A few blogs ago, I talked about being bravely bold. Loving bold coffee, incorporating the be-attitudes, and living bravely bold. At that time, I mentioned we would return to complete the thought. What does it look like to be bold? We can be bold in our motives, our beliefs, and our passions.
The acrostic B-O-L-D helps us associate Scripture and boldness. We connect to a life of excellence when we determine to demonstrate boldness. We are bravely bold when we exercise integrity and trust, the qualities that build and exhibit our character.
B – Be-Attitudes. In the first of this mini-series from May, we talked about the Be-Attitudes (purposefully misspelled). The Beatitudes are found in Matthew 5, and the blog discusses how we can exemplify each by being bravely bold.
O – Open my mouth that I may speak with wisdom and kindness (Proverb 31:26).
L – Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, and mind (Deuteronomy 6:5).
D – Delight yourself in the Lord (Psalm 37:4).
This week, we move on to the letter “O.”
Words. Out of our mouths declare blessing or cursing. We have all had experiences in which we have spoken these words. We have also had experiences in which we have had these words spoken to us. We know the benefits and the consequences. The encouragement and the discouragement. The joy and the hurt. Our words affect everyone: our families, our children, our work colleagues, our friends–even ourselves. Everyone.
Words we speak can come from what is in our heart, whether consciously or subconsciously. Words we speak are actually powerful, as they verbally reiterate what we think. An example: If you speak negative messages to yourself, those messages can become beliefs over time; and your attitude and beliefs about yourself will reflect those messages. However, if you speak positive declarations over yourself, the same applies. Once you begin to focus on the positive, your attitude and your mind will change. It is redirecting your focus and training your mind to think differently. Not just thinking them—speaking them. Out loud.
It is obvious that the topic of speech is huge. We could talk about complaining, thanksgiving, or speaking with grace. We are aware that the ways in which we communicate are important in life. This is evident through the plethora of communications training available. From preschool through our career, we are encouraged to improve our skills.
The verse selected for the letter “O” is a personal prayer to speak with wisdom and kindness. As briefly highlighted, our speech can be challenging. We have to know when to speak and when not to speak–the wisdom piece. We have to know how to speak–the kindness piece.
The questions: How can we speak with wisdom? How can we speak with kindness? How can we be bravely bold with our words?
What immediately pops into your mind when you think of wisdom? I think of old men with a bit of gray hair, who look like Statler and Waldorf of the Muppets, teaching the youngsters about the olden days. Silly, I know. Wisdom is what those who have experienced life can teach those who have not yet. It is a form of mentoring. It is not with a know-it-all attitude but someone who has been there giving advice to one who may be on their way. It can be the older teaching the younger, and it can be the younger teaching the older. It is a wise person (whatever the age) who listens and learns. So, how do we speak with wisdom? We can share what we have learned with others, and we can listen to what is shared by others and learn from their words of wisdom. Because we do not know it all, we all have something to learn from each other, no matter the age.
Kindness? Yes, I will confirm my weirdness again by admitting that an ultimate example of kindness is none other than Mary Poppins, “practically perfect in every way.” She had a way about speaking truth in love. She was firm yet kind. It is unnecessary to speak foul language or condemn others. We are to edify one another and not tear down. If something is to be communicated in order to help another person, it can be communicated with firmness and kindness. The tone and the words are important and can be crafted carefully.
What does speech have to do with being bravely bold and connecting to excellence? We are being bravely bold by speaking words of life to others and to ourselves. We connect these practices to every part of our lives. The words we speak, the words spoken to us, and the words upon which we meditate.
“You made me bold with strength in my soul.” (Psalm 138:3, NASB)
Our connections challenge for this week: Pay attention to the conversations around you. Are they a type of mentoring relationship (e.g., parent to child, adult child to parent, friendships, employer and employee)? How are the conversations transmitted and received? Are they communicating with wisdom or with kindness? As you watch these interactions, what would you change? How could the interactions be better? Now–pay attention to your conversations, your interactions. How are you communicating? Are you communicating with wisdom or with kindness? How can you make the interaction better? What did you learn about the exercises? Be brave! Be bold! Be excellent!