Friday, September 24, 2010

Can I have a word?

Image from Jennie Marsland's blog.

What is the first thought that comes to your mind when someone says,
"Excuse me, but could I have a word with you?"

I waver somewhere between feeling like I'm about to be sent to the Principal's office and thinking that I must have missed doing something/or have done something I shouldn't have. Usually, the word part is the part of being corrected, criticized or sometimes even scolded. Why is it when most folks hear such a statement they assume that the word is going to be negative? What if words were more often used to build up, affirm and even be a source of positive redirection?

How we speak, what we say, and how we say things to others is a great source of power and impact. Even the Bible has much to say about the way people speak to each other.

Proverbs 15:4 ESV, says:" A gentle tongue is a tree of life, but perverseness in it breaks the spirit."

What we think about even has an impact on our attitudes and speech. In the book, 'Breath of the Soul' by Joan Chittiser, she states:
"The fact is that we become what we think about. What we seed in our souls grows in us, forms us, becomes what drives us from moment to moment. What we think about during the waking hours of the day is basic to prayer. And prayer us also basic to it. What I put into my soul is what will shape me."

In addition to Ms. Chittiser's thought, I feel what shapes us is released in our speech and has incredible impact - either negative or positive - on the ears of those around us.

Think back for a moment to the statement, "Can I have a word with you?". Imagine that the speaker has something uplifting and encouraging to say. Think about what that positive statement would do for your spirit and in turn do for the people that you would interact with that day.

The ripples of a positive thought and then word have the ability to foster hope to a heart that is weary, bring a smile to a sullen face, and give the hearer an audible affirming boost that makes all the difference.

Our thoughts and words can be a means of elevating or depleting life; our own and the people we hold most dear. At the end of a full week, I am thankful to be the recipient of a kind and affirming word from a family member, colleague or friend; but it is also an honor to be the one who thinks and then speaks a positive word ripple to the people sharing the world around me.

Thoughts and words have the ability to transform the world around us in a positive manner when, through prayer and humility, we allow God to transform our hearts, minds and words.

Challenge: Take a day and mentally take note of all the positive and negative things you hear or say. What was greater? Did being more aware of what you hear and say make a difference? Make the choice to affirm and build up at least one person a day with your words - make some positive ripples!

Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.
Romans 12:2

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