Former cohost of The 700 Club Kristi Watts reveals the pitfalls that keep Christians from true joy and demonstrates the transformational power of speaking the words and promises of God.
How does a person bounce back after being beaten down personally, professionally, and emotionally? What impact do words, thoughts, and beliefs have in determining one’s level of happiness? Kristi Watts asked herself these questions after her marriage dissolved and she left a high-profile position as a cohost of The 700 Club. Initially excited to walk into a new season of life that she thought held the key to happiness, she soon stumbled into emotional pitfalls that left her discouraged, disappointed, and distant from God. Known as the upbeat host who was always filled with joy and laughter, she was anything but—yet she was determined to get her happy back! But how? By learning, as Kristi did, that true happiness is not simply acquired but rather cultivated.
When one’s words focus on faulty perspectives, faith is quickly derailed, but by remembering God’s blessings and verbally claiming His promises, hearts change. Using biblical principles, Talk Yourself Happy illustrates the importance of relying on God to tame our tongues and train our minds, and it exposes the hidden traps that keep Christians from living lives of happiness, empowering readers with the ultimate transformation of their hearts.
|Publisher:||Nelson, Thomas, Inc.|
|Product dimensions:||5.51(w) x 8.50(h) x 0.61(d)|
About the Author
Kristi Watts is best known for her role as a former co-host on the award-winning television program The 700 Club and for her in-depth interviews of authors, celebrities, and public figures such as former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and movie mogul Tyler Perry. She recently launched Kristi Watts Ministries to provide Bible study tools, video blogs, and speaking engagements. Today, Kristi lives in Virginia Beach, Virginia with her son.
Read an Excerpt
Talk Yourself Happy
Transform Your Heart By Speaking God's Promises
By Kristi Watts
Thomas NelsonCopyright © 2017 Kristi Watts
All rights reserved.
God Sees You. God Hears You. God Will Help You!
I stood at the entrance where the hallway opened up into our kitchen. I had just gotten off the phone with my parents who had informed me that they were driving to Virginia Beach to see us. Another eight-hour drive in less than twenty-four hours. I felt sorry for them. They had traveled over the weekend to talk with us, but my husband had been a no-show. He had disappeared — again.
With no apology or explanation for his disappearance, he was now standing in our kitchen fixing something to eat as if it was just another day. Up until this point my parents had elected to stay out of our marriage — which, by the way, was in a complete state of mayhem. But things had gotten so out of control they felt they had to step in.
"Your parents better not come here!" he shouted. "If they show up, I'm leaving!" He slammed the kitchen cabinets.
My parents had been present earlier when I discovered his collage of sticky notes on the kitchen counter with random and perplexing rants about life. The message that had pulled us all into a state of frenzy was the suicide note. Well, actually, a threat to commit suicide. Or a threat to not commit suicide. I'm not sure. Bottom line: when we read it, we all freaked out.
"I'm miserable," the note read. "The only thing that is keeping me alive is the thought of God and our son."
As soon as I read this, I had a flashback to a few weeks before, when I had come home from work to his calm announcement that "One day you're going to come home, and there's going to be blood splattered all over your pristine walls and your perfect house." He had been drunk. Again.
When we found the notes, I grabbed the phone and called all his friends, hoping that someone could tell me he was okay. Panic changed to anger when I reached the wife of one of his friends, who said, "Oh, yeah, your husband went with the boys to Bermuda for the weekend. He didn't tell you?"
"Nope. He didn't tell me," I fumed. The man who hadn't worked in more than a year — and spent his hours and money on the golf course rather than looking for a job — hadn't told me. The man who opted to scare the pee out of me with a kind-of-sort-of suicide note so that he could leave town and hang with the boys.
He hadn't told me.
Crumbling the note in my fist, I shook my head in complete disgust. He did it again, I thought. I had fallen into his trap. It was a familiar formula: stir the waters to create a grand diversion, conjure up a case with as many lies as possible, and then manipulate all the players involved to ultimately gain what you want.
Welcome to my marriage.
"If you're not going to be here, then just tell me now so my parents don't have to drive another eight hours to get here!" I shouted while glaring at my husband.
My stress level was at an easy ten. I couldn't take his antics, lies, and threats another day. I was exhausted.
Turning to make a quick exit out of the kitchen, I felt a sharp pain in my abdomen. As I grabbed my stomach, a stream of warm liquid ran down my leg. I was six months pregnant. Hunching over and holding the bottom of my belly, as though to keep the baby from falling out, I ran up the stairs and locked myself in the bathroom.
I'm not sure why I didn't run to the phone to call my doctor. And I'm not sure why I went to the upstairs bathroom instead of the one downstairs. I guess I wanted to be as far away from my husband as possible. I dropped to the floor and curled into a ball, praying the baby would survive. To be honest, I'm not sure which baby I was referring to, me or the one growing inside.
Banging on the bathroom door, he yelled, now frantic. "Kristi, do you want me to call an ambulance? Do you want me to call the doctor?" Although he spoke loudly, it was as if his words were a million miles away.
I didn't respond. Not because I was angry with him; I was just tired. Tired of talking, tired of arguing and begging, and tired of the silent treatments. It was in that moment, lying on the cold bathroom floor, that I came to grips with the realization that the stress of this marriage on my mind, body, and spirit was too much to bear. I was done. The place within my heart that was initially warm, fuzzy, and filled with love for my husband had become a place that was cold, calloused, and closed off.
Think on those things that are lovely, honest, pure, and of good report, a small voice reminded me. I ignored it. I was too consumed with my own pain to think on anything other than how I felt. The truth was that I wanted to wallow in the pain, because I felt sorry for myself. Scene by scene, I hit replay on the movie reel within my mind, recollecting every negative event until I found myself lying in a cesspool of bitter emotions.
I remembered the time he told me, "I never loved you," after coming home from drinking one night. He'd thrown out those words as casually as one might throw out a "God bless you" after a sneeze. Although he apologized a few days later, I chose to hold on to those words, allowing them to solidify my case against my marriage.
Instead of agreeing with the Word of God, which told me to forgive, to walk in grace, and to extend mercy, I chose to agree with the words of a man who was clearly speaking out of his own pain. But I didn't care. I allowed his piercing words to define every aspect of our marriage. And how I defined our marriage was "irreparable" and "sabotaged" by the enemy who sat on the other side of the bathroom door.
I rested on that bathroom floor completely defeated. "Tell me what to do, Lord!" I cried out in desperation.
Pray for him.
Pray for who? I thought, suddenly sobering up from my meltdown.
Pray for him, I heard again. But the last thing I wanted to do was pray for the man I once called my greatest love but now branded as my greatest enemy.
Pray for your enemies, pray for those who persecute you and spitefully use you, I heard the small voice speak again.
I didn't want to. I had spent countless days and nights praying for this man and our marriage, and I didn't have the mental strength to pray for either anymore. After all, I told myself, if I did pray, I wouldn't mean it anyway. But then, not knowing what else to do, I hoisted myself up from the floor, pressing my back against the bathroom cabinet, and prayed. It took everything in me, but I forced my mouth to form words that lifted up the man I felt used his own words to tear me down.
Two words. At first, that's all I could muster. Two-word prayers. "Help him. Heal him. Deliver him. Save him."
As the engine of a car warms up with the start of an ignition, so the spoken Word of God warmed up my heart as I prayed. At first it was a struggle. I mean a real struggle. In that moment I didn't like my husband, and I found it very difficult to pray for someone I didn't like. The only words circling my mind were far from appropriate when speaking with the Lord. Rather than using my own words, I chose to recite scriptures, to speak God's Word back to God.
"Lord, you said that 'no weapon formed against us shall prosper.' Yet it seems like an entire army is against our marriage. So, Lord, I'm asking that you step in and heal him. Heal us, Lord."
God's Word began to chisel off the hardened areas of my heart that were forever trying to grow back. All night long I prayed for that man, our baby, and our marriage. I had no clue what was going to be on the other side of the bathroom door when I opened it later, but I knew one thing: I was going to trust God with everything, no matter the outcome.
I'm not sure when or even how it happened, but during those hours spent praying on the bathroom floor, an incredible peace came over me. In that peace I heard the Lord speak to my heart, "The baby is going to be fine and so are you." But something else significant happened. A major shift. As I cried out to God on that bathroom floor and recited his Word, I began to recognize how my own words often contradicted God's.
"Lord, heal my marriage," I would pray time and time again. But then, while talking to a girlfriend, I would say, "Nothing can help our marriage. Our marriage is doomed. I don't even know if I want to be married anymore."
Other times I would pray, "Lord, heal his heart and deliver my husband from everything that's holding him back in life. Change him back into the man I married." But then later on I would say, "He is who he is, and he's never going to change." Speaking God's Word is like igniting a flame that transforms the darkness into light. Yet, every time I used my own words to contradict the Word of God and the promises of God, it was like pouring a bucket of water on that flame. My negative and contradictory words extinguished the light, creating a pile of soot and ash dampening my faith.
God tells us, "The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit" (Proverbs 18:21). That night was the beginning of my understanding the impact of my words. I began to understand how — without even realizing it — I was speaking death more often than life into my marriage.
That night I committed to change. I was going to speak life into my husband. Life into my marriage. And life into every situation by not only speaking the Word of God, but depending on the Word to help me right where I was.
The next morning, not having slept a wink, I walked out of the bathroom, got dressed, and appeared at my job as a cohost on The 700 Club. With a renewed sense of peace and the prospect of hope returning to my heart, I felt confident enough to face my marriage another day.
Unfortunately, three months later, shortly after our son was born, my husband performed his final disappearing act and abandoned us for good. Even though I suffered from a battered heart and a pillaged bank account, secretly I was relieved. But the prospect of raising a newborn on my own, with no support from my husband — financially, emotionally, physically, or mentally — was definitely a challenge. Nevertheless, God would prove himself faithful in my life. I would begin to learn that true happiness wasn't contingent upon the whos in my life, but rather the whats.
What was God doing?
What did God want me to learn?
And what were the promises of God for my life that would restore my hope and bring happiness back into my soul?
"Chase, hurry up and get downstairs. You don't want to miss the bus!" I yelled from the kitchen.
Man, I love this kid, I thought as I finished packing his lunch. He's only eleven years old, but he's absolutely brilliant, with a genuine heart for God.
"I'm coming," he said, while trotting down the stairs.
With lunch box in hand, I followed him out the back door and walked alongside him, praying out loud for his day. "Lord, thank you for giving Chase the mind of Christ. Lord, help him to make wise decisions and be a godly example of your love today."
I didn't care that I was standing at the end of my driveway still in my bathrobe and head scarf that I wore at night. I didn't give a second thought to the prospect that neighbors heard me praying out loud for my son. Through the years, prayer had become my bedrock and Jesus my one consistent friend.
Even though I grew up in a Christian home and had accepted Christ into my heart at five years old, it was the breakdown of my marriage that catapulted me into a deep relationship with Christ. I pursued the Lord the way my mother pursued a 50-percent-off sale.
It was the Holy Spirit who kept me sane during those years struggling as a single mom.
It was the Word of God that gave me hope to press on to another day.
And it was Jesus' unfailing love that freed me from every offense and every offender.
I waved good-bye and turned to walk back into the house. I had nowhere to go. Not that I was counting, but it had been a year, four months, and twenty-two days since I had left CBN, and I was waiting for the Lord to give me an open door. So far, nothing.
At that point, I had tapped every contact I knew in the television world. I had searched every job site on the Internet and built a fabulous resume reel, highlighting an impressive career in television spanning more than twenty years. And yet, not one callback, not one interview, not even a rejection letter. Nothing.
"Crickets," as one friend says. "It's the sound you hear when you ask people for help, and they don't respond."
I had reluctantly filed for unemployment, which made me feel like a failure. It is especially humbling when you've completed the top tier of schooling and held a high-profile position for several decades. When you've been the one people contact to get ahead in life and now those you've helped don't return your phone calls — let's just say, it hurts.
One requirement to receive unemployment is that you have to apply for at least two jobs a week. I wasn't sure there were any more jobs to apply for, but I pressed on. Television wasn't opening its doors to me, so I ventured out and applied for teaching jobs, writing jobs, and was on the cusp of applying for babysitting jobs.
My sister informed me, however, that babysitting should be my last resort, since I didn't really have patience for kids. "Not all kids," I reminded her. "Just the disrespectful, undisciplined, somebody-needs-to-slap-some-sense-into-them kind of kids." She just rolled her eyes.
I needed a job. I'm doing everything I know to do, and nothing is working, I thought.
"Lord, you said to trust you." But nothing.
"Lord, you said to have faith in you." I did, but nothing.
"Lord, you said to pray to you." But nothing.
I was at a complete loss. I'd always prided myself on being the good Christian girl who made all the right decisions, and now, as if I was trying to please a parent, I reminded God of all my good deeds just in case he had forgotten. "Lord, I've been teaching a weekly Bible study. I've reached out into the community to volunteer. I spend my days reading and studying the Bible. Shouldn't these things count for something?" I asked.
What frustrated me the most was praying for others to have the same things I was praying for myself and watching God answer my prayers for them but not for me. An acquaintance of mine wanted to move, so I prayed the Lord would act swiftly on her behalf and send a buyer to her home. Meanwhile, my house was all boxed up and still waiting for the moving truck along with the new job. Within a few months, she was moved and gone. I was opening boxes looking for the curling iron I had packed months before.
It was time to have a real talk with Jesus to get some answers. Convinced my prayers were hitting the ceiling, I ventured out to a place where I knew God would hear me. I grabbed my Bible, a folding chair, and a couple of blankets. I was headed to my Mount Sinai: the beach. It was where I always expected to hear God's voice through the crashing of the waves.
It was a gorgeous day, not a cloud in the sky, but it was freezing cold. I didn't care. I wasn't leaving until I heard from God. Period. I lugged my beach chair and blanket through the sand while clutching my Bible. I positioned myself right on the edge of the ocean, close enough to taste the salt and feel light sprays of water on my face with each crashing wave. My strategy was to go extra holy in my prayers. I was ready to recite every scripture back to God as if that was the secret code to get him to do something. I was prepared to declare and decree and proclaim the Word over my life.
But inexplicably, when I opened my mouth, I turned into a three-year-old and proceeded to howl like a baby. My words stammered out, and I started to do one of those hiccup cries where every word comes out disjointed.
"L-o-o-r-d. W-h-a-t — is — g-o-ing oooooooooon?" I blubbered.
"Why a-r-e yooooouu ignorinnnng meeeeee!!?" I wailed.
I was a complete basket case.
When I finally composed myself enough to form slightly more thoughtful sentences, I couldn't stop myself. I had complete diarrhea of the mouth, and like a machine gun I just started shooting out questions at God. "Tell me what I need to do. Did I do something wrong, Lord? Have I failed you in some way? Do I need to pray more? Fast more? Lord, are you angry with me? Did I miss something? Lord, what is it? Please, just tell me. Just tell me something. Anything!"
Wiping the tears from my face, I looked out into the ocean and strained to see as far as I could see. It really was a beautiful sight. But all I kept thinking was, Lord, you can create the heavens and the earth, the seas and every living thing in there, and you can't give me a job?
Then, as if the rolling waves delivered the word to my feet, the Lord spoke: "Compassion."
I froze. One slight bit of movement might make God stop talking to me, I thought.
Then waited some more.
When I couldn't wait anymore, I just said, "Compassion for what, Lord?"
Nothing. Not another word. So I picked up my Bible.
Excerpted from Talk Yourself Happy by Kristi Watts. Copyright © 2017 Kristi Watts. Excerpted by permission of Thomas Nelson.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Table of Contents
1 Compassion 1
God Sees You. God Hears You. God Will Help You!
2 Trust 35
You Really Can Trust God!
3 Identity 57
This Is Who You Really Are
4 Obedience 81
Love Will Set You Free
5 Forgiveness 101
It's Time to Let It Go
6 Praise 125
Find Joy in the Presence of God
7 Help 147
Discover the Power of Community
8 Promise 161
The Purpose Is in the Promise
Conclusion: How to Talk Yourself Happy 187
Scripture Wrap 201
About the Author 219
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Kristi does an awesome job of sharing her experiences and growth through the power of God and her Christian faith. This book is definitely one to read!
This book was very helpful and even healing for me. The title might sound a little cheesy but keep reading. As I went through it, I felt a sense of the Spirit in a way I haven't felt in a long while. Very uplifting and will help you get back to putting "life" back into your life with God.
Be Happy No Matter What! Have you ever experienced a time in your life when everything switches around, when the world as you know it suddenly tilts? Kristi Watts experienced that. Kristi seemed to have everything going for her in life Then seemingly overnight, everything changed. Her job on the 700 Club was gone, and with it her income along with a large part of her identity. Shortly before Kristi’s life turned upside down, Dr. Myles Munroe had given her a prophesy about her future. While he was a guest on the 700 Club, he told Kristi God had sent him there to talk to her! He had a lot to tell her, but one of the points he made was that changes were going to happen suddenly in her life, and Kristi should just say “yes, I’ll do that.” He also told her, “…and don’t worry about how, God is going to do everything.” At first, when things fell apart, it wasn’t too hard to keep the faith, to be confident that something new was going to come along, any second things would get better. But as the weeks turned into months, and then into years, keeping a smile on Kristi’s face, let alone not losing her faith, became very difficult. Despite blanketing ever possible place with her resume, she couldn’t get a job. Kristi began to have lots of doubts and discouragements with God. With no job or money coming in, she and her son were in a bad predicament. Years earlier, when her son was just a new-born, her husband had abandoned them, cleaning out their bank account before he left. While married, he constantly put her down, and condemned her dreams. Self-doubt began hammering away at Kristi. Maybe all those poisonous things her former husband said were true she wondered, perhaps she couldn’t do anything right. It was during one of those low spots, while talking with her mom, that Kristi discovered that the words that came out of her mouth could really make her happy, or sad—despite the circumstances she was in. Her discovery verified Proverbs 18:21: “The tongue can bring death or life; those who love to talk will reap the consequences.” She found how important it was to think before saying something negative about a situation. In other words, don’t curse yourself with your tongue! Kristi suggests saying positive things about your life, even if it currently doesn’t have anything good in it. She recommends following the advice found in Luke 6:45: “A good person produces good things from the treasury of a good heart, and an evil person produces evil things from the treasury of an evil heart. What you say flows from what is in your heart.” By following that suggestion, her life changed for the better, and yours will too. Kristi’s book takes us on her journey of applying that knowledge, along with faith, to many really hard things that happened in her life. From her ex-husband’s reappearance with a “surprise,” to coping with cutting remarks from friends, Kristi tries to guard her mouth while living through the fall-out. Talk Yourself Happy is easy to read. Kristi writes as if the reader were her best friend, and she is very real, telling her true thoughts and feelings. I recommend this five star book to anyone needing some happiness in their life, especially if they are facing difficult circumstances. Thomas Nelson Publishing has provided bookreadingtic with a complimentary copy of Talk Yourself Happy for the purpose of review. I have not been compensated in any other manner. All opinions expressed are my own.