Words Can Hurt You

Are there promises that you need to renounce? Are there negative words that you’ve spoken and made agreements with? We call these in church speech or churchese as I call it, Inner Vows.

For example saying, “I’m fine”, when you aren’t, isn’t always positive confession. Sometimes it’s just pride. A refusal to admit to others that you’ve got some fractured parts of your life that need help doesn’t help you. In fact, it often creates barriers.

How about the “I will never……”, vows? I can’t even begin to tell you how many times my nevers turned into reality. I used to say I’d never speak in public and here I am. In fact, gasp, gulp, I have been known to sing in public. So God took me from never speaking in public to speaking and singing. Then when I said okay, I’ll speak at the church I’m a member of, but not anywhere else……. Well you all know what happened.

Okay those are some vows, but about the more serious ones? I will never love anyone too much because I saw how much my mom loved my dad and in the end he left. So instead of guarding your heart and sharing it, you pull it so far back the guy never stands a chance.

Maybe your mother wound is so deep or your ex-wife hurt you so much that you tell yourself if there is even a hint of any of the behavior you recognize you’re out of there. And so you eventually see it, or manifest it by unchanged patterns in your life, and run for the hills when the reality is you’re making the new person pay for the sins of the past.

The cost of these inner vows are fear, anxiety, isolation, rejection, bitterness, resentment, mistrust of others, distance that can’t be brought back together. Count the cost. Sometimes the price is way too expensive for your lifestyle.

How do you know if the inner vow you’ve made is right or wrong? Ask yourself, does it add to my life? By adding I mean does it add love, does it add friends, does it add benefit, or does it just cost me?

Whosoever WILL

Let’s get one thing straight. I’m a firm believer of when you know better, you do better. Some lessons are harder than others to learn and the one I learned recently was a false perception that I thought that I was capable of mentoring anyone. After banging my head against the wall a few times however, I realized that there is an important clause in this faith I follow and that’s the whosoever will clause.

Not everyone cares or wants to change. While change be inevitable it’s no less hard and some are not willing nor ready. So this year, I determined to stop beating my head against the wall. Oh sure I would pray, I wouldn’t hold offense, but I wouldn’t stop my forward motion or the progress of others to beat a dead horse. It has worked miracles in my life.

There is no scriptural  reference to nagging and pleading. The whosoever will clause takes care of that. I’ve learned that when I speak to you about the things I have gone through, or even better, the things I have learned along the way, or even better still what the bible has to say about a situation, there is zero return for me. I walk in the door of my house and there is still carpet to vacuum, floors to sweep and mop, dinners to be made. There are still personal devotion times to be had, books to be read, health issues to contend to, and my own growth and learning process. I get nothing out of mentoring another other than sheer joy that the person has moved on past the problem, learned a solution, and has stepped up their level.

When my own mentor, sets me straight, or tries to teach me a principle, or comes and sits and prays with me, she gives up her time for me. She doesn’t get anything from it. I submit and retain the advice or I don’t, it will be entirely up to me. Her workload doesn’t change, in fact, it increases because I become one in her scope of leadership. I add work to her life. It’s one she takes on freely without regret or rancor because she loves to see the progress and she is saddened when I get stuck, but, and here’s the key to mentoring, she refuses to come and sit in the stuck with me. She’ll come and extend her hand but if I am continually trying to drag her down, she walks away. She doesn’t have endless hours for me either. Minutes each week and sometimes not even that. When I used to tell her I have no one to talk to and I needed advice, she would say, “You are never alone, sometimes you need to just get on your face and tell your heavenly Father. Sometimes he’s the only one with the answers.” Great advice that has saved me on so many occasions I can’t even begin to count.

So who is mentoring you? Are they frustrated or thrilled with your progress? Are you listening? Or did you listen with one ear already having chosen what you would do? Who are you mentoring? Are there places where you get stuck? It’s really wisdom to assess your effectiveness in both areas of your life. Take a little time to do that today.