I haven’t been writing much lately. Well, I haven’t been writing much and posting it lately. I still write, but it’s for my own processing and purposes. I’ve also been writing class curriculums, handouts, outlines, sermons, and treatment plans, so blogging has taken a far back seat to everything else I have been putting into words. I often tell people that we all have a heart language. For some it’s music, for others it’s painting or drawing or doodling or dance or basketball or shooting a bow and arrow. My brain thinks in pictures, and then I have to translate those pictures into words. Sometimes it works, and sometimes it doesn’t. There are people who have a hard time following me because I tend to use a lot of metaphors to convey what is going through my mind. If you ask me to solve a problem, I will visualize it as an image first and then have to translate it into words.
Right now it’s 12:23 am and I’m meeting a friend for breakfast in a few short hours, but I know that if I don’t get these words out, I will toss and turn, replaying them over in my head until I can get to a computer. Maybe some of this is my ever-present anxiety. Maybe it’s my inability to still let some things go so that I can put one day behind me and rest for the next one. All I know is that words have a lot of power in my life, and sometimes I have to thumb them out on a keyboard or else I feel like I am going to explode.
I have been a fan of the band Seether for a while now. (Insert your own personal judgement here __________________.) I remember driving to the beach with a friend a couple of years ago, and when I started playing one of my favorite songs he said, “Nice Southern girls don’t listen to Seether.” Well…
One of their newer songs, “Words As Weapons”, sticks in my head a lot. Part of the lyrics are:
All I really want is something beautiful to say
To never fade away
I wanna live forever
Talk about the power of words.
The power of words has been at the forefront of my thoughts lately. If over think what I say at work, it could be dangerous. If I don’t think at all before I speak, it could be dangerous. To be honest, I don’t know how people do this job without faith because I know, at the end of the day, that I have little, if any, control over anything. I can’t manage or control what someone hears once words come out of my mouth. A comment may seem harmless and obvious to me, but it could be received as completely offensive to someone else.
After one particularly frustrating couples therapy session, I walked away stunned by how many things we mean to say, only to have them heard as something COMPLETELY different. I can’t tell you how many arguments are diffused simply by asking the question, “What were you trying to communicate there?”
Words are powerful. They are also tricky. Just think of how many different languages there are in the world. There is an organization called Wycliffe Bible translators that seeks to translate the Bible into every known language. This organization is currently working on 2,195 language translations….and that’s still not all of the languages in the world!
In my two jobs, I have found that words are far more important than I have ever realized, yet far less genuine when over analyzed or rehearsed. What do we do with that? We’ve all been on the receiving end of a disingenuous speech or apology. What makes some words believable and others trash? What makes some true and others false? What makes some like sticks and stones and others like water?
I find myself more and more questioning my motivation for speaking. I used to be someone who “didn’t have a filter” or, as I recently learned is said in Latin communities, “had no hair on my tongue”. Now, I find myself checking my motivation before I speak or write or post or text because I realize that words matter and they shouldn’t be tossed around lightly.
I can’t control how someone else hears or receives my words, but I can control what I say and when I say it. If the pen is mightier than the sword, and my mind and heart fuel my pen, I believe it’s best to check their intentions before I fire off another blow.