The Power of Language
Words are powerful. Take a moment and consider the words that have shaped your own life. What were they? Pretty? Ugly? Smart? Stupid? Talented? Show off? The list could go on for days, a trail of positive and negative language that imprinted on you from an early start. There are some words we grow up hearing constantly, other words neglected, and some that contradict each other. Whatever the case, words become the clothes we wear, garments of conditioned beliefs about ourselves, the world, and others. [TWEET THIS]
Words are transformative. When words contradict words it’s confusing, when words contradict actions it’s a shit show. My growing up was full of contradictions. I felt loved and I felt abandoned, happy and sad, spoiled and neglected, babied and abused, seen and somehow not seen at all. Words, overtime, began to lose weight for me, their meaning became void-like and untrustworthy. I didn’t want to lose faith in language, but juggling the polarities began to be to much to bear. To deal with the complexity, I threw in the towel and worked largely from only one side of the coin. I adopted single sided beliefs that left no room for questions, only answers, and I felt single sided emotions, playing off other’s expectations. This worked for a little while until the contradiction of truth inside me began bubbling up to the surface. Suddenly, words and meaning weren’t separate to me, but were felt, embodied, and remembered.
Words are body. The scripture says that, ‘the word became flesh and dwelt among us.’ Words hold memory, sensation, smell, and affect. [TWEET THIS] When words are spoken, they carry with them a face and expression that forever changes how we experience the word. Take a domestic abusive situation, on one day a wife hears that she is loved and beautiful, on another she’s called fat and mishandled. The word’s love and beauty now are associated with disdain and humiliation. For some, the meaning behind words has passed away and been buried. Can we hope for new life?
Words are redemptive. They must be redeemed and resurrected. How can this happen? First it’s recognizing the words that have shaped your life for good or for evil. Perhaps you write these words down. Next, began to attach narratives to these words, faces, smells, and emotions. Write this down too. Consider how the meaning of these words play out in your everyday life, your relationships, your faith, your insecurity, and your work. Now, It’s time to put to death the words that have harassed you for far too long. Take these written words, tear them up, burn them, get rid of them, and write new words that offer you life. [TWEET THIS] For example; the crippling phrase, ‘I’m not worth anything,’ will be tossed and exchanged it with, ‘My life matters and is meant for great things.’ Even if you don’t believe these new messages at first, that’s OK. This is a practice of reconditioning our minds with redeemed language. Words are powerful, transformational, embodied, and redemptive. My hope and prayer is that we would continually choose life words over death words all the days of our lives.
What words have shaped you?
What meaning needs to be resurrected?