Encouragement, Keeping the Faith

Pack These Words for the Journey

We were sitting around on the grass under the lovely Spring sun, her face splashing all over us while, within eyesight, the kids squawked and imagined other worlds and pushed little bums down slides.

Drinking up the bliss of adult company, we were a rabble of mothers comparing notes on parenting.

Conversations like these lurch erratically from behavioural woes and toilet-training mishaps to school uniform orders and an amicable if somewhat competitive exchange of sentences that begin with, “My darling did the cutest thing…”

This day, we were navigating the topic of sleep deprivation. Some of us have had a bad go thanks to certain munchkins who don’t understand the division of night and day – years after their entry. Others (myself included) have brains that fail to take the hint of lights out and body in horizontal position.

The tips to counter insomnia were predictable: count sheep, think of the colour blue, take some sleeping tablets or do some, er, strenuous exercise before shut-eye time.

But Kristy had a new one.

“I tell myself I’m tired, even if I’m not,” she said.

When sleep evades, Kristy shuts her eyes tight and says to herself over and over again, “I’m so tired,” “I’m exhausted,” and “I feel so sleepy,” until the brain believes it and zips her off to sleep.

It works a treat.

Of course, what we’re doing is a kind of meditation – a deliberate decision to focus on positive outcomes (like those much-needed zzz’s). Isn’t that something we could use across the spectrum?

The world lies to us.

Like a predator, she spikes people’s lives with poisonous untruths that blacken and distort horizons. You’re worthless. You’re ugly. No one loves you. You can’t trust anyone. You have nothing going for you.

Words are powerful. Spoken on us or in us, they can brand our very identity. But when the words are delivered with life and love, they nurture identity.

“From the fruit of his mouth a man’s stomach is filled; with the harvest from his lips he is satisfied. The tongue has the power of life and death and those who love it will eat its fruit,” Proverbs 18:20-21 says.

I went to Sunday School as a tot and I still recall verses learnt in that cold hall that echoed the bustle of little people singing Jesus songs and doing sheep crafts with cotton wool and glue.

I am so thankful for those classes. They burrowed words of life deep in my cerebral lobes that are delivered with sweet regularity when things cloud over. Words that pulse truth through my veins and give strength to push against the lies.

The Bible is pregnant with positive affirmations for the claiming. Words to pour out and roll around in. The kind of truths that birth happy results – like sleep!
Here’s a list of 10 I’ve chosen for you.

  1. You are loved (1 John 4:16)
  2. Your life has a purpose, written by God himself (Jer. 29:11)
  3. You are amazing – a priceless masterpiece! (Psalm 139:14)
  4. Fear has no hold on you (2 Timothy 1:7)
  5. Jesus never hurried, so you don’t need to either (Proverbs 21:5)
  6. Everything happens for a reason (Eccl. 3:17)
  7. There are always blessings to count and be grateful for (1 Thes. 5:18)
  8. With God beside you, nothing on earth can penetrate (Isaiah 54:17)
  9. You can’t always trust people but you can always trust God (Psalm 33:16-20)
  10. Forgiveness over yesterday brings healing for today (Proverbs 17:22)

First published in The Examiner Newspaper for Keeping the Faith column on Monday November 30, 2015.