavy, heart-breakingly terrifying things going on in the world today and the topic of “words” seems too simple and almost invisible in light of them. However, James reminds us that just as an entire forest fire starts with a small spark, a word from our tongues yields the same power. Solomon reminds us that our words can soothe the soul and heal our bones.
The words we choose today have the power to affect the next generation of hearts and news headlines tomorrow. Will you set a forest ablaze or plant a forest with your words?