Kolly at nine months is fascinated by her tongue. Babies typically learn about their world by putting things in their mouths, and vocalizing to imitate sounds that others make in their presence is how they learn to talk.
Kolly sticks out her tongue at anyone who sticks theirs out in front of her. She clicks her tongue to make the sound others make and babbles when she’s excited.
She has a remarkable raspberry; she can spit with the best of them.
She’s not crazy about solid food. She’ll use her tongue to push it out and let it dribble down her chin.
Growing up, we all learn the value of our tongues. When we learn to talk, we say the words those say constantly around us, repeating like mina birds the sounds that tickle our ears. We say words before we ever know what they mean, which is why I’ve come up with a few sayings that are nonsensical enough to cause laughter and not problems.
Holy monkeys. Stop acting like a lemon wedge.
What we often forget is that, even though our tongues are small, they’re incredibly powerful. The words we say can be used for hope or weaponized for hurt. I can say things to encourage and uplift others or use words to level people if I’ve felt they’ve hurt, disappointed, or rejected me. The small size of the tongue has the power to impact others like a tiny rudder can turn a large ship. Our words have a huge influence.
I used to be proud of my sarcasm and quick wit–until I realized the word “sarcasm” comes from two Greek words meaning flesh-tearing. It’s what I’m capable of when I’m hurt.
I’m not proud of it.
King Solomon once said,
“Words kill, words give life; they’re either poison or fruit–you choose.” Proverbs 18:21
The things I say will always reflect the reality of my heart because I speak the things that fill my heart.
I long to be that person who can inspire and motivate others with good words.
“Kind words are like honey; sweet to the soul and healthy for the body.” Proverbs 16:24
I can learn how to speak well–with heart. It’s what I choose to fill my heart with that will make the difference.
Choosing Jesus gives me the power to speak with hope. And heart. Not empty, hurtful words.
Like Kolly, I have the capacity to learn.
If I’m willing to listen to truth. And hope.