The way you think determines the way you feel, and the way you feel determines the way you act. ~Rick WarrenOh be careful little eyes what you see...
Oh be careful little ears what you hear...
How long are words, images, impressions with us? According to a required study skills I had in college, everything we take in is in our "memory forest." We don't lose any memories, just the ability to access them. If that is true, then everything we see, hear, do is with us forever.
Makes that little nursery school song much more serious and important to heed, doesn't it?
My life has been affected by words, at times profoundly. Let's explore the truth of Rick Warren's quote with a few examples from my own experiences:
Example 1 -
What was said by a parent who grew up with much worse abuse hefted his way than he sent mine: "Why did you do that? Are you stupid?"
What I thought: I can't do anything right. I must be stupid.
How I felt: Incompetent and worthless.
How I acted: I always suspected that any negative words had underlying meaning-that I really wasn't loved. I still have problems taking words at face value without trying to see if the person is saying more about me than his/her words. I was always striving for approval, never convinced that I had any abilities, never believing that my successes measured up...even when I spent 2 years of college on the president's and dean's list and graduated with a 3.9 GPA.
Example 2 -
What was said by a mean fellow 5th grader: "Don't look at me with those bug eyes!"
How I felt: Ashamed, nervous about my appearance. If my eyes are ugly, all of me must be too.
How I acted: Embarrassed whenever anyone noticed my eyes, which are my most noticeable feature. Ungracious whenever I was complemented on them. I sought approval through the attentions of boys. At one point in my adult life, I even felt that others' opinions of me carried more weight than my husband's because he had to say nice things since we were married.
Example 3 -
What was said by a jaded college writing professor: "Your paper is childish, your points trite." (Gave me an F on my first assignment & I barely pulled a C out of the class.)
How I felt: Destroyed. The one area I had ever felt good about, that I had always had success in, was a big lie. My writing was bad, so I am worthless.
How I acted: I stopped writing for more than 15 years. I tried to fill my life with activities to make up for the hole left in my spirit by not writing. I burned myself out saying yes to every task asked of me at church, became obsessed with crafts, cooking gardening and self-sufficiency, and at one point, tried to convince my husband to give up his Air Force career to move to a remote farm and so I could hide away from the world.
Too often we allow ourselves to be drawn in to the spirit-breaking cycle of thoughtless words and deeds. Unfortunately, our minds more easily accept what people say to us than what God says to us. As a redeemed child of the King, I have the right to claim all His words of love to me.
Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us. For when we were still without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly.Even when I was an enemy of God, He loved me.
But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.~ Romans 5:5-6,8
For if when we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life.Despite my most stupid, ugly, and incompetent points, the Creator of the Universe knew me and loved me anyway.~ Romans 5:10
You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit, and that whatever you ask the Father in My name He may give you.God's words should supersede any words we hear from the world, should dominate any thoughts we have, should guide our feelings to the purpose He has for us, and be the deciding factor in the way we act.~ John 15:16
The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God.For the Father up above is looking down in love...~ Romans 8:16
Finally, [sisters], whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virture and if there is anything praiseworthy--think on these things.It is sad to realize that, had I just grasped these things as a young woman, much pain would have been spared me and more fruit for His kingdom would have been produced. I am so grateful that God's strong love pushed through the negatives and turned my life into a positive, happy one.
The things which you learned and received and heard and saw in me, these do, and the God of peace will be with you.~ Philippians 4:8-9
P.S. Yes, that is really the color of my eyes. Thank you for noticing. ;-> And my daddy thinks I am brilliant and talented....Also, I am writing again-nearly every day. And the only earthly opinion about my appearance & writing that truly matters to me is that of my wonderful, supportive husband.