I'm surrounded by smoke from fires burning in Idaho, Oregon and California. If you look at a map it looks like my small part of the world is completely on fire and if you stepped outside my house you'd believe it. The air quality is wavering between hazardous and unhealthy and it's horrible. The sky looks orange, hazy and gloomy and everything is covered in a thin layer of dust and ash. You can smell the acrid scent of smoke and every time you inhale smoke fills your lungs and stings making it hard to breathe. It's miserable for everyone. The closer you are to the fires the worse it is. And... each fire started with a small spark.
It's amazing really how many thousands of people are affected by something that started so small. Towns have been evacuated, homes destroyed, years of work and investment taken away in the wake of something that started with a small spark. Lives have been lost and changed forever. The physical and emotional wounds caused by these fires will for some last a lifetime. All because of a spark. Today as I was reading in James I saw this verse. "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" James 3:5-6a. It got me thinking about all the times I've been damaged by words and then about all the times my words have done damage to others. Some of the most painful situations in my life are tied to words being spoken about me and some of the greatest shame in my life is tied to words I spoke or ones I wish I would have. Can you relate? As I think about the power of words I'm overwhelmed by their strength and impact!
I remember words from my childhood that still have the power to make me cower in shame and doubt my abilities and worth. I remember words spoken about me as an adult that fill me with grief and pain. I remember words that have been spoken about my value and character that have strengthened me to keep on going and pursue my passion and purpose. I remember words that have been spoken about me that have validated my design and my calling and given me the courage to do harder things with confidence. Those words make an impact on my children, my friends, my co-workers, and...you. Positive or negative, words have the ability to shape and mold generations and cultures. It's true... our words are a small spark that can set a fire that destroys a person, relationship or organization or a spark that builds, inspires and heals.
What if your words impacted three generations of your family? What would the effects of those words be? Would they be life-giving words full of hope and healing or would they be words of condemnation and despair? Picture your words as sparks that create flames that then spread to the people closest to you and from there they spread to the people that surround them and continue outward. What sparks are you spreading? What do the flames you produce look like?
Are you ready to start a new habit of using your words to build rather than destroy? I'd love to help! Check out my website at www.pathwaycoaching.net and schedule a free consultation.