31 Ways To Speak Love

31 Ways To Speak Love

on November 1, 2013 in 31 Ways To Speak Love with 1 comment by

31 ways

You guys? God is up to something.

And He’s inviting us to join in.

The Bible says our tongues (and typing fingers?) are always speaking life or death. So let’s focus on our words and watch as beautiful things grow when we choose words of life towards God, others, and ourselves.

We are changing our culture. We are going to Speak Love.

. . . . .

Intro :: October is for speaking love.

Day 1 :: A Challenge for the Internet

Day 2 :: Besties

Day 3 :: Musicians

Day 4 :: Lyrics

Day 5 :: Teachers

Day 6 :: Proverbs 18:21

Day 7 :: Brave

Day 8 :: Parents

Day 9 :: The Ones Who Lead You

Day 10 :: Malala

Day 11 :: Your Words Matter

Day 12 :: Love Your Bloggers

Day 13 :: Proverbs 16:24

Day 14 :: Words by Hawk Nelson

Day 15 :: Single Ladies

Day 16 :: Siblings

Day 17 :: Random Words of Kindness

Day 18 :: Authors

Day 19 :: Girls of Grace

Day 20 :: Psalm 119:105

Day 21 :: Two Free Birds

Day 22 :: Spotify Jams

Day 23 :: Talk to God

Day 24 :: fashionABLE

Day 25 :: Your Labels

Day 26 :: Teen Girls

Day 27 :: Matthew 12:34

Day 28 :: Speak Life by Toby Mac

Day 29 :: Use Your E-Manners

Day 30 :: Goodbye, Mean Girl

Day 31 :: 5 Steps To No More Mean Girls

Day 31 :: 5 Steps To No More Mean Girls

on October 31, 2013 in 31 Ways To Speak Love with 2 comments by

mean-girlsIn the deepest parts of my heart, I think we can live in a world that the mean girl isn’t welcome. I told her so yesterday, but I also talked about it last month over at (in)courage.

But if we’re going to get rid of the mean girl mentality in our culture, we have to make a few decisions ourselves.  Ready? Here we go.


1. Choose Truth.

First of all, it starts with YOU and ME, not the mean girl. We have to stop letting what other people say about us define who we are- I don’t care if you are 12 or 72, you have to choose to believe the truth of who you are and who God made you. The mean girl has power because the rest of us give her power to determine our worth. Once you know your worth, that power is zapped from her.


2. Involve An Adult.

Are you a student being picked on? Tell an adult. Are you a student seeing someone else get picked on? Tell an adult. Are you the mean girl and you don’t know why you say the things you do? TELL AN ADULT. It’s not the cool answer, but it’s the true answer. Adults whom you trust will be able to help you maneuver how best to handle the situation you are in.

Are you an adult affected by the mean girl mentality? Tell another adult. Get some other voices in your head and allow someone else to help you walk through this.


3. Don’t be the Mean Girl.

You know who hates the mean girl mentality? Everyone, including other mean girls. You may not know how to label yourself, so let me help. Do you make fun of other women behind their backs? Do you find joy in seeing others look stupid? Do you read blogs or twitter feeds just to mock the writer? Do you see someone sitting alone at lunch in the cafeteria and think they deserve it? You could be the mean girl.

If you are the mean girl, habitually or momentarily, YOU HAVE GOT TO STOP. Something on your insides feels hurt or empty and you are trying to fill it with the wrong stuff. Tearing others down doesn’t build you. KINDNESS shared is KINDNESS gained.



4. Don’t buy into the hype.

You see articles like THIS that say the mean girl can’t be helped. You see movies that make the mean girl out to be common place. You hear “she’s everywhere,” “we all know one,” “she’s always gonna exist.” DON’T BELIEVE IT. This mentality does NOT have to be part of our culture. Don’t lay down under the pressure of “it’s too big for us to change.” NOTHING is impossible with Jesus. God’s heart is that women would be loved the way HE loves, so we can believe that He wants to do whatever it takes for us to be LOVED.


5. Speak Love.

You saw this one coming, didn’t you? We don’t fight fire with fire. We don’t speak to others the way they deserve to be spoken to, we speak love. You want to see the mean girl stop? Speak love to her. BE KIND. Be nice, even if she isn’t. Go out of your way to say the genuinely kind thing to those around you and watch your world change.

Is it really that simple? REALLY?

Yes. Do those five things for a month- pursue truth, involve adults if necessary, don’t be the mean girl, ignore the hype, and speak love- and then come back here and tell me if your world isn’t a kinder place with less mean girl than you could have ever imagined.

. . . . .


31 waysFriends, it has been a fun month of 31 Ways to Speak Love. Thanks for being a part of what God is doing with all of this! I truly believe He is up to something big and we are lucky to be a part!

A few final reminders:

You can purchase Speak Love and Speak Love Revolution at your favorite bookstore or online retailer.

Send a free e-card to your favorite persons over at SpeakLoveNow.com.

Check out some of these pinterest boards we’ve got running:

You can get free shipping on all the Speak Love swag at AnnieBlogs store using the code 31WAYS through the weekend!

. . . . .

Finally, do you have a favorite day that you wish we’d talk more about? Or a topic we didn’t hit this month? Or thoughts on the series in general? Leave a comment below!

Day 30 :: Goodbye, Mean Girl.

on October 30, 2013 in 31 Ways To Speak Love with 2 comments by

31 waysDear Mean Girl,

I am not one that tends to be fond of the open letter, though it seems to be the internet’s favorite form of communication. But being that you are everywhere and I can’t just mail you a note, I will today write one to you here in hopes that you see it.

Mean Girl, I’m not sure who invited you into our culture. I’ve been trying to figure it out. Who opened the door and let you in, giving you a popular spot in our community living system? Are you international, Mean Girl? Do you live in the slums as well as the cities? Sure, your ideas and the way you treat people has been around for a long time, but it seems that only within the last few decades has your behavior been labeled, tolerated, and in many circumstances, celebrated.

Proof? This article from ABC News would like us to believe that you, Mean Girl, are in all of us and totally natural.

That’s not true.

I’ve got to tell you something- our culture is changing in lots of ways- some for the better and some for the worse. But nonetheless, we are changing. And whereas you were given a spot at the table the last few years, it doesn’t look like you are welcome anymore in most arenas. This month is Anti-Bullying Month, so all through October, teachers and leaders and coaches and mentors have been focused on removing bullying from the lives of children.

That’s not good for your longevity, sister.

Here’s what you’re really gonna hate. The church is tired of it, too. The church is tired of seeing students being wounded and broken by the words of the Mean Girl. Trust me, I see them every weekend – I see youth leaders and students who are saying that your ways of communicating aren’t welcome there anymore.

And I’m tired too. I’m tired of the stories of hurt and the words you say to make yourself feel better. I don’t know your name or your face, but I know you live in every city and go to every school and man, I’m tired of running into your shrapnel in the hearts of girls across this country.

It’s always been hard to be a teenager. Since you’ve come along, it’s gotten worse. And since the internet? Yeah, you’re a beast.

But Mean Girl, you aren’t welcome here anymore.

Let me be the first to officially uninvite you to the party that is our culture.

No more will you be allowed to cause rifts between friends.

No more will you be allowed to determine social status and who/what is cool.

No more will you be able to hide behind a computer screen or anonymous text messaging and think that your words will define others.

No more will the rest of us sit back and let you do the thing you do that hurts the other women around you.

So this is more of a dear John letter, though I don’t think you are dear and I bet your name isn’t John.

Goodbye, Mean Girl. We’re done with you.



Annie and everyone else

[How do we get rid of the mean girl? I’ll tell you tomorrow….]


This is Day 30 of 31 Ways to Speak Love. You can click here to see a list of all the posts in the series.

Day 29 :: Use Your E-manners.

on October 29, 2013 in 31 Ways To Speak Love with 2 comments by

31 waysAfter 29 days of writing about ways to Speak Love, one theme keeps coming up in conversations and in emails.

How we behave online.

No, not teenagers.

No, not kids.

No, not men.

Women. You [most of you] and me.

. . . . .

You see it. I see it too. Women who are unkind in their comments or tweets or blog posts. It is time for us to get serious about how we type and how we are using our words online towards each other. It gets nasty and mean and almost unbelievable at times.

I’m soooooo over it.

I bet you are too.

So here are a few ways that we can mind our e-manners and make the internet a SAFE PLACE for women to interact.


You are allowed to disagree.

I am not going to say that speaking love online means agreeing with everything. It certainly doesn’t. I could list a lot of websites that have a lot of opinions I don’t agree with. Don’t fall into the trap that being a loving human means being everyone’s best friend or ignoring differences. Us Southern women chew on that cud all the time and it’s wrong. Disagree all you want- it doesn’t hurt other people when you disagree with them, what’s hurtful is what you say and how you say it.


The same rules apply if you are typing and if you are standing face to face.

I promise if you were standing face to face with the woman who’s blog you hate, you wouldn’t say the things that you are willing to type into her comment section. Sometimes I fear we have forgotten that the ones on the other side of the computer screen are human too. Be nice. Just be nice. Don’t be fake, don’t send up praise for a post you disagree with, but picture saying [or screaming?] your comment to the face of the one you are writing to. Nine times out of ten, you’ll edit yourself or delete your comment all together. SHE IS HUMAN TOO.


Kindness always wins.

I’d like to edit an old saying: If you can’t say something nice…. try harder. You can. You can absolutely find something nice to say to every person you read or interact with online. Choose to say those things. Choose to swallow down the ugly words you want to post and replace them with kindness. Remember that it is God’s kindness that brings people around- not rudeness in the name of truth.


Ask yourself why.

When you can’t resist saying the mean or harsh thing, when you hit send and immediately regret it, when you are raging mad and all you can think that will make you feel better is to SAY ALL THE THINGS, I’ve got to wonder why. So should you. Why does this matter so much to you? Why are you sure that slander is the solution? What hurts that is making you react like this? Are you sad? Jealous? Mad? Unhappy? What is it? Dig deep. Meanness on the internet isn’t the root, it’s the symptom of a deeper problem for which only you can seek healing.


Have a reality check.

What you are reading online is a SMALL portion of someone’s life- not their full life. Before you go and add your 2 cents to the topic that you are SURE she is wrong about, remember that this is not her whole life, you don’t know her hurts or her weaknesses, her history or her hobbies, you just know this post or tweet.


Celebrities have feelings too.

Someday when you want to worry about the state of our country, look at the comment section of your favorite celebrity’s most recent instagram. People are so mean- talking about weight and money and perception of who that person is- again, not the fullness of the person, but their public persona. Celebrities are humans who see, many times, what we say about them. Make a choice to speak kindly about celebrities online. You never know what they [or their family or friends] may see from you.



Don’t be her. Just quit. Your daughters are watching your online behavior and learning how they should act. If you are doing mean girl typing, they are seeing that and you are spreading that mentality into the next generation. It’s time to stop.


Be the different voice.

Do you know why more than 100,000 people have read a blog post about Miley Cyrus? Not because the content was riveting or life-changing, but because people EXPECTED Christians to respond one way, and you and I chose a different way. If we are to be the aroma of Christ, a city on a hill, salt and light, we have to sound and look different than the rest of the internet.



Please. Can we be a different voice? Can we be the women who speak life online and bring joy to others? Can we be the ones who build a safe place for women to feel accepted and loved on the world wide web? Can we defend the ones who are attacked and stand up for the ones without a voice? Can we accept and love and support instead of tear down and mock and hurt?

Be different.

Just please be different.


This is Day 29 of 31 Ways to Speak Love. You can click here to see a list of all the posts in the series.

Day 28 :: Speak Life by Toby Mac

on October 28, 2013 in 31 Ways To Speak Love with no comments by

31 waysEvery Monday of October, I want to share with you a song that speaks directly about the power of words.

People have been texting/emailing/tweeting/telling me about this song since the first mention of me having a book called Speak Love.

Toby Mac’s Speak Life says all the things about words and how we use them and how we should. Honestly, Toby Mac and I have been in sync with our ministry since Jesus Freak, so who can be surprised. 🙂

But truly, this song is amazing.

And this video? INCREDIBLE. There isn’t an official “Speak Life” video, but these students who run Radiant Identity have created an awesome piece of art to go along with the song. I’m super impressed with this media-focused ministry created by three teenagers. Booyah. Teens influencing their culture and changing the world? Yes and amen.

. . . . .


Post this video on your facebook wall or tweet a link to it. Let’s encourage our people to SPEAK LIFE and SPEAK LOVE today. And make sure you like Radiant Identity on Facebook so you can see all the crazy good they are making.

. . . . .

What are your favorite songs about the power of words? I’d love to hear!

And remember that we’ve made a Perfectly Unique Spotify Playlist as well as a Speak Love Spotify Playlist for you to subscribe to and enjoy! If you don’t have Spotify, you can check out the list of songs here.


This is Day 28 of 31 Ways to Speak Love. You can click here to see a list of all the posts in the series.

Day 27 :: Matthew 12:34

on October 27, 2013 in 31 Ways To Speak Love with no comments by

31 waysEvery Sunday in this month, I’m going to share one verse that really has impacted me as I’ve studied and taught about the power of words.

In the NIV, this verse says “out of the overflow of your heart, your mouth speaks.” I love quoting that when I’m speaking or sharing it with teen girls when we talk about the power of words. I think one thing we all need to remember is that what comes out of our mouth is a direct reflection of what is happening in our hearts.

My friend Lindsey emailed me this beautiful graphic of our verse today. I tooooooootes love it. She’s talented, yo.

And this is Matthew 12:34 in the Message version. I think it is a very powerful statement to end our Sunday scripture in 31 Ways To Speak Love.


. . . . .


Why not share this scripture today with your people? What a great reminder to dig deeper into the words that we say.


This is Day 27 of 31 Ways to Speak Love. You can click here to see a list of all the posts in the series.

Day 26 :: Teen Girls

on October 26, 2013 in 31 Ways To Speak Love with 1 comment by

31 ways I can’t believe we are 26 days into this thing and I haven’t talked about teenagers yet.

Gracious. They are my people.

I’ve seen a lot of teenage/college girls this fall and it has been a treat. I love talking to them about the power of words, about what God is asking them to do with their words, and how they have the power to change the world.

I really believe that.

You hear plenty of stories of how teen girls are using their words to tear each other down and hurt one another, but imagine the power if we taught them and trained them to speak life over each other?

Oh, don’t even get me started. DON’T EVEN GET ME STARTED on what that could do to our planet.

Have you heard of Florrie Evans? A teenager during the Welsh Revival in 1904, she “publicly confessed that she loved the Lord Jesus Christ with all her heart. This she did in the morning youth meeting at her church. Her simple words were the spark that lit revival fire in her church and in the west Wales area, a fire that would soon become national in its scope. These words spoken on Sunday February 14 1904 were to be the first drops of an n international downpour.” (source)


I believe our girls can do that too.

I could almost cry when I start thinking about it- about the power they have, the honor we have to lead them, and the ways God will change the world through the generation of teenagers that are growing up right now.

Speak love to the teen girls in your life- bloom things in them that change their hearts.

Believe in them.

Teach them.

Talk to them.

Talk with them.

Watch them do it. They will.

I wrote Speak Love for the young women of our world because I want to see them whole, healed, and using their words for the glory of God.

. . . . .



I’m really looking forward to Wednesday night when I get to hop on Facebook and do a live chat / book club / internet talking thingy. Everyone is welcome whether you’ve read all some or none of the book. 6pm EST we’ll be on Girls of Grace’s facebook page. I’m stoked about it. Let’s get together and talk about how we use our words, how we can speak love, and how God is changing this planet through girls like me and you. This is for teen girls and mamas and leaders and friends- all of y’all. 🙂 So join us and spread the word.

Also, to speak love now, why not call a teen girl you know and love today and tell her how much she means to you and how much you believe in her? It will mean more than you know.


This is Day 26 of 31 Ways to Speak Love. You can click here to see a list of all the posts in the series.

Day 25 :: Your Labels

on October 25, 2013 in 31 Ways To Speak Love with 3 comments by

31 waysBeing wheat-free and dairy-free has changed my grocery shopping significantly in the last few months. I literally have to read the label on every single product.

You would be shocked how many non-cheese products have milk in them.


So I read alllllll the labels. It takes me lots of time, y’all. Lots of time.

I like labels. It helps to understand what the product is that I’m not being allowed to eat because WHY IS THERE SOME MUCH DAIRY AND WHEAT IN THE WORLD.

. . . . .

People have labels too. There are these labels that we all wear around that define us, just like groceries.

What are yours?

I’ve had ones that broke my heart… UNLOVELY, SCREW UP, UGLY, ANNOYING, TOO MUCH.

But we have a God who wants to define us- throughout the New Testament Jesus was always changing people’s labels and speaking truth into their lives. Think about Zaccheaus, think about the woman caught in adultery, think about Peter. Jesus saw what they were labeled and He spoke truth over them – friend, let go, rock. When you are with Jesus, He gives you a true label- a label that speaks love.

And He’s doing the same for you and me all the time.

You are not UNLOVED…. you are LOVED.

Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. –Colossians 3:12

You are not a SCREW UP…. you are FORGIVEN.

But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. -Romans 5:8

You are not UGLY…. you are BEAUTIFUL.

You are altogether beautiful, my darling; there is no flaw in you. -Song of Solomon 4:7

. . . . .

While it is important to talk about how we use our words towards others, we have to recognize that how we digest the words others say, and how we speak about ourselves, has a huge effect on how we behave AND how we see God.

I know this isn’t a great Friday topic- I mean, it’s not easy and relaxed and HAVE A GREAT WEEKEND, but we have got to dive into this personally because what you are saying and believing about YOURSELF is affecting you in deeper ways than you know.

What labels do I believe now?


It isn’t always easy, and it’s not that I don’t struggle with the lying labels that I sometimes still hear whispered to my mind, but God is the One who gets to define me.

He is constantly speaking love to you about who you are and how He made you. Choose to believe Him.

. . . . .


Friend. Sit down today and really pray/think through this. What labels are you believing about yourself? What words define you? Do those words match what the Bible says about you? Choose truth. It will change everything.

Has God replaced the old labels with new ones in your life? Share with us in the comments. How encouraging it will be for those walking the path towards truth to hear the way God defines you.


This is Day 25 of 31 Ways to Speak Love. You can click here to see a list of all the posts in the series.

Day 24 :: fashionABLE

on October 24, 2013 in 31 Ways To Speak Love, Mocha Club with 1 comment by

31 waysOne of the best ways to Speak Love? Speaking up for the ones who don’t have a voice.

You’ve surely seen it around the blogosphere- bloggers using their platform to support non-profit organizations that help people around the world. It’s a pretty awesome use of the world wide web if I do say so myself.

If you have an online voice of any size [because that part doesn’t matter, remember?], then I hope you have found a cause that you love and love to talk about and find yourself retweeting them and posting about them and doing whatever you can to make sure you audience knows how to help.

For me? That’s Mocha Club. I love what they do, I love who they are, and I love supporting them in whatever ways I can.

Three years ago, the people at Mocha Club started a new brand called fashionABLE with new products that allow women in Ethiopia to come off the streets and be rehabilitated and trained and given jobs that will sustain their families. Check out the video below.

. . . . .

So worth celebrating. And this week is fashionABLE‘s third birthday! So they are offering a 30% off deal all day yesterday [oops, sorry], today and tomorrow.

Listen, if you are thinking Christmas gifts already [and you should be!], you aren’t going to find better deals than this.

For the gals, every teen/college girl would SWOON over this new Tigist leather clutch. I mean. Get serious. It’s gorgeous. And 30% off!

For the dudes, this Fikire iPad cover is a solid gift. And 30% off!

There are TONS of scarf options on sale [meaning, all of them], but my VERY FAVORITE I WANT TO WEAR EVERY DAY is the Seble in gunmetal grey and scarlett.

I’m proud to be a part of Mocha Club and I’m proud to share with you about what they and fashionABLE are doing to train and equip the people of Africa.

. . . . .


Peruse the scarves and the leather goods from fashionABLE because listen, products this awesome don’t go on sale for 30% off, well, ever. And make sure you share with your friends about fashionABLE and what they are doing. Follow @livefashionABLE on twitter to have an easy access to shareable information!


This is Day 24 of 31 Ways to Speak Love. You can click here to see a list of all the posts in the series.

Day 23 :: Talk To God.

on October 23, 2013 in 31 Ways To Speak Love with 10 comments by

31 ways

Life is busy. I miss my college days when it was part of my schedule each day to sit and pray and journal and read my Bible.

That’s not my life now. I don’t like waking up early, I can’t keep my eyes open late, and I find myself filling each day with work and play and friends and food and sometimes I can forget to set aside time and journal about my life for weeks at a time.

And to be honest? Sometimes I’m tired of talking to God and asking Him to figure stuff out that I can’t and digging into the things that I’m dealing with. Are any of you in full-time ministry? Because that adds this weird element of being in relationship with God because He’s also the Boss, and so when I do sit down to pray I want to talk about personal stuff but sometimes it ends up flipping to biz talk and I’m all, “Oh while I’ve got You, can we go ahead and discuss this company decision?”

I could give you all the ways that I talk about how to speak to God and listen to God in Speak Love but here’s what I really want to say:

Talk to God.

If you are tired and just want to retreat inside and ignore the hurt, don’t. Talk to God.

If you are excited and life is going great and you realize it’s accidentally been two weeks since you sat down and prayed? Do it today. Talk to God.

If you are brokenhearted, talk to God.

If you are nervous, talk to God.

If you are scared, talk to God.

If you are smack in the middle of exactly who you want to be, talk to God.

No matter your spot in life or your hurt or your healing, He’s listening to you.

Maybe you don’t need to hear this. Maybe I’m just talking myself through a season where it’s easier to power through than to be still and know, but I just have to say that in all the hubbub of these 31 Ways To Speak Love and ALL THE ACTIONS and ALL THE WORDS, what I really wish is for an hour to sit and talk and cry and be and hear and heal and feel like I’m understood.

[I can write me some kind of run-on sentence, people.]

Sweet friend. Talk to God. Don’t let your worries or your fears, your mistakes or your missteps, your joys or your victories keep you from connecting with the One who holds it all in His hands.

. . . . .


Today, talk to God.


This is Day 23 of 31 Ways to Speak Love. You can click here to see a list of all the posts in the series.

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