Most days I do, sometimes quite literally, on a good day they roll through my mind’s eye before I say them. Not so much on a bad day.
One of the main reasons that I began writing this blog was to get some of them out. My husband has been telling me for sometime that I needed to…I fought him on it for a good while. I’m not sure why? Oh yes I am that tendency I have that I haven’t mentioned for a while the need to do things perfectly – the perfectionist in me knows that all of my posts will have an error or two, a poor word choice, a missing punctation mark. However in a bid to farewell the perfectionist Anne I began, and she’s coping ok! She doesn’t tend to re-read what she’s written – which is a shame because it’s for her first and foremost! She’s getting there though!
The words I’m thinking of today are words I have to write, words I have read, words I’ve heard and words I need to rescue.
I have a number of year 12 reports left to write before Monday morning. I’ve written some, I’ve left some. It’s kind of hard to sum a person up in a few lines. Maybe they’ve had a rough year, maybe they’ve had a lazy year, how to say that kindly? Maybe best not to. I’ll get to work on it soon. After those have been done it’s time to venture to the shed that flooded on Wednesday night. In that shed, in boxes, are two big bookcases full of books that we’d packed ready for our move (in 20 days!!). I’m very hopeful that the boxes on the bottom of the box towers are full of clothes…but I’m worried that on the bottom of the towers are boxes full of words, words I grew up with, the words I read to my boy when he was little, the words I read and reread as a teenager, and the words I’ve put aside for when I “have the time”.
This week I’ve read some beautiful words written by students in thanks for what I think was a pretty average year in my class. Beautiful words that bring joy to the heart of the reader and build up.
This is what I love about words, maybe they knew this about me – in the end it always comes down to words.
Words are the thing I love.. As an English teacher I love the power of words, as a Christian I love that Jesus is described as the Word who became flesh and dwelt amongst us. I love that through His words God created, he called the world into being by the word of his power. I love that my bible is the inspired word of God.
I love some of the things God says to me through His words.
I love that through His word I know that I am …..
I love the power of words when used by the right people at the right time. Words in the right hands, are more powerful than we give them credit for.
However the same can be true of the wrong words in anyone’s hands/mouth.
I’ve said my share, sometimes they roll off my tongue with a fluidity that scares me – because once out they cannot be retrieved. Yes, repairs can be done, but it will never be as though they were never said. This is something that came home to me this week when I read some unexpected words.
It was an apology for some of the things that have been said to young ears, some of the damage done by ill-chosen words and poorly-expressed negative thoughts. I was surprised by the effect that these words had on me. For a number of reasons – the first being that I realised I never at any time had an expectation that I would ever read them from this particular source. I was stunned by the fact that they had been said. I’m remain unsure of the motive behind them, but there they were/are! I think we can also assume that the apology came as a result of some truths spoken. Carefully chosen truths, not cruelly expressed.
Words can build up, they can speak truth into situations, sometimes they can convict hearts and provoke unexpected responses. God uses His word to convict us.
Words can be twisted to hurt and harm but they can also be used to heal and make people whole.
I’m a strong believer in speaking the truth, as most people know about me. If you ask for an honest opinion I will give it. I try to do it in love. I know a few too many people who haven’t bought into the idea that it should be spoken in love. I believe it is the responsibility of the truth tellers to tell the truth in love, if it’s an unpleasant truth to tell – it has to be done gently, it doesn’t have to be a war, it doesn’t have to be a “it would be wrong of me not to tell you this” conversation…
Someone I knew many years ago who used to begin conversations like this – these kind of words can be very hurtful – because the suggestion is that it would be morally wrong for him/her not to say something, so if you are offended then it is your fault, he/she is doing the right thing before God in saying this to you.
I have met others, one who on our first meeting told me, “I speak my mind – at some point I’m going to say something that will offend you.” I really wanted to say (but didn’t) “well guess what? I’m the kind of person who thinks that’s a really poor excuse you’ve been using all your life so that you never have to think before you speak. I think that’s lazy and I think it’s rude to begin a relationship with someone by telling them that you don’t care enough for them to temper your words or thoughts. I don’t understand why this is ok. Why is it alright to know that you speak ill advisedly at times and have a pride in it ? Why is it okay for you to set me up with the expectation that at some point you’re going to say something to offend me ? I guess you’ve warned me so I can’t take offence. And what’s more it’s pretty clear I can never pull you up on it” …. the rest can remain unsaid and unthought, because I’m sure that you can imagine what happens next. It turns out this kind of truth speaker can only ever speak it – you can never speak it back to them.
And while that’s all good for the dispenser of thoughts, its not good for those of us who have the disposition that stores up the negative words. Words that have been said to us and about us. While the kind and loving words far outnumber the negative – the negative are “my self talk”. I guess this is something we need to be more and more aware of. (I do not like sentences that end in of – perfectionist Anne would fix this – the less perfectionist Anne knows she’ll waste time now that should be spent on reports and so it will go in as is)
What we say matters. What God says about us matters… why else would we be encouraged to commit His word to memory in our hearts and our minds.
As truth tellers, there are things that we do need to speak up on. But we need to be very careful how we do it – especially if it’s to those who have hurt us. Just so you know I have a million comebacks I’ll never use (I hope). Our words matter, some of us don’t do them well. Some of us don’t know them well.
Just be careful what you say, to whom you say it, and for what purpose you say it.
This is hanging on our wall at our place.
Think before you speak, is it;
It’s more for me that anyone else – and I know I still fail this one regularly… but I’m working on it! We all are. We all should.