Let Your Words Be True
It took me a long time, a VERY long time to realize that, just because a thought crosses my mind, I don't have to give voice to it.
No, seriously, we do NOT have to speak every thought we have.
Words seem so innocent and have no power on their own. But, if we take them and give voice to them, they have the power to destroy.
OR they can build up.
That's the conundrum of words.
What exactly is a word? SO very glad you asked since I have Merriam-Webster open in front of me. (Note 1)
1. a speech sound or series of speech sounds that symbolizes and communicates a meaning usually without being divisible into smaller units capable of independent use.
2. any segment of written or printed discourse ordinarily appearing between spaces or between a space and a punctuation mark.
3. putting one's feelings into words.
Aha! There it is right there
In a nutshell, words have the ability, the power to build up. They also have the same power and/or ability to destroy.
Has anyone ever said something to you that made you feel like you owned the world?
Or, have they said something that made it feel like they had torn that world apart?
Go back to my very first sentence:
"It took me a long time, a VERY long time to realize that, just because a thought crosses my mind, I don't have to give voice to it."
Just reading that again breaks my heart and makes me want to cry at some of the things I have given voice to.
Do you get that? Have you been there?
On the other hand, words can build someone up and help them become the person they were truly meant to be.
And, guess what?
When you have the opportunity and/or privilege to do just that, it will make you feel SO happy that you shared those thoughts and words.
In fact, I have learned the best way to feel better about this person called me, is to find wonderful things to say every time I am presented with the opportunity.
For example, one of my standard phrases with customers when I am wrapping up a call is "and you PLEASE stay safe and well."
Nothing special about that. Really, there isn't. No magic power.
Yet, I had a customer the other day who went very quiet. In fact, I though he had hung up.
He hadn't. He finally said, with tears in his voice, "Thank you. No one has said anything even remotely that nice or caring to or about me in a long time. A very long time."
I told him it broke my heart to hear him say that, but I also told him he made me feel so privileged to be able to tell him that.
I hate bragging. I REALLY hate bragging when someone tries to get me to do it. But, just this once, I am going to do a bit of that.
While talking with my boss during coaching sessions, he always, ALWAYS, tells me how much he enjoys my calls because I have a special way of connecting with people and make them feel special. It just floors me every time he says that. And, humbles me big time, because I don't think I do that at all.
I simply try to pick out something someone says and make a connection with them over that.
It might be that they live in or have lived in an area I have, too. We start talking about that and go from there.
Or that they have lost a sibling, spouse, child, and we make a connection over that.
It is not difficult. It is definitely not rocket science.
Sometimes though, I truly want to reach through the phone and throttle someone. But, my Abba reels me in. While taking a breath, I hear His whisper in my ear planting a seed of something much better to say.
Far too often, though, I talk right over that whisper. And, I live to regret it.
That brings up something else from the dictionary about words: "a quarrelsome utterance or conversation —usually used in plural." (Same as Note 1)
We have the power to build up and we have the power to destroy with words.
"A good name is to be chosen rather than great riches, and favor is better than silver or gold." Proverbs 22:1
You may or may not recognize the name Truett Cathy. Yet, I will wager that you have enjoyed a meal at one of the restaurants he created. Does the name Chick-fil-A ring a bell?
Yes that Truett Cathy.
I asked him for advice, once upon a time, when considering starting a photography business and also combining a personal ministry with that. He not only read my letter, he responded with many kind, encouraging words.
He also sent me a copy of his book. He asked me to specifically read what he wrote in it for me. I did. It was Proverbs 22:1.
He went on to explain to me how that verse had guided him through his life. Every aspect of his life. And, it was the foundation he stood on as he built up Chick-fil-A and stood firm on such things as closing his stores on Sunday so his employees could go to church.
Mr. Cathy had absolutely no reason to respond, and definitely had no reason to GIVE me a copy of his book.
But, he did.
Did that make a difference to me? You betcha!
That was the moment I finally started realizing the true power of words.
I realized that words have the ability to build up; they also have the power to tear down.
The choice of how to use them is mine. No one can make that choice for me, but me.
It is the same for you and every other human becoming walking the face of the earth.
So please, before speaking words, give them some thought.
If it's an especially important moment - actually every time you speak - take a moment and send up a quiet plea to Abba for guidance.
Now, here's my challenge: take this coming week and try speaking positive, uplifting words every time you speak. Just try it.
I am very curious to hear back, if you would, to let me know if it has made a difference to you and in your life. More importantly, if it has made a difference in those around you.
To close out, here is an absolutely perfect song about words. Enjoy! And see you right back here next week.
Until then, please stay safe and well.