with this breath //03

If I had only one breath left in my lungs... what would I use it to say?

Did you know that your words matter? Like, really, really matter? Proverbs 18:21 says that “Life and death are in the power of the tongue,” which means we who speak, have immense authority resting within us. Every single word we say does one of two things: advances the kingdom of life with light, joy and freedom, or advances the kingdom of the death with darkness, discouragement, and hopelessness. In our words, we hold the power of life and death.

Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark. – James 3:5

In the fall of 2007, as a college freshman at a large university, I was thrilled to quickly find a small, tight-knit group of friends. We spent all of our time together and bonded as we stumbled through the first few months of fresh independence and collegiate responsibility. It was exactly what I had dreamed of when I thought of college. To me, it was perfect. But about halfway through the semester, my closest friend (and the ringleader) in the group suddenly pulled away from me—and my other friends followed him. I went from surrounded to abandoned in a matter of days, and I didn’t understand. When I went to ask him if something was wrong, he simply replied, “I just don’t like your personality.”

My personality. The very core of who I was. As I absorbed the words of this beloved friend whose opinion I so respected, a subconscious recording began to play on repeat: I have an unattractive personality.

Throughout the rest of college, I limped through relationships, struggling to believe that I was worth befriending. Doubting whether those who were my friends actually liked me. I focused my attention on my love life, convinced that if I tried hard enough, some guy would see my love-worthiness and take up all the empty space in my connection starved heart so that I wouldn’t really need anyone else. I put too much pressure on those romantic relationships, and they crumbled. Eventually, I stopped believing I would have people in my life who wouldn’t leave, so I withdrew from potential friendships before I could get hurt.

After four years of this, God sent someone into my life who boldly began to speak friendship-worth over me with eight words: You’re a world changer, and I need you. She told me this constantly for almost a year, and the life-power in her words slowly began to change my atmosphere. I started to believe her.

So with confidence building because of the words the Holy Spirit spoke through this sweet friend, who happens to be a co-founder of F+B, I began to reach out to others, and I now have several beautiful women in my life with whom I have stronger friendships than I ever dreamed possible. They are covenant friends—the blood kind. They are my sisters…and they like my personality. One of these friends recently wrote to me and said, “You take up a significant portion of my heart.” The contrast in these two life seasons speaks for itself – and it all boils down to words.

My friends are intentional to speak life-giving words because they know the authority they carry, but I don’t know if they know how great their impact has been on me. I have gone from accepting a lie of a broken identity to having a redeemed view of myself based on the truth of the Word – the very breath and authority – of God. I am accepted. I am worthy. I am seen. I am known. I am embraced. I am entirely loved.

 @katielee_parker

@katielee_parker

Jesus said in Matthew 12 that we will ultimately be held accountable for every word we speak. Every word! And if that’s true, and it is (He’s Jesus), you better believe the next breath you take to speak holds a crucial amount of weight. The words of your next breath will advance one of two kingdoms. What if it’s your final breath? How will you use it?

If this is my last breath, with it let me say with every bit of authority in me that you are a stunning child of God with amazing, purposeful gifting woven into the very thread of your being. Gifting, perhaps, that you haven’t discovered yet. Gifting that will forcefully expand the borders of the kingdom of God. You do not yet know the extent of the power of God inside of you, but you will. You are powerful. You are important. You are deeply, wholly loved.

 And you’re a world changer, and we need you.

-Katie