It was 2013. I was working at a company that I hated. Or more accurately, it was the practices and philosophies of the management team that I objected to. Foul language. Temper tantrums. Verbally berating employees. To put it simply, I was miserable and it showed, in my actions and in my words.
Until the day that God cleared His throat.
Let me explain.
Still single after divorcing “Mr T” some 20-years earlier, at age 50 I legally changed my last name to HOPEWELL … a name whispered to me by God, and which serves as a daily reminder to me to “hope well”. (pretty cool, huh?)
In 2011, I was part of a downsizing event. It was the first time in my working career that I’d ever been “let go” and it stung. Thankfully, when it happened I was smack dab in the midst of a FAITH-quest, feeding and feasting on everything I could get my hands on that had to do with learning how to speak FAITH vs FEAR. So when I was notified that Friday that my services were no longer needed, I calmly packed my belongings, and drove home speaking declarations like:
- You know all my needs Lord, and I refuse to give way to fear about this.
- Thank you Father, in advance, for the new job that You are preparing for me.
- Every need that I have is met in you, Jesus. I trust you to take care of me.
“The Word that’s abiding in you, that’s alive in you, is the Word that talks to you. It’s the Word that leads you moment-by-moment as you go about your day. The abiding Word will come up in your heart, much like words and notes of a familiar song might spontaneously run through your mind.” ~Gloria Copeland, Putting Your Words To Work
The following Monday, I grabbed my ipod and went for a walk around the neighborhood -listening to Podcast after Podcast teaching on the principals of speaking words of faith over fear, saying what God says about any given situation, and the power of God’s words spoken out of my mouth with believing faith. Over the following weeks, I’d walk and listen and build up my confidence in God’s ability to meet my needs in spite of negative looking circumstances. And only after I felt appropriately filled up –meaning my faith was built up sufficiently to swallow up feelings of fear and anxiety- I’d come home and resume my job search. As weeks turned into months, there were days that I’d log 6-10 miles around the neighborhood before I’d be ready to resume my job search. And just before the money ran out, I got a new job!!
I started that job with such enthusiasm, strongly desiring to honor God in that position by being more bold about my faith at work. By the end of my first week there, I had decorated my cubicle with calendars and posters that clearly identified me as a woman of faith and power. I was going to do great things for God at that company!
The Word that’s in you in abundance is also the Word you hear coming out of your mouth, for “out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks”. (Luke 6:45) … To conquer the challenges of the world, the flesh and the devil, you must have the spiritual strength within you that only the engrafted Word can provide. You have to be so established in the Word that it automatically rises up within you in a moment of crisis.”
Sadly, by late 2013, I’d taken most of those posters down. I knew I wasn’t being a very good representative for Christ, but I honestly hated going to work -hated the way they treated people -hated the way they treated me -and that hatred had corrupted my mouth to such an extent that instead of speaking God’s words over the situation all I did was gripe and grumble and mutter to myself (pretty much from 8-5pm) about how much I hated my job. You get the idea.
“Ehh-hem! You are not living up to your name.”
I love when God speaks to me, but it’s no fun to be on the receiving end of His correction. It was as though He held up a mirror, and my heart sunk at the reflection being returned to me. Gone was the woman of faith and power, replaced by a woman of paste and flour. Resentful and hard-hearted, critical of others and pridefully self-righteous. I was representing the exact opposite of a woman who “hoped well”, and unless I wanted God to change my name to “Miss Pissy Pants” I knew what I had to do.
- I had to forgive. period. end of story.
- I had to change my attitude.
And I was going to start by changing my words.
I’ll be honest – it was hard! Especially at the beginning!!! So to help keep me on track, I taped to my desk (just below my keyboard, so that only I could see it) a little affirmation based on a quote I’d heard from Charles Capps. When frustration threatened to overwhelm me, and I was tempted to gripe and grumble and internally cuss people out (*sigh*), I would instead make myself breathe and thank God that He was preparing for me “a perfect, well paying, and satisfying job”.
It didn’t happen overnight … but my heart changed … and relationships healed … and I regained a level of Christian influence with my colleagues … and then …. well, I’ll write about that next week when I reveal the finished painting. (I’m so excited!!)
I still wrestle with discouragement. I still have to guard my mouth. And recently, the Lord is reminding me that “keeping silent” can be as destructive as speaking “careless words”. Hmmm.
“As for me, this is my covenant with them”, says the Lord.
“My spirit, who is on you, and my words that I have put in your mouth will not depart from your mouth…..” (Isaiah 59:21)
If you would like to learn more about what the Bible has to say about the power of words, may I suggest this 31-day devotional “Putting Your Words to Work”, Gloria Copeland She is one of my favorite Bible teachers (probably because she reminds me so very much of my beloved Aunt Mac <3).
All sketches and watercolors posted on this website are the sole property of the author and are for exclusive display on the website PuttingHopeToWork.com.