My love language. Words of Affirmation. The day these words were placed before me, I finally felt understood, known. Yes! Yes! I am words of affirmation! This is how I feel love and more importantly this is how I GIVE love!!! I was so confident in this 5 minute exam in the back of a book, that 10 years later, I am obviously still talking about it.
What does this all mean anyway? So in a nutshell there are 5 love languages, time, touch, gifts, words and acts of service, and we all carry all 5 of these but 1 or 2 usually shine a little brighter in our love tank. Since my top love language is words, I tend to feel the most love or hurt by how people talk to me. You can literally not buy a birthday present, EVER, and I’ll never notice. Never lose sleep. Never contemplate whether we are true friends. But if you call me one day and just say, “thank you, I love you or you are doin’ good girl…” I am forever yours. On the contrary, you ever want to hurt me, break my heart and soul, then shame me with words, take me down verbally or become silent. This is not a right or wrong thing, this is simply how I feel love. This is me.
It’s no surprise to me that while words is my love language that is also my source of comfort. Reading fills my soul and writing cleanses it. It releases the stronghold of all the imperfect sin that lies within me. It allows me to gracefully display my most vulnerable parts and not feel shamed. Ironically, folks can totally respond with shaming and ridicule but to be honest, I don’t write to read the comments, while I always appreciate a kind thought (obviously, words girl here). It’s in displaying the grace that I need that I hope others can also give to themselves. To see that no one is perfect. No one has it all together. We are all flawed, sinned, forgiven.
The sin that is shouting from my soul this morning is the sin of people pleasing, caring too much what others think and self shaming. It is this very ugly, embarrassing act that I am no longer holding captive but releasing. Releasing in repentance, in grace, in forgiveness. Forgiveness to myself and others. While words is my thing, it is not everyone else’s. It is not where their heart speaks from, therefore it is not my place to judge or condemn when I feel hurt, but speak to them. For all I know, their love language is gifts and I totally stiffed them last year because it’s just not my thing? The fact of the matter is this, we all mess up, we all make mistakes and these hang ups don’t define us. When we call them out of the shadows of our deepest, darkest thoughts, they aren’t that scary. They are imperfections that need a little alignment.
Forgiving ourselves, forgiving others is a critical first step in our realignment. Who has wronged you? Messed up? Hurt you?
Talk to them. Show grace to them. Forgive them.
I had a beautiful conversation with my 8 year old son this morning, as we were the only 2 awake at 6:45 am (damn body clock is messing up my Saturday sleep in plans). He began to tell me about a couple kids at school that were treating him in a way he did not want to be treated. My first instinct, get all momma bear…find out their names and put the fear of God in them. Then I realized a restraining order may hurt my chances of getting a teaching position at this very school in 2 years when I finish my degree. So instead I thought carefully about my next words and I shared this with my son, “people are going to hurt you, they just are. This isn’t a ‘kid’ thing, this is a human thing. But you can not control other people, you can only control yourself. When responding to those that try to hurt you, respond in a way you can be proud of.”
Do we do that?
I know I haven’t always. I have responded with hurtful words, and being a words girl…these come easily for me. I have shunned, judged, gossiped and shamed those who have broken me down. I am not now, nor was I then proud of those moments. I like to think I am slower to those responses now, but I’m not. Not instinctively at least. The practice I put in play now when I feel hurt is prayer. I ask God to help me with my anger to allow me to understand their perspective. It’s not fool proof, do to my own lack of self control, but when I truly allow the Spirit to speak to me, grace always comes back. I am quick to listen and slow to anger. This I am proud of. This makes me feel good.
What response to hurt makes you feel good?
So as I wrap up these thoughts, I leave you with this….have hurtful words ever healed your heart? Has ignoring the external conflict swirling around you ever made the internal conflict go away? Has walking away from someone you loved ever made you feel free?
Lets all make a heart move to try. Try to speak with love, even when hurt. Try to confront those who hurt you with grace and not condemnation. Try to mend broken relationships instead of abandoning them. This is obviously a broad brush stroke over healthy relationships, not those that put you or others lives around you in danger.
I pray these words make it to who they were intended for because honestly, I had no clue they were coming! When I sat down to write this morning, this wasn’t the inspiration in my thoughts, but once my fingers hit the keys…this poured out. This is when I know that these words were needed. You are loved. You are forgiven. You are His.
What do you need to be released from today?
If you feel led, comment below….