What Not to Say...

I am a huge fan of the TLC show "What Not To Wear." If ever there's a marathon on, you will find me glued to the set. Truth be told, I wouldn't be at all offended if Clinton and Stacy were to show up on my doorstep and make me over, so feel free to turn me in... I love the way they show fashion challenged people, like myself, how to find their style.

I would like to do a similar show for some of my friends and family called, "What Not To Say". As I mentioned in a previous blog, I have a huge red growth on my face. It came out of nowhere and hasn't shown any signs of going back for the past... nearly 8 weeks now. I also mentioned how self-conscious it was making me and how folk had taken to talking to it instead of to me...

Well, all the hoopla had died down when a co-worker of mine came by my cube to chat last week. In passing she asked me what that was on the side of my face. I told her I didn't know, but was going to see the Dr. in a couple weeks to get it checked out. Why did she proceed to tell me about an aunt of hers who had the "same thing" that eventually turned into a black mole mine doesn't show any signs of changing into a mole...) She said her aunt went to have it removed and they biopsied it and it was cancer. I was speechless... I must have had a look on my face too, because she followed right away with "Not that I'm saying that's the case with yours!" Too late! Now I'm thinking I could have cancer! (ok, not really but sheesh!) Why would you say that to someone?!

A few days later I'm standing in the kitchen or the hallway or somewhere and my mother walks past me. Without warning (because I guess as a mother you aren't required to give warning for things no matter how old your children get...) she grabs my face and turns it toward her so she can see the bump up close. She let me go and said... "I'm really concerned about that thing on your face..." I start to smile with the knowledge that my mom cares so much about me, but before I could thank her she adds, "And it looks terrible! It seems like it's just getting bigger and bigger." Again I was speechless. I went from being all warm and fuzzy to being disgusted in an instant!Why would you say that to someone?!

A few days earlier I mentioned to a co worker that I was trying to stop drinking soda. To which I would have said something like... "good for you!" or "that's great!" Instead I got, "Okay, but when I see you with a Twinkie I'll be upset." Yeah, that was a mood killer for sure... Why would you say that to someone?! Not to mention that I DO NOT eat Twinkies - haven't in years...

I know I've missed the mark many times myself. I remember a day when comments like those flowed from my lips on a regular basis. Somewhere along the line though, the Word of God got hold of me and forced me to look at what was coming out of my mouth and why. Ephesians 4:29 hit home for me. It says, " Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen." (NIV)

This scripture hit me right between the eyes and let me know that the words I say are not about me, they are about others - to build up, encourage, and meet a need in someone else, and not necessarily the person I'm speaking to, but someone else who may be listening. I don't know about anyone else, but for me that changed everything. If nothing else it made me pay a lot more attention to what I say. Like the show I mentioned before, my words are supposed to take life challenged people and give then a renewed sense of hope.

Have an uplifting day!