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Work yourself up

By QuaWanna Bannarbie

It is said that successful people make a habit of doing good habits daily. I have yet to master this, but I am on my way. One rare practice that I am working to habituate is that of bringing a journal into my times of prayer. This week, I opened my prayer journal to March 20, 2017, which was two years from the day that I was reading it. Two years ago, I wrote these words as a testimony:

“Many times, I have prayed to God for a ‘switch or button’ that I could push that would make things change as I believed they could or needed to change. I now realize that I have had the switch the entire time. The power is in my mouth. When I speak it to myself so that I begin to act on what I speak, I can speak the change that I want to see into existence.”

Successful people make a habit of speaking well to themselves. We call it positive affirmation. This practice has been in existence for years. Yet, because life coaching and personal growth strategy have been popular buzzwords in recent years, we hear more and more influencers promote the practice of daily affirmations. As I thought of this habit, two prominent figures came to mind. The first is Muhammad Ali.

The heavyweight champion was best known for his confident and flavorful speeches promoting himself as the greatest fighter ever. You cannot say the words “I am the greatest” without thinking of the famous athlete. Ali is the epitome of speaking about yourself in such a way that what you desire is envisioned before it comes to pass. In fact, Ali was quoted as saying, “I am the greatest, I said that even before I knew I was.” I believe Ali taught us the basics of what we need to know about achieving success. Success begins with believing the words that come out of your own mouth and acting on them.

The second man that came to my mind as I thought of personal affirmations was King David.

You might be thinking that I would reference the popular speech David made to Goliath when he was just a young boy. That speech is dripping with confidence. Instead, I direct your attention to another great moment in David’s life when personal encouragement is demonstrated. In 1 Samuel 30 we find the narrative of King David and his fighting men returning to his own city, Ziklag, to find that the Amalekites had burned the city and taken the king’s wives, children and all the wives and offspring of his soldiers. King David was greatly distressed because his men, who were stricken with grief, threatened to stone him to death. But then we read 1 Samuel 30:6 that says King David “encouraged himself in the Lord his God.” After that, he and 400 of his men went on pursuit and recovered all that the Amalekites had carried away. While we do not read of a great speech in the text of 1 Samuel, Psalm 18 is a parallel passage that describes how King David responded to the situation in Ziklag.

King David and Muhammad Ali were on to something. When we speak over ourselves beginning the statement “I am,” we should be conscious of the fact that we are speaking of the great and only “I am.” The Bible tells us that “I am” is the name of God.

I have a morning confession and an end-of-day confession that contain many lines that begin with those two small but powerful words. I use these confessions as personal reminders and to work myself up to achieve the work God has called me to do. I believe in the power of calling on God. Therefore, when you create your own list of positive “I am” statements and speak them out loud in your own hearing, you are connecting to our Heavenly Father in a very practical way. My pastor says that the voice you listen to the most is your own. Speak over yourself. If kings and champions have made it their habit, why not you and me?


QuaWanna Bannarbie is an adjunct professor of Nonprofit Leadership and Management with Indiana Wesleyan University, National and Global. Her children attend Suffolk Public Schools. Connect with her via Twitter @QNikki_Notes.