Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Words Matter

I'm a teacher and I always remind my students how much words matter. Whether it's the words we choose in writing a scene, the words we use when speaking with one another, the words we find to guide our prayer, in whatever way we are using them, our words matter.

Many people have gotten in the habit of choosing a word for the year. I've done it the past few years. I even have a copy of the book, My One Word. But I confess, by halfway through the year, I usually can't even remember which word I've chosen, Well, that's an exaggerations of course, (mostly) but I do find that words of the year are pretty much like New Year's resolutions for me - begun with fiery anticipation that sputters as the year progresses until ashes are all that's left.

So this year I didn't choose a word. 
Things were rough at the beginning of the year. My dog had just undergone two emergency surgeries and the prognosis was not good. Other family crises were consuming my energy - mental and physical. Choosing a word was too much effort for something I didn't expect to adhere to anyway.

But then in a conversation with another writer, I pulled out my word. Peace. No forethought, no debate, just a simple word with a very big meaning.

Peace because that was what I needed then.

But then I was reading Jesus Calling by Sarah Young. That particular day, the devotional was about peace. Two sentences caught my eye :
"Thank me when things do not go your way because spiritual blessings come wrapped in trials. Adverse circumstance are normal in a fallen world."

"Your weakness and woundedness are the openings through which the light of the knowledge of my Glory shines through."
Well, that sure wasn't what I'd had in mind when I chose peace.
But isn't that part of the glorious mystery of our God? He has a plan for us and it may not be anything like our plan for ourselves.
 Then this came up in my Jesus Calling devotional:
"If you have the world's peace - everything going your way - you don't seek my Unfathomable Peace. Seek me when things do not go your way, because spiritual blessings come wrapped in trials."

That really resonated with me. God is close to us in our brokenness. I should not have been seeking a peace that means no worries, life that is calm and good. Instead I should have been seeking growth and perceptiveness. I should have been opening myself to God in my trials rather than just dealing with them myself.

So, I leave you with this:

"Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.  And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus." Philippians 4:6-7

 So this year, in not deliberately choosing a word, I was given the greater gift of a word with such deeper meaning. 

And because we're writers, I can't help but think of the implications of such reasonings for our characters.

Did you choose a word this year?

Any thoughts to share?

Thanks for visiting.


  1. How is your dog? I keep meaning to choose a word but never get around to sitting down and thinking it through.

  2. Thanks for sharing this, Cate.
    I'm hoping your precious dog is better now.
    My one word this year is PRAISE. I tried to "ignore" it and get another word, but PRAISE kept coming back to me. So...I decided that it's because I want to live each day praising my Lord, even on those "not so good" days (like today....when my oldest kitty was put to sleep). Because Jesus is SO good to me and I have so very many reasons to PRAISE Him!
    Hugs, Patti Jo

  3. Thanks for asking, Pamela. He's holding his own. He's had one round of chemo and will have the next one this week. The long term prognosis is bad, but he's been acting like a puppy again, so it's good for now.


  4. Patti Jo, my heart is breaking for you today. I'm so sorry about Patches. I love PRAISE as a word for just the reasons you gave. I think one of the reasons I don't like choosing one word is because I have so many I need to focus on.

  5. I love Praise as well. I'm also going to use Forgive because I really want to try and forgive more this year. Thanks for sharing, Cate.

  6. Thanks for stopping by, Mary. What a wonderful world this would be if we all would forgive.


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