by Amy Cravey, Texas

You cannot escape them. They permeate your mind. They float through one ear and out the other. You mindlessly rattle them off one by one. You see them everywhere you go! You are surrounded by them and they cover surfaces everywhere you look! And I for one am exhausted by them. WORDS.

They look beautiful painted on some unique, upcycled treasure. LOVED. LIVE, LOVE, LAUGH. I LOVE YOU TO THE MOON AND BACK. Blah, Blah, Blah. Your new best friend twists and turns them so eloquently in her new blog. She gives lovely marriage, parenting, and cooking advice. Blog, Blog, Blog. The internet is at your beckoned call with anything you may (or may not) want to be informed about. War here, peace there, boycott here, #fillintheblank there. Tweet, tweet, tweet.

So what is my problem? Am I not being a tad hypocritical? Probably. I am a sucker for anything handmade and have a few tattooed art pieces in my home. I follow different writers and, oh look, I am writing for a blog myself! I am simply worn. Worn like an old sweater that gets drug around to all your favorite hangout places and finally QUITS. The once-tight waistband is now stretched out, the neck line isn’t exactly where your neck really is, and there are just all these raveled places that at any minute can destroy the whole sweater if snagged just right. The non-stop barrage of words is like a ragged fingernail, a loose door trim, or a mysterious place on your car door where your favorite sweater is snagged. One word spoken or written without consideration unravels years of self-confidence, hard work, a courageous spirit, or even encourages bad choices that yank at that rogue piece of yarn. And then it all unravels. The favorite, comfy sweater is gone just because of that one loose thread that caught on the nail of a word.

The words that are spoken and written on a non-stop basis have, well, no basis most of the time. Yes, we have lived and learned and loved and lost and feel like everyone else needs to hear about it. Maybe so. Or maybe NO. Or maybe not yet. Or maybe let’s sit back and pray over what comes from our mouth and our computer. Just because the word is good doesn’t mean it is good for that time. What else might be good for that time is to sit and listen to the person you want to lavish your words on. Sit and listen to their words. Sit and hug them and show them love. I think we were taught that actions do speak louder than words when we were young. I guess we have been too busy being loud rather than sitting quietly to remember that wisdom.

Now, you may ask, “Really? Really? Do all of us need to listen to the nonsense on this paper or just, you know, those people?” Well, yes we ALL do. Even the wonderful bloggers, and professional speakers, and highly anointed teachers need to always consider their words. Maybe even be quiet for a while. Matthew 12:36 says, “But I tell you that men will have to give account on the day of judgement for every careless word they have spoken.”   I, for one, do not want to give a careless word of “advice” to someone. I do not want to craft a beautifully, stenciled work of art that has a careless word. I certainly do not want to peck on my keyboard a poetic paragraph that my Lord will see as careless.   This means even if it’s a really GOOD word, it’s not always a GOOD TIME for your GOOD WORD. That would be careless to throw it out there anyway.

My heart desires to think before I speak (or type or paint). My mouth sometimes doesn’t always concede with this plan. However, maybe if I listen first, hug second, speak third, I will see some victory over my careless words. If I can tune into the words of my Lord and the person in front of me, show some love in action, and wait for the prompting of what to speak, I can be more effective in loving people. Maybe my words will knit their comfy sweater back to its original glory and it will be no worse for the wear it has endured: fitting correctly around the neck and arms, snugly sitting at the waist, and warm and cozy as intended.

A word aptly spoken is like apples of gold in settings of silver.” Proverbs 25:11