Wednesday, March 16, 2011

How building our vocabulary increases our beauty

When I was younger my mom had a conversation with me about what words I chose to use. It was not a conversation about cussing. At this point, we had already established the idea that I would not be someone who was cussing. She was referring to my everyday vocabulary. Her idea was that we would determine how we saw things in life, and our take on life, by the words we chose to use to describe life. Her example was that she was going to start using the word, "beautiful" more, because she wanted to SEE beauty in her life. I liked that. It made sense to me, as a child.

There were times I reflected on that, and times I didn't give a CRAP! :) CRAP! Ya hear me!? :) There were times when it was harder for me to express gratitude, and see beauty, in my life. Right after college, when I did not get offered a job...and then, right after having kids who made me feel like I was going insane, I experienced, a raw feeling of "Is this all there is?" Here's the thing. I have read the verse that talks about "thinking on what is praiseworthy..." I love that verse on a good day. But on a bad day, (deep sigh) it's a lot harder to muster, isn't it?

"Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable--if anything is excellent or praiseworthy--think about such things."
Philippians 4:8

There have been days my kids all slept through the night and I had a shower, put on make-up, had a clean outfit to wear that makes me feel good, ate a great breakfast, had a few compliments thrown my way, etc. etc. On those days, I feel like saying things like, "Isn't God so good?"

Then, there are those days when I stayed up past midnight on facebook, got woken up three times in the night to a whiny, hard-to-understand baby, didn't have anything healthy in the house for breakfast, couldn't find an outfit that fit well and was clean, and didn't have any coffee to make. :( Those days make me want to say things like, "CRAP!" :) I'm smiling now, of course, because I am very aware of how ridiculous I sound, but in that moment, I am not usually smiling.

Sometimes I need to switch up my vocabulary. Sometimes I need to trust my feelings less, and trust my God more. I need to develop a discipline of talking in a way that pleases God even on a bad day. There was a time when I thought, "Well, that is fake, and I don't want to be fake" so I let myself rant and rave and go on and on about my frustrations, worries, hang-ups, and other garbage in my heart. It didn't feel right, though. I would tear through the house like a Tasmanian devil just so I could "be real". What's that about? Who I REALLY am, is not always pretty. Who I want to be is someone who IS always pretty. The more I allowed myself to wallow in self-pity, describing my life with words that referred to the drudgery I was experiencing, the worse I felt, and the less good I was capable of accomplishing. The longer I stayed stuck there, the worse it got for me. If I keep thinking, "I'm just being real" and never stretch myself to be anything more than "real" then I am denying myself of being GREAT for God. At some point I had to say to myself, "this being real stuff is not all it is cracked up to be. I want to be better than real. I want to be authentic, but at the end of the day it is more important to me to be uplifting, encouraging, strong, obedient, and loving."

Here's where I am at now. Lord, Thank you for this day. You provide a roof over our heads, and even a roof over our cars. You provide food in our stomachs, and we even have enough food that we can throw some of it away when my one year old dumps it on the floor. You provide GOOD things in our lives. All good things come from you. I will develop my vocabulary today, as a means of honoring you, as the Lord of my life. You will search my heart, and weed out the offensiveness that is not coming from you, and I love you for that. I love your grace as I continue to strive to put your will above my own. I will speak out of love today. I will use words like, "abundant, extravagant, gracious, precious, and hopeful" rather than "sucks, stupid, crap, and hopeless". Thank you, Lord, for redeeming the ugliness that is hidden deep inside of me that only you know exists. You truly know what is best for me. It is for that reason that I give my life to you and your calling for me. Amen?

My mom is someone who is FULL with joy, and it spills out onto everyone around her. She has created a discipline of speaking what is hopeful and beautiful in her life. It is second nature to her now. On my bad days when I call her up and ask her what I can do to be more like her, there are times she cannot even tell me how she does what she does. It's not what she DOES anymore; it's become who she IS. Who she IS, is beautiful.

May we create discipline in our vocabulary, so that God can honor that, and change us into who HE wants us to be...which will increase in beauty with time.


Kathy S. said...

I love this post!
I loved also your comment on Susie Larson's blog, (that's how I got here!) I believe it resonates with most of us who want to live fruitfully for the Lord.

The delicate balance between being bold and being considerate seems hard to find, and I think mostly comes with practice/experience.

God bless you and your blog! I will be back!
~Kathy (Amery, WI)

Sarah Anne said...

I think you are fantastic, Alisha! Thanks for the encouraging words you share!

jen crane said...

love it, girl :)

Cindy Loo Who said...

I so appreciate your insight and your honesty. Most times and most days I can manage pretty well...and even have moments of frantically praying in my mind, "tell me what to (or what not to) say Lord". Recently I have found myself with a very Challenging boss...who I react to and have to work hard NOT to say a LOT of things. Thanks for guidance in how to set my barometer and my mouth on a daily basis. Such a blessing you (you must get it from your Mom!) ;)