I have a love/hate reaction to the whole ‘word for the year’ phenomenon. You know, the practice of asking the Lord for a word or a theme, if you will, for the coming new year. I dislike it because we humans have a tendency to confuse the effects of that pastrami sub with double cheese we had for lunch with the nudging of the Holy Spirit. We’ve all seen far too many Christians with egg on their faces after loudly proclaiming the Lord told them something that didn’t come to fruition.
After the audition, my daughter was floating. Her face, shining with excitement, was split by the wide, toothy smile she couldn’t seem to control. As we made our way to the car, she relayed the experience, word for word.
“The director told me they don’t have a part for me in this one, but she said she loves my voice!” I murmured my agreement as she gushed on. “I started reading and she said, ‘Wow! I don’t know what it is about your voice, but it’s really cool!’ And then she told me I have a wise look, and that she can see me in her next film. She told me that if I’m not writing and directing my own stuff yet, that I need to start.”
You ever feel like you’ve got this Christian walk thing down? You’re coasting along, feeling like you’re doing pretty good when suddenly the Lord throws a celestial banana peel into your path. Then there you are, flailing wildly, and you turf it. Hard. And suddenly you can see that your footing was not nearly as securely planted as you thought. Ouch.
I cursed a blue streak this morning. I’m not quite sure what came over me. Perhaps it is related to the fact that my left ovary woke me up at 5:00 this morning; the pain shooting all the way down to my knee, for Pete’s sake. The ol’ hormonal roller coaster of my advancing years is…notably more intense than I’d anticipated. Or maybe I can blame Microsoft for making things so danged convoluted. I am convinced that they are conspiring to drive the average person insane so they can take over the world.
I woke up this morning with a problem looming over my head. It was not a huge quandary, nor a terribly urgent one. However, it was a bit of unpleasantness that I intended to see resolved. Today. As I showered, I mentally prepared myself for the possible confrontation to come. By the time I’d begun applying my makeup, I was geared up and loaded for bear.
Numerous studies show that if you smile, regardless of how you feel, your mood will be elevated. You can also cause others to smile, elevating their moods as well. There are physiological reasons for this that I won’t get into here. What I want to focus on is that the act influences the emotions. The same is true of our words. What we speak will greatly influence our feelings.
“Trusting someone to speak kindly when you are not present means trustworthiness in many more countless ways.”
From Listen, by Rene Gutteridge
I have trust issues. I was raised in a loving, intact, mostly-functional home. I’ve not suffered from neglect or abandonment. I have experienced the petty betrayals that come with being human, but nothing too traumatic in hindsight. No, my issues have nothing to do with such scarring events. They have everything to do with you.
I hung up the phone and felt my body shaking. Hard. Like a current of electricity was coursing through me. I had just been soundly lambasted for something I had written. Something that, incidentally, I had already had two other friends praise me for having the courage to write. I had never been verbally attacked like this before and I did not like the involuntary physical responses I was experiencing. I couldn’t stop pacing and shaking. I felt like throwing up. I cried. (I virtually never cry.) All in all, this really sucked.
Hurtful words. Sometimes they come in angry snarls and shouts of frustration. More often though they come disguised as just being honest, or getting something off one’s chest. The funny thing about that is that the one who is just ‘being real’ walks away feeling lighter for unloading their burden, while the other person is now left shell-shocked and wounded.
These are some words I stumbled across recently. I wrote them at a time when I was processing a hurtful exchange with a friend. It feels incredibly unsafe to share this, but I feel compelled to do so, unedited.