Wednesday, April 26, 2017

for when you need to say things out loud

I remember what his face looked like.  The expression of complete regret and fear with eyes that were starting to show relief.  He sat across the room, knees apart serving as a place to set his elbows, hands up ready to catch his head if it fell forward from the raw emotion swimming inside.  I knew what was coming and even though it was the last thing I wanted to hear, I begged for him to just say it, say it out loud, because then the ice would be broken, then it would be out in the light...

Our lives revolve around communication.  Even in the most isolated places on earth there is language, the ability to speak and respond in some manner so that community can work together, rejoice together, disagree with one another, and live life.  However, unless you are under the age of 4, one can not just go around saying aloud every thought that comes through the mind.  Honestly the under 4 category probably shouldn't either but so far I have yet to find someone with the skill to enable that filter.

Words harm and words heal.  The phrase "If you don't have anything nice to say then don't say anything at all" is well shared among the southern states.  It is also well known that if you are told hundreds of wonderful, positive things about yourself and then one negative, it's that one negative that will stay with you the longest.  It is for these reasons that we are told to be kind to one another...(Eph. 4:32) and to no unwholesome word come out of your mouth but only what is good for building others that it gives grace to those who hear it. (Eph. 4:29)

Filters are a valuable thing.  They strain out impurities so that what you are taking in holds only that which is good for you.  In the world this may be referred to as your conscious.  Good ol' Jiminy Cricket sang a very catchy song about letting your conscious be your guide.  Listening to the inner voice telling you what is right and wrong.  In Christianity, we believe this is the Holy Spirit.  What Jesus left with his children here on this earth living inside you and guiding is your filter. Through it, with knowledge of the Word, filters our words, actions, and thoughts sifting out impurities and changing them to be more like Christ.  A point worth mentioning however, is that whether we follow the Holy Spirit's leading or not we are still loved and forgiven and never left alone.

I know no one who does not have regret over something they said that they wish they could take but as we talk today about words we speak, it's not the ones we have said to others that is the focus, it's the ones we haven't said, the ones we hold onto inside.

Maya Angelou said, "There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you." And while it is easy to immediately think that she is referring to letting out that budding writer that may be inside some, it can also be very easily applied to the story we each live out.  Each life is a story written by the greatest Author, meticulously planning and allowing experiences that will mold and shape us to become what He has designed us to be at story's end.  But within life there is beauty and despair, joy mixed with sorrow, refining and rebuilding that needs to be done and our hearts and minds often want to pull away instead in hopes to keep away the difficult parts of the process.

While much concentration is done to learn to filter our words and only let out what is helpful to others, there is an equal amount of concentration by us to hold our words inside because of what others may think if we let out our true selves.  

I would be willing to bet there is at least one thing that even right now you are keeping inside, afraid to say out loud because of how it might come across, how it will sound, how it makes you sound, because it may be wrong or because of what another may think as soon as you finish the sentence.

If you are scared to say something, that is a usually a good sign that you need to say it!

Words can eat at you if you leave them hidden, causing agony as Mrs. Angelou said, and worse keeping them in darkness, away from the Light, where they can be twisted so violently that you begin to believe the lies instead of allowing in Truth.

As a "counselor in dreaming" I have developed a simple two step process to help release those words from inside your heart.

1.  Find someone to say them to-  Lucky for you, there are two people with you all the time that you can speak to.  One is yourself, the other is God.  Yes having a bosom friend or spouse who will listen and love you no matter what you say is a pearl above price, but please do not think you need to drive anywhere, wait for your next girls' night/bible study/community group/workout/counseling session or wherever else you might have conversation.  The first priority is not to have your words heard, it's to get them out and give them a voice.

2.  Say them out loud-  Quite often this one small but not so small action is the only thing needed to bring healing and relief to your soul.  It takes courage to speak out the things you have hidden and as soon as the words have left your lips there can be peace and understanding that what you have feared so much to say may not be scary after all.  This one action is an act of faith and that act is rewarded with a precious peace that passes all understanding.

Everything we say out loud that is bottled up inside will not be right.  We have hearts full of sin and our thoughts will skewed, our opinions will be unjustified, our words will be full of envy, or unforgiveness, or doubt.  Even if more steps need to be taken to process through whatever the words reveal, they will be out, confessed, given a voice, and brought into the light and THAT is when healing can begin, when perspective is given, when wisdom is gained, and when our inner dispostions begin to change.

You may say hard things, you may hear harder things but He is faithful and just...He will cleanse us from all unrighteousness. (1 John 1:9)

I pray that you will give all the parts of your story a voice so He can do just that, pray for me.

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