Last year, when the Girls of Grace tour asked me to be a speaker, they asked if I would be able to talk about the power of words.
I’m not sure science has proven this true, but I think I have said more words in my thirty-three years than any other person ever. (Right, like I said, no proof. I’m just guessing.) And Proverbs 10:19 likes to remind me often that people who talk a lot seem to sin a lot too.
So I knew I could handle getting up in front of a few thousand teenagers across the country and pleading with them to do it better than I have, to use their words well, not waste them or destroy with them, but to build with them.
Y’all. It was a dream come true.
But after two events, in the fall of 2012, I began to feel a little stir on my insides: God wanted more on this topic. We were on a mission, me and God, and I knew it. A mission to teach young women how to use their words.
So I wrote a 30-day devotional and gave it away at Girls of Grace events.
You know what I thought? I thought that was God’s big dream. I thought that was the end of the story.
A few weeks later at our event in Grand Rapids, one of my Zondervan team members who was instrumental in getting Perfectly Unique on book shelves stopped me after my talk on words.
“That’s your next book, Annie.”
What. Huh. First of all, I GET a next book? The opportunity blew my mind. And secondly, WORDS? Wait. I thought God’s story was done with the devotional. Apparently not.
A year later? Speak Love.
And it feels bigger than a book or a devotional or a talk on a stage.
It’s time to change our culture and the way women use words.
I know. It seems big to say, “LET’S CHANGE OUR ENTIRE CULTURE!” but if I’ve learned anything in the last year, it’s that God’s dreams don’t stop growing and it is way more fun to jump on board than to think the story is done.
And when it comes to talking about how we use our words? We can’t do it enough.
You probably grew up knowing a mean girl. I did too, and you probably have been hurt by words. I have too. But you know what else? I bet you have hurt people with your words.
I have too.
But I’m ready to lead the charge to see that change. Will you join with me? Will you use your words to speak life, not death (Proverbs 12:18)?
What does that look like? It looks like holding your tongue when you want to unleash venom. It means sharing stories of hope and words of encouragement. It means writing and singing and calling and answering.
Speak Love released this week and it is with a bowed and humbled heart that I begin this next chapter of whatever God is writing. I would say that this book coming out is the end of the story, but I’ve learned better that to assume that again.
How have words affected you?
by Annie Downs