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I’ve said before that words are powerful. Words can enable or disable us. Words are like seeds planted deep in the soil of our souls. The person who captures our ear can often manipulate our heart.

A gardener plants a tiny seed to produce an apple tree. However, with the proper nurturing, it will grow into a large tree that bears fruit. When the seed is planted in the ground, it may take some time for it to take root. After the seed is rooted in the earth, it must push through the soil and dirt to begin the visible growth process. The gardener believes and later knows as the weeks go by, that the tree will grow and that someday it will put out blossoms and bear fruit. If the seeds are good, the tree will produce good fruit; if they’re bad, the tree can’t help but produce bad fruit.

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It’s the same with words. The words that were planted in me as a child grew into fear, bitterness and hatred. Years later, when it was time for me to step out to engage in my purpose, those disabling words overshadowed my reality. Even though I was voted “Most Beautiful Girl” in my school, I could not accept that. I was crippled by my past, paralyzed by those words.

So, my quest became to uproot the negative roots of fear, insecurity, uncertainty, bitterness and hatred, and to nurture the positive seeds of confidence, certitude and love.

Gardening for Growth

Here are a trio of “gardening” tools that I’ve found helpful in this process:

1. Get your shovel.It’s time to dig deep. Many of us are reluctant to dig deep because we’re afraid of what we’ll find. Once we expose our problems, we must uproot them. There are three steps to doing this:

  • Get underneath your issues. What has stunted your growth? Be specific.
  • What should go or stay? Who or what has caused the greatest pain in your life?
  • Inspect for weeds. What issues have surfaced in your life that challenge your quest to be you?

2. Take out your hoe.Prepare new ground. After we dig up old roots (the past) we need to replace them with new seeds, which means the soil of our hearts must be tilled and prepared for new growth.

  • Replace old thoughts, behaviors and people with new ones.
  • After identifying the negative seeds of words and images, guard your surroundings so that these negative influences don’t begin surfacing again.
  • The key to producing growth will be your consistency in keeping a watchful eye on your progress.

3. Get out your watering pot.It is time to water and feed the newly planted seeds of success. The truth of God’s Word is the best food and water for healthy growth.

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Jada Collins is the commentator and spokeswoman for the largest traveling fashion show in the world, Ebony Fashion Fair. Shereveals the ugly story behind her pretty face in her new book, Be-You-Tiful: The Three Fold Process to Becoming You. The book has received praise ranging from Pastor Paula White and Ebony magazine CEO Linda Johnson Rice to the New York Times Book Review. In the book, Collins argues that beauty is only skin deep and recounts her own story of childhood molestation, abandonment and fear.