Importance of Speaking Truth

Speaking Truth

As I was reflecting on my own calling into full-time service, I remembered that of my favorite prophet: Jeremiah. I identify with him more than anyone else in Scripture. His father was a priest, and at a young age, he was called out by God to “go to all to whom I send you, and whatever I command you, you shall speak.” He proclaimed God’s truth to the residents and rulers of Judah during some of her darkest days.

Rembrandt van Rijn, Jeremiah Lamenting the Destruction of Jerusalem, c. 1630
Rembrandt van Rijn, Jeremiah Lamenting the Destruction of Jerusalem, c. 1630 (Public Domain)

Often misunderstood and persecuted for his words, Jeremiah—periodically and understandably—questioned his calling. He wondered if God had truly set him apart for this purpose since people were not responding they way he thought, hoped, and expected they would.

His prophecy to King Jehoiakim was so entirely unwanted and rejected that “when Jehudi [an officer of the king] had read three or four columns [of Jeremiah’s prophecy]…the king cut it with the scribe’s knife and cast it into the fire that was on the hearth, until all the scroll was consumed in the fire that was on the hearth” (Jer. 36:23). I just have to pause here for a moment and take that in…Wow!

Every word burned up by his king. As devastating as that must have been, Jeremiah persisted with what the LORD had called him to do, even going so far as to have his scribe re-write the entire scroll.

Despite his personal doubts and questions, in the face of opposition from the very people he was trying to help, Jeremiah remained obedient to the LORD. He never quit—even though he wanted to from time to time— and God used him in a mighty way, equipping him for each and every task.

And despite things not working out how he hoped they would, Jeremiah had such an impact on his community that his words remain for us to this day.

Jeremiah’s life inspires me! And his words resonate with my soul:

But if I say, “I will not mention his word or speak anymore in his name,” his word is in my heart like a fire, a fire shut up in my bones. I am weary of holding it in; indeed, I cannot. (Jeremiah 20:9)

“Make Peace with the Negatives!”

This blog post will explain how I finally made peace with the negatives in my life, and how you can, too!

Recently, I’ve  had the amazing opportunity to get a “behind the scenes” look at a book launch. As part of the process, I was invited to join a summer book club in which we read and discuss the truths in Rachael Carman’s new book How Many Times Do I Have to Tell You? 

(Download a free sample chapter here:

The goal of the book is to help increase our sensitivity to and awareness of God’s voice in our lives. How? By listening to the words coming out of our own mouths towards our own children, and then reflecting on them to see if maybe God is speaking to us, too.

In the introduction to her book, Rachael issues a dare:

“List the top ten things you hear yourself say most often to your kids. Then ask your kids to list the top ten things they hear you say most frequently. The resulting lists will give you a starting place to explore the things God wants you to hear.”

Sounds easy enough, right? So, I took the dare. First, I made my list, and then I cajoled my son (age 13-1/2) make his. My list included statements like, “I love you,” “Time to get off the technology,” and “Don’t forget your nightly routine” (that one is VERY important with an adolescent, #justsayin). My son’s list included things like, “Good morning,” “Good night,” and “Take out the trash.” What can I say? He’s normal! And while I’m sure God will speak to me through these statements as time goes on, there was one statement on both of our lists which has RESONATED with my soul:

“Make peace with the negatives!”
Negatives...negatives everywhere!You might be wondering if I’ve lost my mind. “Why would you say such a thing to your child?” I have two words: Saxon Math. Algebra 2, to be exact. My son is a couple years ahead in math, and for the most part, he does really well in this, his favorite subject. He just has one nemesis: negatives—not the numbers, just the symbol in front of negative numbers. You know: the dash! This thing:  ” 
It’s nothing personal; he just tends to ignore them…and that tends to cause problems when correcting homework due to, well, wrong answers! We figured out the “negative nemesis” last year when, after culling through a few assignments, we recognized a pattern: each of the incorrect answers involved a negative symbol that was ignored. He says, “Mom, you’ve always told me to be positive!” Um, no. This is not my fault! Good try.
Make peace with the negatives!
Since discovering this negative-aversion issue, my son pays closer attention (most of the time) to those little buggers, and he solves the problems correctly. HOWEVER, in times of stress when he’s attempting to rush the process, my son will inevitably fall back into the habit of disregarding the negative symbols. Later, when we’re in the middle of correcting his homework, he realizes his oversight and frustratedly blurts, “I hate negatives!” And my mama-teacher response? “I know you do, but Son, you need to make peace with the negatives!” I flash him a peace sign, and we laugh (well, I laugh, anyway—trying to lighten the mood). He reworks the problem, this time “accepting” the negatives, and voila! The correct answer is found.
“Make peace with the negatives!”
You might be wondering how God could possibly use something like math homework to speak to my heart and teach me a very-necessary and RELEVANT (perfect timing, btw) truth. Well, He’s God. He knows what my struggles are, and it’s the negatives. Let me clarify: I don’t struggle with the negative symbol, I struggle with negative people. Not just any negative people, mind you. No. My struggle is with a small handful of women who, despite their love of God, hold a negative influence in my life. “Christian women? Negative influences? Say it isn’t so!” I wish I could! But, I can’t. In my life, there is a small group of women—none of them know each other—who drain me. Their comments to my face and behind my back don’t add to me, they take away. They take away my confidence. They take away my sense of calling. They take away my enthusiasm. They take away my sense of purpose. I’d be lying if I said their comments didn’t affect me negatively. The truth is, when I’m around them whether physically or digitally, I am minimized, marginalized, and made to feel “not good enough.” Sadly, when this happens, I walk away doubting myself, doubting my calling, and wondering if God will ever be able to use someone like me for His glory. I feel smaller than I did before the encounter, and therefore, I do believe that I have a problem with negatives


And now, for the life lesson I believe God is teaching me through this experience of listening for HIS voice: I need to make peace with the negatives. As I explained to my son, “The negatives are not going anywhere. You’re going to keep having them in every math lesson, so you just need to make peace with them. They don’t hate you! They’re just there.” Wow. When I remembered that conversation, I had to take pause. To listen. And this is what I heard: 

The negatives are not going anywhere. They’re going to be around the rest of your life. They don’t hate you, but they will drag you down if you allow them to. Why not make peace with the negatives? By “make peace,” I mean you should rest in the knowledge that negative people are a part of life. You will never please everyone, nor should you try. Expect that certain Christian women will have vocal opinions—some positive, some negative—about what you do, how you do it, and even what you’re wearing while you’re doing it. Expect that some women (and men) will be threatened by you (your calling, your self-confidence, your abilities), and they are reacting out of their own insecurities. Make peace with these negatives, and then fix your eyes towards me, the Giver and Perfecter of your faith. 

As Paul wrote in his second letter to the church in Corinth:

“Therefore, in order to keep me from becoming conceited, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.  That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”  2 Corinthians 12:7b-10

So, yeah, I guess I need to “make peace with the negatives!” I get it. I really do. And, it’s exciting! God’s still working on me. He’s shown me a bigger picture: God has shown me that focusing on the negatives actually robs me of the joy of the MANY positives He’s sent me: supportive family members, authentic friends, a loving church, and fantastic cyber-peeps (not to mention His continual presence in my life). He’s shown me that the “negatives” are far, far outweighed by the positives. There’s seriously NO COMPARISON! God has shown me that when my focus is on Him, I will have peace, in spite of the negatives. He is the source of my peace, and I no longer need to concern myself with trying to win over the nay-sayers. I need to do what He’s called me to do and stop living in fear of the negatives.

“Peace I leave with you;
my peace I give you.
I do not give to you as the world gives.
Do not let your hearts be troubled
and do not be afraid.”
John 14:27
How Many Times by Rachael Carman

Click here to order your copy of “How Many Times Do I Have to Tell You?

Keys to Understanding Yourself

Keys to Understanding Yourself

If you’ve never studied the different personality types before, you’re in for a treat! Although your personality is comprised of characteristics and qualities that make you uniquely you, you  may be surprised (and relieved!) to learn that you’re not the only one who approaches life in this manner.

Introvert Heaven

You’re not the only one who prefers a book to a party (or a party to a book). You’re not the only one who cocoons after being surrounded by a crowd (or seeks a crowd after too much time alone). Learning about your personality is fun and exciting, but why stop with yourself?  

Personality Types Matter

For me, the most rewarding part of understanding my personality came when I learned the personality types of my husband and son and parents and siblings and inlaws and friends. Yes, I enthusiastically asked them all to take the quiz, and they did! It was amazing to see how each person was “pegged” correctly and how insightful the descriptions were regarding how we relate to each other.

Know Your Personality type MBTI


Here are a few of my favorite proven-in-real-life online quizzes to help us not only to understand ourselves and each other better, but also to show each other love and appreciation more effectively. Add your personality type in the comment section below! 

KEY #1: Know Your Meyers-Briggs Personality Type

In layman’s terms, the Meyers-Briggs Personality Inventory (MBTI) explains our “preferences” (how we act, how we re-energize, how we make decisions) Here’s a link to the best (in my opinion) FREE Meyers Briggs Personality Test on the internet:  (There’s also a personality test you can take for your children here:

Once you know your 4-letter MBTI personality type, read about it. See if the description fits you (that’s really the best way to know if you were typed correctly). Here are a few good resources to get you started:

KEY #2: Know Your Enneagram Type

The Riso-Hudson Enneagram Type Indicator (RHETI) complements the MBTI by providing insight into WHY we act the way we do (i.e., what is our motivation for making the decisions we make?). The sample Enneagram test below will give you enough information for you to figure out your main Type and your secondary Type (“wing”).

It’s important to know your wing, because it has great influence on your main type. To figure out your wing, simply look at your main Type (the type with the highest score), and look at the scores to the immediate right and left. Whichever of the two is the highest, that is your wing. Click here to take the FREE Enneagram Test.

Once you have your main type and your wing, Google is your friend. Simply enter your type & wing followed by the word “Enneagram” and enjoy the learning process! For example, I’m a 1w9, so I would type “1w9 Enneagram” into Google to learn more about my type.

KEY #3: Know Your Love Language

Marriage and family counselor, Dr. Gary Chapman, concluded years ago that people generally communicate in five basic “love languages.” The premise is that each of us has a certain way to give and receive love (our love language), and that we should each work hard to “speak” in the love language that is understood/spoken by the other person rather than only “speaking” in our own.

Learn the 5 Love Languages

This concept has been revolutionary in not only marriage relationships, but also family relationships and even co-worker relationships. Click here to take the FREE Five Love Languages Test.

Once you know what your primary love language is, you can continue learning about it by either purchasing the best-selling book (highly recommended) The 5 Love Languages: The Secret to Love that Lasts or browsing their site.

KEY #4: Know Your Strengths (not free)

People are finally realizing how important it is for us to know our strengths (a.k.a. “themes” or “inborn talents”) and work within them versus focusing on our weaknesses in order to be more well-rounded. There are  basically 34 strength categories (“themes”), and this test will give you your Top 5 Themes.

This test is known as the Clifton StrengthsFinder® which requires a code. The research was done by the Gallup organization over a number of years and is some of the most SOLID data you will find. It’s very accurate and insightful. You can either purchase one of their books which includes the code, or purchase the code separately for $15.00.

It’s worth it to know your strengths! I suggest purchasing either Strengths Finder 2.0 or Living Your Strengths: Discover Your God-Given Strengths and Inspire Your Community (highly recommended for people of faith), and then use the code inside the book to take the test.

Once you know what your Top 5 Themes (your strengths), you can begin researching what they mean and how they impact your behavior and performance. Here are a couple resources for additional information about your strengths:

Here’s a short video series that goes through each of the 34 themes:

African American Family by @leighann-renee on @unsplash
Reading in France @mvp on @unsplash

Friends Talking @helena-lopes on @unsplash
Cotton Candy photo by @valerie-elash on @unsplash

Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”


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Privacy Policy

Laura Zielke Privacy Policy

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Last Edited on 2019-11-25