"We live and breathe words..." ~Cassandra Clare
How true is this statement. Words are very much the life and breath of our days. They portray our feelings, share our concerns, teach our children, effect our hearts, overwhelm our motherhood, cheer our teams, bring tears at times and smiles at others...I could go on and on. They, no matter what walk of life, fill our minds to overflowing daily. Whether those words are read, spoken, thought, signed or even dreamed, our lives are teeming with words to hear, see, and process.
The previous was something shared years ago in a post called "Words" early on in this blog's life. And recently it has come to mind again as the thoughts of sharing our stories and being transparent with others have been topics of discussion and pondering.
Writing for others to read can be an intimidating thing and I don't just mean for me. When you put down words or thoughts in an assignment, a story, a text, a letter, or a quick note, you are taking a piece of your heart and whatever it is full of in that moment and bearing it to the world. While all words can never be taken back, the written ones are easier to remember than spoken ones because the evidence is before you to be looked at again and again if desired and destroying it requires a purposeful, physical action whether it's just pressing delete or tearing up and burning paper in anger. I know I can't be the only person who has had an ex-boyfriend/girlfriend bonfire!
While we all have received notes that carry less than positive feelings, we also probably each remember times where left for us or sent to us have been words of full of love, thankfulness, and encouragement. The best are the ones that come out of the blue.
As we begin to abandon the robotic, social norm answer of how we are and discover ways to be more transparent with others in our everyday conversations we will begin to see and feel how others impact our hearts. A reader commented with these words when asked a question by a friend if we really should share our hearts with random strangers we just happened to run into during the day...
"...when we are open and honest and honest with people then it might cause them to be more open and honest and help them to share a burden when they might now have otherwise. It may be a situation where you are definitely out of your comfort zone, however, you may just have the story they need to hear. So, to answer your question, sometimes you need to open up to people close to you or sometimes you need to open up to a total stranger. You might be surprised how a total stranger or someone you barely know can minister to you in a profound way and you might minister to them in a way that could change the way they are feeling about themselves and therefore change their life forever!"
When I receive a message or a comment about something I said impacting another in a positive way it doesn't puff of my pride but calms my soul. Hearing that something you said or did brought peace or joy or understanding or support to another gives you confidence that yes, you are purposeful; yes, God is with you and is using you; yes, you heard and listened and obeyed. All of these things are true without the response, but as people who were created to be in community, the giving and receiving of words is part of us, part of our given mission. Proverbs 18:21 says Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruit.
Likewise, it is imperative for me to remember that if another's purposefully given words that show appreciation about something I said or did are so impactful in my life, mine to another for the same reason are just as impactful to them. We do not live in a world of straight lines where we give, another takes and that's the end. Whether it's positive or negative, what we do creates a cycle. What we give another always has the potential to effect what they give to the next person. What I desire to give is love and support to motivate another to continue in the way God has pointed them towards and created them to be so that they can do that for another.
But I know, without Him being the one ruling my heart, there is the potential to create the opposite effect. That is a fruit, that is not delicious to eat.
So friends, today I have a challenge for you, a task for the month of September that I hope you will not only join in on, but share it with others and then come back and share with me what you did, how it went, or what you learned.
I challenge you, as I am challenging myself, to contact five people. Think back in life, a week, a year, a decade, to a person who maybe just randomly or maybe completely on purpose spoke something into your life that changed you, something that was said out of the blue or with deep thought that open your eyes to who God made you or in a way you had never seen before. Find in your memory banks a milestone moment to your heart that was built with just the innocent words of one who did not fear being transparent in a moment. I know you have them, we all have them.
Step 1: Pray. Pray first. Let the Spirit within your heart guide you to the moment in the person so that the actions and words that come are not from you but from Him.
Step 2: Write. Call. Text. Whatever. Reach out and let that person know that this is what they said and it impacted your life more than they would have ever thought, because if you don't tell them, how will they know.
So far on my list is a teacher I had through elementary and middle school, a woman who without knowing has mentored me through really hard life situations, a reader who constantly encourages, a previous employer, and a young child whose smiling face never ceases to brighten my day when I see it.
I am praying for you as we conquer this first challenge An Inner Disposition is setting that you will not only see the cycle that is built from it, but it is one you will want to take on again and again, pray for me.