If you grew up in church like I did, you’ve probably heard the phrase “Speak life” more than once. It’s usually used in situations where circumstances may seem dim or even devastating, and the intent is to encourage the downtrodden person to say positive things that exactly contradict their circumstances. For instance, if a person is struggling financially, a pastor might say “Speak life to your finances, you’re not broke, you’re rich. Stop saying you’re broke.”
While I understand the intent and the heart of this advice, I would be lying if I said I didn’t have some real doubts about this in my own life, and in the lives of those who were giving this advice. I started to notice major inconsistencies between what these people were saying, and where their lives actually were. These people had been declaring wealth for decades, but were still financially strapped. I mean was Yahweh not holding up His end of the bargain, or was the practice of speaking life not working?
I began to wonder if that’s what faith was: delusion, avoidance, and denial. I began to ask Yahweh some big questions, like how do we really speak life to things that seem dead? How do we use our language and our lives to show forth the faith we’re growing inside of us? How do we live our lives from a spiritual vantage point, but remain grounded enough to actually encourage and influence the people around us?
I want to preface everything I’m about to say with this: Yahweh is not intimidated or offended by your desire to truly comprehend with the intention of embodying His principles. It’s all about your heart’s posture. I didn’t come to Yahweh bursting with arrogance, demanding answers, and questioning His wisdom. I just truly believe that Yahweh doesn’t want blind followers. I believe He wants me to be deeply persuaded of and truly invested in His love and this relationship. That means I’ll have questions, and I believe that because He’s a good Father, He will answer me when the absence of clarity is truly stopping me from seeing Him correctly.
That being said, I asked Yahweh how to be a more positive thinker and speaker without having to completely ignore what was happening in my life. I knew I had a huge problem with speaking negatively about a lot of things, and I was feeling the effects of it in every aspect of my life. So when I brought this to Him, I really wanted to know how to fix it correctly. Yahweh has always strengthened and stretched me in the light. Meaning, He always makes me face the reality of my situation and circumstances before He begins the healing process. He doesn’t do work in the dark, and that means He won’t let me get by with refusing to acknowledge exactly where I stand. When I thought about the traditional ‘speak life’ exercise, I realized that’s what was missing: honesty.
I believe that our faith grows when we, first, face the truth. I believe when we shine the light on the dark things, when we open our eyes and choose to see how bad things have gotten, when we stop living in denial and begin to embrace the depth of the dysfunction, then transformation can begin. Now, you may be thinking that this is a recipe for disaster and depression, and you would be right if we didn’t do this next thing immediately after we opened our eyes.
After you stand up and honestly survey your mess, when the fear and anxiety and hopelessness and sadness is crawling over your flesh and invading your thoughts, you consciously, completely, and fully invite Yahweh into the situation.
Practical acknowledgement may sound like this, “I’m a horrible parent and I don’t know how to fix it. I’m addicted to this thing and I don’t know how to stop myself anymore. I’m stuck in this relationship that hurts me but I’m too afraid of being alone to leave. I’m drowning in depression and I don’t know if I don’t think it will get any better. I have absolutely no money to my name and I have no idea how my kids are gonna get fed.”
These are truths. There are brutal, hard, unflinching truths. This is where people, both believers and non-believers, are right now. Doing life with Yahshua does not give us a pass on pain, we are alive and therefore we will experience the brutality of Life. Speaking life doesn’t mean speaking from a place of denial – speaking life means speaking from a place where you know full well how messed up your life is, and choosing to declare from a place of knowing and faith that Yahweh is still able and willing to turn that thing around.
Speaking life means taking in the size of the giant and then saying “Yahweh is bigger than you.” Speaking life is feeling your broken heart and declaring “But Yahweh is capable of healing even this.” Speaking life is having absolutely no money in your bank account, but being bold enough to declare that “Yahweh is skilled at making ways out of no way.” These are faith-filled statements. These are declarations that align with Scripture and are living and weighty. These are words that carry purpose and have building potential within them.
So when we choose to shrink a situation that is eating us alive down to nothing, we are doing ourselves a disservice because we aren’t giving Yahweh a chance to truly redeem us. Yahweh has never asked us to minimize our own feelings. He has never asked us to walk in denial of how broken and pained we are. If it’s a big deal to you, He cares, and you don’t have to make it seem like a small deal with Him the way you have to with others so you won’t seem ridiculous or stupid. If it matters to you, it matters to Him. If it’s stopping your progression and hindering the way you see yourself, others, this world and Him, you better believe He cares.
But faith grows when you bring Him this huge thing, this mountain standing in the middle of your life, and you choose to believe that He is bigger than this mountain. You don’t minimize your struggle, you magnify Yahweh. You don’t bring the devastation down to eye level, you stretch your faith to its peak and stand toe to toe with it in its enormity. When the truth that Yahweh is always bigger begins to sink deep down into your bones and permeate your perspective, you say it out loud. You declare with your mouth that Yahweh is bigger, He is stronger, He is capable. You begin to lean into the truth that He is for you, and He is a mighty conqueror. You begin to speak from a place where you aren’t in denial about the reality of your pain, but in the midst of the pain you also understand that Yahweh is able to heal even your deepest hurt.
This changed my life, and I believe it will change yours. If you’re living in the dark about your situation and circumstances and calling it positivity, the first thing you need to do is get honest. Stop hiding behind ‘positive affirmations’ that you don’t believe. Stop speaking things in public that you don’t actually apply in private. Stop throwing out words into the world that are coming from a place of feigned perfection rather than gritty but authentic truth.
Yahweh desires that we be honest people, planted in our skin and bones, but possessing perspectives that allow us to see how big He is in spite of the enormity of our sometimes devastating circumstances.
Bring Him your real.
Bring Him your everything – all your light and your dark.
And watch Him craft beauty from your ashes.