A Mighty Muscle: The Astonishing Power of the Tongue- An Excerpt from “Fit for Faith”

Happy Thanksgiving Eve…Eve! I hope everyone is having a splendid week in anticipation of one of my personal favorite holidays!

My last six days have been a whirlwind, but not the disastrous kind, I’m happy to report. Rather, this life-changing vortex of amiable origins carries within its friendly funnel the invigorating breezes of opportunity, excitement, and unforeseeable adventures all perfectly directed by the One who casts the four winds out from Heaven. 

In a nutshell, I just turned a quarter-of-a-century last week, then attended a Level 1 Certification course to hopefully become a CrossFit coach (I’ll let you know if I passed; the entire weekend was a whirlwind, and NOT the innocuous kind, lol!). Directly following my test, my fiance Ben and I hit the road for a six-hour drive back to my hometown where we began “the Move” the following day. We unload tomorrow and begin settling into our humble abode where we will henceforth dwell as husband and wife beginning in just two short weeks! (And don’t worry, sisters, we won’t be cohabitating before the nuptials. [Sorry, devil, we’re not that dumb…]) 😉 

All that to say, I have been M.I.A. in the blogosphere, but in the midst of the move and my upcoming marriage, I felt led to share this excerpt from my book. Please feel free to share your feedback with me here or @dianafit4faith or on my my facebook page

I wish you all a blessed Turkey Day!

Stay fit, stay faithful, don’t worry about the calories consumed on Thursday; just get right back on track on Friday! (Just Say “No” to left-overs! 🙂 )  

 “The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.” -Jesus (John 3:8)

Totally unrelated to this post, but this is a rather humorous pic of me getting a "PR" (personal record) on a max deadlift today in CrossFit. I guess I could tie this into the post's topic and honestly say that the power of encouraging words absolutely helped me reach this goal!

A New Definition of “Bad” Words

Today, when we hear the word, “cursing,” or here in Texas, “cussin’,” we generally assume it’s describing the four-letter words we hear in PG-13 movies and even prime time TV. I used to conjure up the fanciful, Hollywood renderings of witches, gypsies, and sorcerers when I heard someone say a curse was brought upon a person or place. With a bit of study into the Word of God, it becomes evident that curses are more than “bad” words and Harry Potter.

In the Bible, cursing doesn’t pertain to foul language alone, but to the deplorable act of pronouncing a curse upon someone or something. Jesus illustrated this when He and His hungry disciples approached a fig tree on their way to Jerusalem. Seeing the tree had no fruit to offer them, Jesus cursed it saying, “May you never bear fruit again!” (Matt. 21:19). Immediately, the tree withered from the roots up, causing the disciples to ooh and ahh as you can imagine, yet this was no surprise to Jesus because he understood the power of words. After His disciples commented, Jesus replied:

“I tell you the truth, if you have faith and do not doubt, not only can you do what was done to the fig tree, but also you can say to this mountain, ‘Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and it will be done. If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer.” –Matthew 21:21-22

This is an awesome testament to the power of words, and it came straight from the mouth of our Savior! I hope and pray we can all respect the power we hold in our tongues and use it only to bless. It grieves me to hear people casually toss out the ubiquitous four-letter word, “damn,” like it’s a baseball being pitched in little league. This is the root word for “damnation” that describes the horrible state of eternal separation from God! In case you need to be reminded, this is the worst possible condition a human being can ever face. God tells us that if we love cursing, it will come to us, whatever it is that we speak (Psalm 109:17). Why would anyone want to damn themselves or anyone else?

Psalm 45 gives a wonderful, prophetic picture of the Messiah, and tells us, “Grace is poured upon [His] lips” (Ps. 45:2). His lips, full of grace, are the first things described in this beautiful revelation! If we are to be conformed to the likeness of Christ, shouldn’t we strive to have lips like His? (Romans 8:29). Maybe one day in Heaven, we’ll all wear Grace-flavored ChapStick. I bet its scent would be, well, heavenly!

Mirror, Mirror

As American women, not a day passes in which we aren’t subjected to a deluge of glitzy movie posters, airbrushed billboards, commercials, and TV shows filled with women Hollywood has labeled, “beautiful,” and most of us would have to agree. With their perfectly styled hair, flawless make-up, spray-on tans, and thin figures, it’s no wonder they’re paid big bucks to be entertainment starlets. While most of us (I hope!) don’t envy many of their self-seeking, decadent lifestyles, it’s hard not to desire to at least look like them. It’s certainly not harmful to look up to fit, healthy women; I could name a few actresses whom I admire for their disciplined work ethic and clean eating regimens. The danger, however, lies in the propensity to compare ourselves not only to those in the glossy pages of Us Weekly, but to anyone whose bodies we enviously admire.

Fit Fact: A recent study found that 95% of women overestimate the size of their hips by 16% and their waists by 25%, yet the same women were able to correctly estimate the width of a box.

Before my struggle with an eating disorder, just as I was starting to work out, I began to constantly take notice of celebrities and read up on how they attained their sleek physiques. I can recall times I’d stand in front of my bathroom mirror and take inventory of what body parts needed the most attention and which ones were doing “okay.” I had taken mental photographs of those women I wanted to look like, and until the reflection in my mirror matched those photos, I wouldn’t be satisfied.

I’m never going to look like her…My stomach is never going to be that toned…I’d have to eat like a bird to look that lean. All those statements, plus many others, sprung from my lips like weeds on a river bank. Little did I know that I was pronouncing a curse upon myself and that those toxic words were planting the roots of anorexia that would plague my life in months to come.

I hear many women complain about their appearances. From “flabby triceps” to “thunder thighs,” no one seems to have anything good to say about themselves. The good news is, God has plenty of good things to say! (Jeremiah 29:11).  I believe that if we could replace our complaints and curses with praise and thanksgiving, we wouldn’t have the physical hang-ups many of us wrestle with. If you find that the last few pounds you need to lose are just “too stubborn to leave” or that your knees just “can’t ever seem to feel right” while you work out,  think back on how you’ve been talking – you may have inadvertently placed a curse upon your progress with your own tongue.

So what’s the remedy? Praise! Begin praising the Lord for redeeming you, for giving you a second birth by virtue of His Son, for blessing you with gifts, friends, family, and for everything He’s done, is doing, and will do in your life. These life-giving words agree with the Word of God and will replace the spirit of dissatisfaction, anxiety, and insecurity with assurance, peace, and confidence. Hebrews 13:15 says, “Through Him then let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that acknowledge his name.” The key word in that verse is, “continually.” No matter the circumstance, no matter your feeling at the moment, praise God with your lips and taste the delicious fruit it brings!