Kind words are like honey – sweet to the soul and healthy for the body. – Proverbs 16:24
My sweet little energetic boy is growing so fast. He’s loosing teeth, riding a bike, and most of the way through first grade. In the last few months he’s learned to add, subtract, create, read, write, and do more things on his own. I’ve watched him go from only being able to write his name to writing a whole story. Yes, just this week he concurred a new mile stone: writing his first whole story. It’s 4 pages long, has a beginning, middle, and end with a conflict and problem solution. I’m so proud!
This little toddler who used to sleep surrounded by stuffed animals, is now sleeping with several piles of his favorite books. And arranging his plush animals in reading positions too. Reminds me of my own childhood. I don’t remember a day when I wasn’t reading!
Books and words are my life. Now more than ever these days. When I chose to be a writer, I didn’t realize the hold it would have over me. My brain is constantly swimming with stories, scenarios, names, and words of all shapes and varieties.
With such a jumbled mess floating around, it’s sometimes difficult to choose which words are the most important to say or write. With billions of different combinations at our disposal, what is the right word for the right moment? Which phrases do I give the power to speak?
During this time of isolation, words have become one of the few things we have control over. And the avenues we say these words have grown tenfold, even from our homes: social media, phone conversations, live streams, videos, emails, messages, texts, blogs, etc. etc.
When we are face to face, we can let our body language do half the talking. Now – during this techno era and especially during quarantine – our social life has been stripped away. Words and pictures are all we have to communicate.
And our world is definitely trying to communicate! Breaking news is constantly interrupting our daily lives with depressing details, strangers on the internet are telling us how to live our lives, and everyone has an opinion on how to properly homeschool your kids and maintain a sane household.
With a world of billions and billions of words and phrases, there really are only two types of idioms: positive and negative. The optimist and the pessimist. The healing and the diseased.
I’m not talking about fact or fiction. I’m talking about how the phrasing of a sentence, or collection of sentences, is received in your soul. You can give the same information and have a totally different outcome on how it affects you. Here’s an example:
School will be out for at least one month, probably the entire rest of of the school year. Get ready to have zero time to yourself, get nothing personal done, and go crazy with your loud and interrupting kids. Your spouse will still have work to do, so be prepared to do everything on your own.
Gosh, I became depressed just writing that. But I didn’t say anything false about our current situation, did I? School is out until April, at least, and I have zero time without Riker, while Andrew still goes to work and has very little energy to help when he’s at home. Why are these statements wrong to say? Well, let me put all those facts in a different way:
Summer vacation starts early this year. But don’t worry, your kid’s teacher is there to supply you with lots of activities to do with your kid for the first few months of vacation. Now you get to be hands-on in watching your child read, write, and do activities you would normally miss because they did it within a school building. You will suddenly have time to teach your kid to ride a bike, tie his shoes, and make sure he doesn’t eat the wrong things at lunch time. You no longer have to feel guilty about putting him in front of the tv so you can get some writing done, because he just spent the whole morning active with you! You will now have time to clean, to do some DIY projects, etc. And why not train your child to help with all of these activities? Yes, you might not get alone time, but maybe there’s a way to reschedule your day to make some of this time happen? Maybe there’s an art project you can put your kid on that will just give you 5 minutes at a time. Let’s be thankful for those 5 minutes instead of groaning about the hour(s) we lost! Be thankful your spouse still has a job to go to during this time. And if he/she gets laid off, let’s be thankful for the extra time we get to spend together, to get to know each other even more. This quarantine will NOT last forever. Say it with me: it WILL NOT LAST FOREVER. This is a vacation from busy life, so let’s make the most out of this extended time with our kids and spouse.
I could go on, but I hope you get where I’m coming from. It comes down to a choice: What words will we give power to?
The words we choose to listen to dictate how our days will end up. Will we sulk on the couch overcome with depression, anxiety, and lamenting over what we lost? Or will we see the time we gained, the opportunities around us, and the growth this could bring to our family?
God uses words to create wellness. “For the word of God is living and active…” (Hebrews 4:12) Every miracle, every healing, every act of salvation has a common denominator: words. Put God’s words into action. These words take action and invoke power when we believe. There can be no deliverance and healing unless we act on God’s words.
The easiest thing right now is to be hard on ourselves and to be consumed in what little we can do. Start small: change someone’s life by offering a positive word. Just one. Give them hope. And tomorrow, that hope can become faith, and faith brings a reality of joy.