Saturday, September 14, 2019

Are You Speaking Strong Words or Weak Words to Yourself?

by Beth K. Vogt @BethVogt

My youngest daughter started college a few weeks ago and she’s excited to be playing volleyball at the collegiate level. We were talking about her being on the team, and she shared how the coaches are encouraging them to think strong words about themselves, not weak words

Her coaches are challenging each athlete to pay attention to what they think because their mental strength affects their how perform on the court, both during practices and games.

We are writers. We know the power of words. We deal in words every day.

Used rightly, our words can be woven into poetry or a thought-provoking article or a story that spans the ages and captures our imaginations. 

Knowing this, it still surprises me how we can be both careless or reckless with our words, especially when it comes to our own internal dialogue.

We too often say the worst things to ourselves. We think the worst is going to happen … or that other people think the worst about us.

We litter our thoughts with pessimism rather than populating them with the power of optimism.

How do we expect to thrive – much less expect our dreams and careers to thrive – when we suffocate them in weak words? Internal negative self-talk can sound like:
  • I’m never going to finish this manuscript. Why am I even trying?
  • He won an award again and I didn’t even final. This proves – yet again – I’m not a successful writer.
  • I’m so behind this week I’m never going to catch up. 
  • Another rejection from an agent.  It’s just not gonna’ happen.
  • Every. Single. Word. I. Wrote. Today. Stinks.

We’ve all said things like this to ourselves, either in our heads or out loud. These are weak words—the kind of words that undermine our strength, our ability to be the writers God intends us to be.

My daughter also shared that her coaches want each athlete to choose specific strong words for themselves. The coaches plan to write them down and then speak the words aloud to the players when they’re struggling on the court. She’s taking her favorite Scripture verse and turning it into her strong words. Now that’s using Truth as your strength.

For me, strong words might be something like, “God will bless the works of my hands (Psalm 90:17) and help me reflect Him to the world through my writing (2 Corinthians 3:18). I could even sum that thought up to Bless and Reflect.

What would your strong words be?


Award-winning author Beth K. Vogt believes God’s best often waits behind the doors marked “Never.” Having authored nine contemporary romance novels and novellas, Beth's first women's fiction novel with Tyndale House Publishers, Things I Never Told You, released May 2018. Moments We Forget, book two in the Thatcher Sisters Series, releases May 2019. An established magazine writer and former editor of the leadership magazine for MOPS International, Beth blogs for Novel Rocket and The Write Conversation and also enjoys speaking to writers group and mentoring other writers. Visit Beth at


  1. Good morning Edie and Beth, thank you very much for sharing your daughters volley ball coach approach. I thank Jesus for this coach. And Beth, you make excellent points about how we as writers weave words all day but sometimes use weak ones to our selves. Wow! My strong words for my book are Keep going. Scripture not chosen yet. Have a blessed day. In Christ, Julie

    1. Good morning, Julie. I'm so thankful for the coaches God has placed in my daughter's life, both now and in the past. And the words "Keep going" are strong words because we only succeed if we don't quit. Perseverance leads to success. Living our dream means doing the work.

  2. Hope and encourage. (Myself and others) 🙂

    1. Hi, Jennifer, Those are two wonderfully strong words. Do you have the spiritual gift of encouragement? :)

  3. Thank you for this timely post. I needed it. Now, to share with others! 😄

  4. Always enjoy your posts Ms. Beth. This is no different. First, I think your daughter found the right school, and the right coaches. It seems they are reiterating the lessons you've been pouring into her life ma'am. Second, the words we speak to ourselves matter. I find when my words start to become sparse, it's a signal for me to return to God's well for a refill. A case of too little word and too much world I think. God's blessings ma'am.

    1. Good morning, J.D. I always look forward to you joining the conversation. I love how you said, "A case of too little word and to much world ..." So well said.

  5. Great reminder. It is so sneaky how we defeat ourselves by our thoughts, that we would be shock to hear others use. I admire the coach and this is a great lessons for young girls or boys or older adults.

    1. Hi, Tim: You're so right. We're often unaware of how we talk to ourselves, how we defeat ourselves with our internal thoughts.