Words. They can be so simple. And they can be so complex. They can give life, hope, and inspiration. They can also bring death, discouragement, and destruction.
James says the power of life and death is in the tongue. I believe it! (And not just because it’s in the Bible.)
I believe it because I’ve lived on both sides of that statement. I’ve been the recipient of glorious words of life. And I’ve been the recipient of words that have crushed my soul and brought death. I’ve spoken (and written) words of life. And, sadly, at times I have also unwittingly spoken (and written) words of death.Death to hope … Death to dreams … Death to desire.
Not exactly something I want to knowingly participate in.
Words. I love them and I hate them. They’re so very important, yet it’s impossible to always get them right. That’s pretty sobering when the thing God has given you responsibility for is … well … words.
Communication is such a wonderfully tricky thing. Words alone can only convey so much. As a writer, I am keenly aware of the limitations of my words. I know my heart and my intent. Sometimes that comes across in what I write–sometimes it doesn’t. Sometimes I feel like I’m using an awful lot of words …
Yet saying almost nothing.
But I can’t give up. I won’t give up (as much as I’d like to at times).
And neither can you.
Words give language and expression to the deepest longings and ponderings of the human soul. Even imperfect words can bring clarity and definition to unspoken emotions and desires. At their best, words are a paintbrush–metaphors, allegories, and simple stories brushstrokes that penetrate beyond the intellect and breathe life into the heart.
At their worst, words are poisonous darts that destroy–rather than give–life.
So words are good. And words are bad. They’re powerful and they’re penetrating. They’re awful and they’re amazing.
And they’re slightly terrifying.
And they are just so, so available. At least the bad ones are! Careless words come easily–life-giving words take a bit more effort. Actually, a lot more effort.
Life-giving words come to those who seek them … diligently.
I think that is why so many good (and potentially good) writers give up. The good words–the right words, the life-giving words, the hope-filled words, the revelatory words, the inspiring words–don’t always come easily. And they don’t always come out right the first time (or the second, or the third, or …)
But they do come. Sometimes painfully. Sometimes inconsistently. Sometimes slowly. But they do come.
And the world needs life-giving words (even if “the world” translates into just one person in the world).
So don’t give up.
Someone very wise said “Seek me and you’ll find me.” That “Someone” is the Word–the Living Word. Seek him and–eventually–you will find the right words.
You’ll find words of life, from the Author of Life, because he has something very important he wants to say …
Words. Don’t give up.
I originally posted this about a year ago. Since I have (yet again) been contemplating the gift and responsibility of words and how to move forward in this particular season, I felt compelled to re-post this. Even if just for myself 🙂