Isn’t it obvious that God-talk without God-acts is outrageous nonsense? James 2:17 (MSG)
Outrageous Nonsense – Affirmation and Action Series – Part 3
Affirmations are not wishes, positive mumbo jumbo, or reality-denying sentences that ignore truth and keep us in a state of apathy. For me, they are a way of affirming the deeper truth of my life and keeping my actions affirmed to that truth.
You can’t just say, “I am healthy” and expect to get healthy.
You can’t just say, “I have an abundance of friends” and expect to have new ones show up at your door.
You can’t just say, “I am not afraid,” and expect fear to never visit you again.
You have to walk the talk.
Affirmation and action work hand in hand.
“Dear friends, do you think you’ll get anywhere in this if you learn all the right words but never do anything? Does merely talking about faith indicate that a person really has it? For instance, you come upon an old friend dressed in rags and half-starved and say, “Good morning, friend! Be clothed in Christ! Be filled with the Holy Spirit!” and walk off without providing so much as a coat or a cup of soup—where does that get you? Isn’t it obvious that God-talk without God-acts is outrageous nonsense?” (James 2:14-17).
I have a tendency towards stress and anxiety. It’s a pattern I learned, a loop I’ve been trapped in, after a difficult season in my life a few years ago. While the difficult season is over, the pattern – the default to revert to stress and anxiety – is still in play. I have to break the loop. Practices and words of affirmation play a huge part in that.
If you say all the right words and never do anything, your words will just remain hot air. “God-talk without God-acts is outrageous nonsense.” And so is talk of change and newness and hope and help without acts ushering those things in, too. When you back your words up with actions, you change your life from the ground up. And when you encourage your actions with truth and kindness and love, it’s like new strength and resolve gathers under them.
I’ve been on a wellness journey for some time now. In the beginning, I was in denial. I kept ignoring my body's cries for help and change, and I (ashamedly) hoped I would wake up one morning to find everything renewed and restored. I prayed, I declared, I believed. God is my healer, right? So I kept on living in my loop/pattern of stress and little sleep and more, thinking (more subconscious) that my faith would make me well.
I’m not discounting miracles at all. Not one bit. But sometimes I think the greater miracle is transformation. Slow, deliberate, day by day; the hard-work-kind of change. Sometimes the miracle is being able to face exactly where you’re at and say: This is where I am, no running, no hiding. There’s gold for me here, and I intend to find it, no matter what.
Affirmations give my resolve and actions language, vocabulary: breath and oxygen and sound. They help break bad behavioral patterns and loops and set new ones too. As I talk about being healthy, happy, joyful, helpful; as I face mistakes I make at work, challenges with my kids, different seasons with my friends; affirmations help keep my actions in line, like a railway for a train.
Sometimes they're weird statements that sound like they’ve come straight out of a self-help book. Other times, they sound more like a desperate prayer in the middle of the night, or a confession to a friend, a whisper to the one I love. Sometimes my voice is strong and sure as I speak them out, and sometimes it shakes with uncertainty and weakness. But always, they sound like hope.
Written by Lizzy Milani