A few years ago I was listening to a well respected communicator speak on having compassion and partnering with God’s heart for our cities. As he was speaking, in my mind I said to myself, it’s too bad that every spiritual gift test I take seems to be so low in compassion and mercy.
Quick pause… I want to be honest with you. I had declared “too bad I’m so low in the gift of mercy” out loud many times, normally followed by a little laugh, and then used as an actual excuse for not engaging with something or someone. Please stop judging me and continue reading. haha
So I’m sitting there as he is speaking, mulling this over and wondering, “who on our staff will lead the way in compassion?” I began to look around the room and think about various people around me who are SO WONDERFUL at showing compassion – when suddenly my sidetracked thoughts were interrupted. A voice inside of me said very simply and clearly, “Carolyn, I have the gift of compassion.”
It was like a revelatory light bulb got turned on in my brain. You know those moments, when you know something but it doesn’t click. Then God releases insight or understanding and it’s like a bomb goes off in your mind and you want to cry because you have just experienced God’s heart and you feel changed. It was that kind of moment. Did it surprise me that Jesus has compassion? NO. Of course not. The light that came on was, “wow, I don’t have an excuse to lack any spiritual gift because Jesus in me is access to it all.” How can I say I’m low in compassion or mercy when the very fullness of compassion and mercy lives in me? I’ve got to rethink what I am believing and what is coming out of my mouth. Because I will live out what I believe.
I could pull a few different things from this experience that have had a significant impact on my life. But there is one thing I want to focus in on.
What you speak over yourself matters more than you think.
Our words have power! If I say that I don’t have very much compassion, how much compassion do you think will come out of me? If I say I’m not smart, how much wisdom will I be able to receive? As a musician, if I say – I’m not a good guitar player, I won’t ever be able to lead that way or I’ll never be good enough to play for a larger event, do you think I ever will?
Let me try a few more statements –
I’m not noticed by my leadership – I’m not that important – I’m not like her/him (good, because you are an original) – I’m not a good writer – I’m not good at strategy, systems, organizing…
I’m not, I’m not, I’m not. The stinking thinking victim words flow like a polluted river out of our mouths. Every time that we say “I’m not” something, we limit Jesus’ ability to bring the super to our natural. Can I even just give a quick plug for being careful how you use the profile of a personality test or your enneagram # as your identity? How easy is it to use the strengths and weaknesses of an awesome resource like these tests to lead us instead of serve us. We quickly write “I’m not______” into our story like it’s an excuse for lazy living. (like me 😉
Good news my friends, good. news. flash. coming right up! We weren’t created to live bound by our own limitations. We were created to live in God’s limitless realm of possibilities.
I might not be naturally merciful and I might want to tell people to get up and stop crying, but Jesus in me loves to meet people right where they are and be present with them in their pain. Why would I want to limit God doing something powerful through me, revealing that I truly am who He says I am!?
Ephesians 4:29 TPT
And never let ugly or hateful words come from your mouth, but instead let your words become beautiful gifts that encourage others; do this by speaking words of grace to help them.
How powerful is this verse lived out?! I love it. I want to shift the language just a little bit because if we are going to live it we need to receive it in our own lives. Can we truly encourage others if we are discouraging ourselves?
Let’s try Ephesians 4:29 this way –
Never let ugly or hateful words come from your mouth, but instead let your words become beautiful gifts that encourage you; do this by speaking words of grace to help yourself.
Help yourself by speaking grace and encouragement over yourself. Be sensitive to when you are making statements that begin with ‘I’m not’, ‘I don’t’, ‘I can’t’, ‘that’s not my gift’, etc… Those are authoritative statements and we should only make them if they are statements Jesus will agree with, otherwise we aren’t partnering with His truth.
I believe YOU, like me, are passionate to be a change agent in the world around you. If we want to lead with authority in the words we communicate, the anthems we compose and the books we write – let’s begin by gaining authority this year in the way we speak over ourselves. Yes to more “I am” statements and No to all of the “I’m not”.