I do not descend from people who were well-off or well-educated. When we talk about the old South, my grandparents were among those picking cotton. My lineage has a legacy of hard work, diligence, and long suffering for a humble goal. While I am not afraid of hard work and long hours, and while I place high value on the nights I fall into bed exhausted, mentally and physically, from a day split between doctoring, mothering, and farming, I am well aware of the differences in my life and those who have gone before me and made possible this way for me.
People often comment to me, “I don’t know how you do it all.” And the answer is simple: I don’t. I don’t do “all the things” by myself. My husband & my family (3:16 family, farm family, biological family, and chosen family) make it happen. But I understand the more profound sentiment, and in recent months, I have spent quite a bit of time reflecting on “Why me?”. I have asked this question for both the negatives and the positives over the past year, the seen and unseen struggles. Through the filtered lens of social media, I have been gifted this perfectly blissful life that most would die to have. And yet, in reality, we have our fair share of struggles that seem, at times, too heavy to bear.
But still, my life is so good. My family is healthy, my business is thriving, and I am surrounded by family and friends who love and support me and are only a phone call away. And so, from my introspection, there are a few solid truths that I feel have made all the difference in my life that enable me to “do it all”:
- God’s favor is upon me. (Pro Tip: it is upon you too! A good example is Psalm 84:11, but just Google “God’s favor on me in the Bible.” Believe it; live it!)
- Those hard-working people before me? They prayed for me. They still pray for me. (Who are you praying for?)
- My parents and grandparents spoke positivity over me my whole life.
I CANNOT overstate the importance of that last item. My Daddy told me from the time I was a little bitty girl that I was intelligent and beautiful. I could be anything I wanted to be when I grew up, and I believed him. Because that is what children, in their innocence, do: believe their parents. And he wasn’t the only one! My sweet Mama and Pop never asked me IF I was going to college but asked me where and when I went to college. Nobody ever told me I couldn’t do something I dreamed of doing, so the only limits I knew were the ones I put on myself or allowed the world to put on me. (My husband now reports that I wasn’t told “no” enough as a child, but I am pretty sure he isn’t correct!)
Brooke Hampton wrote, “Speak to your children as if they are the wisest, kindest, most beautiful and magical humans on earth, for what they believe is what they will become.”
Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.“ -Matthew 19:14
We often underestimate the power of our words, not just as parents but as friends, co-workers, strangers, and perhaps most importantly, as spouses or partners. It’s easy to come home and “kick the dog” or take it out inadvertently on those closest to us. When life is stressful, and our emotional tanks are empty, our significant others or children often get the short end of the stick. Careless words spoken in haste, frustrations from things left unsaid elsewhere, or the injustices of everyday life spew like an evil cannon of glitter confetti all over our homes. (yep… type A… hate glitter!)
Chris Morris, the chairman of the Board of Directors for the C.S. Lewis Institute, wrote, “Just as children trust in their parents to provide a source of wisdom greater than their own, so we must come to rely on and value the input, perspective, and contributions of others as much as our own. Children don’t think they have all the answers or are afraid to show vulnerability. The best way to remain humble is to have a servant mindset. Let every day, therefore, be a day of humility, condescend to all weaknesses and infirmities of your fellow creatures, cover their frailties, love their excellencies, encourage their virtues, relive their wants, rejoice in their prosperities, compassionate their distress, receive their friendship, overlook their unkindness, forgive their malice, be a servant of servants, and condescend to do the lowest offices to the lowest of humanity. Can you imagine working with someone who has that mindset?!”
Children are trusting yet full of questions. They are vulnerable and impressionable. But there are likely adults in your sphere of influence who are just like Jesus desires our hearts to be: childlike.
Are you speaking words of positivity and life over those you love? And even over those you don’t really even like? Are you setting the stage for unimaginable success and dreams becoming reality in your home/work/church/social circle by instilling confidence and hopeful expectations? Or are you a cotton-headed ninny muggins sitting on a throne of lies?!
Are you a hope giver? Life-giving fountain? Dream sustainer? Or are you the Stomper Bully of your world? It’s a feedback loop….so you get to decide! (There is science to back this up! Ask me for the date! Happy to share it!)
So, I will leave you with this challenge: for the next 30 days, only speak positively to those around you. Keep criticisms to yourself. Even when you are spent, and they are on your last nerve, dancing on it, find something positive to say instead of negative. And watch your life and those in your most intimate circle transform before your eyes! Your tongue is the strongest muscle in your body; use it wisely!
In His Love,
Dr. Allison Key