In Others’ Words: On the dotted line

 I keep a basket on one of the shelves in my office closet. In that basket I keep cards I’ve received from friends or readers or other writers. Words of encouragement that have blessed me, sometimes at just the right moment, when doubt pressed in on my dream or my sense of self. People took the time to say something to me … and to sign it … and I’ve kept the cards because their words made a difference.

The power of words — it’s talked of, written about … and yet, the way our words can influence someone for good or bad can be so quickly forgotten.

But what if I had to write down everything I said today? And then sign my name on that document in a “Yes, I said all of this today. I meant every single word I spoke.”

That act would give me pause.

The words I spoke — every single one of them — would be weightier because they would be scripted in black and white, ink-bled onto paper, in a for better or for worse kind of way.

No disappearing into silence, supposedly forgotten.

The reality is, even when the words I speak are over and done with, the echoes of them — be they blessing or curse — linger in someone’s heart and mind. Words of encouragement may fuel someone for the rest of the day. Or the week. Or even linger on into years. Words dipped in anger or bitterness or unkindness? Those too can shape a person’s day — or their life.

In Your Words: If you were asked to sign a written transcript of all you said yesterday, what portions you would want to mark out with a black Sharpie? What parts would you want to highlight? Who can you bless today, “writing” a word of encouragement on their heart?

[Tweet “Sign on the Dotted Line: The Weight of Our Words #lifequotes “]

[Tweet “Hearing the Echo of Our Words #lifequotes “]







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  1. September 5, 2014, 5:51 am   /  Reply

    Yesterday would have been a geat day to do this. I meet regularly with a Chris. counseling agency supporting their prayer requests and answers to prayer. Yesterday we again had some serious ones but also some major ground-taking wonderful answers. I’m still thrilled about that and those words can stand.

    • September 5, 2014, 9:45 am   /  Reply

      I hadn’t thought about the prayers we pray, Dee.
      What an excellent and eternal thought …

  2. September 5, 2014, 6:28 am   /  Reply

    I think I would not highlight anything – that instrument belongs in God’s hands, and not mine.

    There are things I might wish to redact, but I can’t remember them. Once one gets to a certain point, it seems that it’s easier to just say, “Give it here. It happened, I’ll sign, and take the consequences.”

    After all, I had the opportunity not to say them.

    More important to change would be tone; I hate being short with people, and I sometimes am.

    And I hope my words are a blessing and balm to you and whoever else reads them, as your words, Beth, have been a blessing to me.

    • September 5, 2014, 9:45 am   /  Reply

      Such a good point about chaning tone, Andrew. I hate being short with people too – and sometimes I am.
      And yes, you are a blessing to me – a friend to me.

  3. September 5, 2014, 9:47 am   /  Reply

    Ooh. This is actually pretty convicting. Because I will admit, now and then I’m prone to whining or ranting to friends when things are less than ideal. But those words linger…especially if they include something negative toward another person. And I don’t want that to be what people think of when they think of me.

    Words that I would be okay with highlighting from yesterday would be a few words of encouragement to friends. It’s amazing how encouraging someone else actually buoys me!

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