I recently got on a word kick… wanting to know where words come from, how they started out, how they are changed over time. Words that meant something centuries ago aren’t nearly as meaningful in the 21st century simply because they are removed from the context in which they my were originally spoken. I have a list of words like that and perhaps I will expound on it one day.
I’m fairly sure that words have always been important to me but when it comes to the Love language preference and expression… words of affirmation makes the list but is super-ceded by some other expressions of love. I’ve found myself more and more immersed in the world of words and it’s left me to ponder.
Recently I was talking with a friend of mine, we are co-laborers in ministry and friends of over a decade. She’s a real life writer, she has a journalism degree and she wrote, writes (present tense) beautifully published pieces. She is no stranger to a byline.
I read her words and I’m in awe. I find myself wondering how she can take such disjointed, separate things and weave them together to create a mosaic of literary beauty. It fascinates me and in some regards I’m a teeny tad envious of her abilities. (For the record she’d absolutely blush, and humbly deny what I’ve just said about her… she’s just like that.) She is the embodiment of a gracious, humble, writer.
So on that spontaneous morning as we sat around the table I almost fell out of my chair when she called me a writer. I laughed that loud obnoxious unexpected laugh, the one that can give way to the snorting laugh because I was so surprised. I adamantly denied her accusations. We talked of words and she made a statement that has left me to ponder the words, the writer, the wordsmith.
“So many words. Words. Words. So many words.”
In the context of our conversation we had been discussing the words written, words read, and words said.
So many words.
The value of them contingent on the context in which they’re expressed. I have always been a tad verbose and the more words the merrier. Alone they mean less than they do when woven together to formulate sentences and paragraphs, complete and coherent thoughts. There seem to be many words and I found it more and more difficult to muddle through them and pick out the ones of value. The words that matter.
The King addressed words once. In Matthew 6:7 he said, “And when you pray, do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do, for they think that they will be heard for their many words.”
Ouch. Are my words numerous and empty? Are they words just for the sake of words? Or are my words beneficial like those of Ephesians 4:29? Good for building up.
“Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.”
Words have power. They can build up and tear down, they can be beneficial or not.
I recently had a conversation with another friend. I had asked her a question. Finding myself in a frustrated situation, I asked her, “Do you not just want to say something? Don’t you ever just wanna be like, yelling your disappointment with the person you are frustrated with?”
To which she said to me, “Yes, of course I do. That is our human nature, but as I walk with the Lord, I have come to realize that I would rather have a season of silence, than to say something I would regret.”
That has resonated with me and I am coming to the realization that often times fewer words are better and Words. Words. So Many Words, may not be the best thing after all.
Do not be quick with your mouth, do not be hasty in your heart to utter anything before God. God is in heaven and you are on earth, so let your words be few. Ephesians 5:2