Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Showing Wordy Love

My boyfriend’s mother said I looked like an alien.

Of course she didn’t tell me this. She said it to my boyfriend’s brother, who told his girlfriend, and then the girlfriend mentioned it to her sister, and the sister whispered it to my best friend, and you know how best friends are.

And therefore, I spent time wondering just what made me look like an alien and oh, yes, how to hurry up and change it.

Twenty years later, I still remember. It’s funny how a single word can transport us back in time and leave our heart smarting.

Recently, Mike Foster wrote an article for Relevant entitled, “Fat, Ghetto, Slut, and Other Words to Quit Using”.

After reading the title, I decided I’m not a big user of “fat, ghetto, or slut” and I’m not about to give up my occasional curse word, so obviously, his little post wasn’t intended for me, but I gave it a quick click for good measure.

First word on the list? Stupid. Bam!

Stupid. Oh, come on now, I like stupid. The stupid appraisal. The stupid grocery cart. The stupid drain. The stupid person I lent my library card to and then found myself with a $78.00 fee. Stupid library fees.

Stupid feels good.

Foster’s words got me thinking about my words and my words got me thinking about the sarcasm that gushes from my mouth like water from a Class IV rapid.

I wonder if maybe one of the easiest ways to show love for others is by carefully crafting what comes out of our mouths. Whether intentional or not, what we say molds those around us. We push and shape. We hold the ability to carve beautiful. So, why wouldn't we?


Let's start today. Now.

What words make your heart swell? What words do you shower on your kids, husband, and friends? What words do you long to hear?

: :

Speaking of wordy love, my friend, Alene, just put out an ebook entitled Giving Up Normal, and guess what? It's free. In it, she challenges readers to pay attention to the causes that make hearts pound and fists clench. Click over to here place to read more.

Linking with the SDG crew.

Image credit.


Photobucket

22 comments:

Loraine said...

Reminds me of something Beth Moore says about James 3:2. "This scripture intimates that one of the most outstanding signs of spiritual maturity is a controlled tongue."

Words that make my heart swell: You're pretty (from my boys and the Heath). I have been trying to be intentional in telling Bode what a cool/awesome kid I think he is. I get right in his face and look him in the eye and I tell him I think he is an awesome kid. He just smiles. It is great.

Words I hear: Ericksons, the Sullivans are passing through central WI and hoping we can stop by. :)

Great post, great thoughts. love you.

Loraine said...

Shoot, supposed to read "words I long to hear"

aseedinspired.com said...

solid goodness... I find I trap up my words inside myself.. and sadly am not letting the good ones out.
I would say it is stupid of me.. but since I Read your post.. I think I need to chew on a few things!
thanks amy.
T

Amy Sullivan said...

Loraine,
Ahh, the "you're pretty". Don't we all want to feel beautiful? I like what you said about getting down on Bode's level and looking him in the eyes so he knows you mean it.

T,
I find words trapped too. Most of the time, it's the things I don't need to say that fly right out of my mouth, and the things I should say seem to get trapped!

Amy Sullivan said...

Words I've been working on telling those I love:

To our oldest: You are creative and kind, a good cook and adventurous.

To our youngest: You are brave (when she dares the big slide!), a good friend, smart, and fun.

To the husband: You are a good leader.

To friends: You are creative!

To bloggy friends: You inspire me.

Gaby said...

I read that article as well. And been thinking a lot about the power of words (obviously from my last post) and how they shape our lives. You're right: little words you never forget.

No wonder James talks about the power of the tongue. I honestly love to hear just: thank you and I'm sorry.

Powerful stuff.

From Tracie said...

I read that yesterday, and it hit hard. I use the word stupid a lot. It is not good (and it drives my husband crazy). And I'm not even going to start in on my sarcastic tendencies (of which I have many).

I love loving words. Words of kindness and understanding. I need to use them more.

Jean Wise said...

Amy, I am pretty good in controlling words I use to describe others but horrible in using negative words in my own self talk. "That was a dumb thing to do" "Well failed again didn't you?" Guess when I cut out certain words it means in all my talking, even to myself.

Alicia said...

Oh, Amy, I am grateful for your challenge. Yes, our words shape, shape, shape. Scary, actually. When I hear my own words echoing from the mouths of my five little ones I often stop dead in my tracks. Is THAT how I sound? I love the idea of words that "make your heart swell".. think I'll make a list of those! Always a treat to linger here.

Michelle said...

Alien? Not a word I would think to describe you as. The word I dislike is diverse. My son is the diversity program. It means the state of being different. I know our school celebrates inclusion, so why not call it that.

Michele said...

Words - amazing how they can bruise, and how they can heal. I long to hear "I love you" and love to share that truth with my family daily.

I can't thank you enough for sharing/tweeting the library book club kits, and I think you especially would enjoy the book we are currently reading - Mountains Beyond Mountains by Tracy Kidder. It is the true story about Dr. Paul Farmer and his selfless work in Haiti. You'll see life, people, differently after reading his words. Can't put this book down.

xoxo michele

HopeUnbroken said...

you are some of the iron that sharpens the iron of me.
convicting words, and you weren't kidding when you said we wrote from the same place today! sigh. wish it were easier. it's that darn sarcasm. . . . . .
oops. darn is probably on the list, too, isn't it?
anyway, the importance of words. yes. we shall encourage each other in this effort, yes?
i often challenge myself to speak twice as much praise as correction with my kids. amazing the difference it makes.
thanks for who YOU are and for the words you write here. love it!
steph

Shelly said...

This is so true, Amy. "What we say molds those around us." I need to repeat this every morning before I get out of bed.

Kathy said...

Reminds me of the book The Power of a Woman's Words. It's so good. I highly recommend it. One of your comments reminded me of this book because you shared the different things you are working on saying to the different people in your life. Everyone needs something different at times. Thanks for your encouragement.

Jill @ Craft in a Northern Town said...

If you ask my 6 year old what the "s" word is, he won't say the 4-letter word that ends in IT. He'll say stupid. He's pretty much trained us not to use it. We try to tell our kids to show their greatness...their greatness can be good manners, a kind word, being responsible, so in our house "showing greatness" is the best thing ever and we try to make sure to say it as often as we can.

Nancy said...

First, I have to confess that a certain former boyfriend of a young lady who is very near and dear to my heart is known in my household as "Stupid (His first name)" I use the term, not as a pejorative, but as a description: "Whoever loves discipline loves knowledge,but whoever hates correction is stupid." Proverbs 12:1

Even words that are ugly sometimes have appropriate uses (and should be limited to what they actually mean.) And, I do hope, said young man will yield to correction and discipline someday.

I do have a tendency, however, to be much too flippant about the things that come out of my mouth (and sometimes my fingertips.) And, as Jean Wise already mentioned, I use terms about myself that I would never use toward another.

Life-giving words--words of affirmation--just looking long enough at another to find something I appreciate about them. And then actually saying so.

You, by the way, I consider the bomb-diggety!

Debbie said...

oh!! that someone EVER made you feel un-beautiful!!! errrr
I just have to share this heart busting moment: Tonight at dinner, my son told his stressed out sister that he was going to miss her while she was in NYC- that he loved her. PURE JOY to this Momma's ears!!
**THANK YOU for loving me Ame. I needed to know that today.

Traveling Pirate said...

Sometimes one of my nephews greets me with "Hello, Barbara." It makes me smile and laugh each time as it is so formal.

One day, when I stopped by my nephews' house, two of my nephews were playing catch in the yard and each time one of them missed the football, the other one called him "Barbie." "Nice catch, Barbie!" "Way to go, Barbie" Things like these remind me that I'm not their Special Occasion Aunt but rather their Every Day Aunt, the aunt they know well enough to know her strengths and weaknesses.

Cindy Bultema said...

Love, love, love this post for a bzillion different reasons.
I'm so sorry that "alien" got back to you - but grateful you brought it to light and are letting your sisters speak words of Truth over you. Like beautiful - inside and out. Generous. Compassionate. Caring. Amazing.
Please keep doing what you're doing, Amy. You are making a difference!
Cindy :)

Adriel (The Mommyhood Memos) said...

Here's my big one: I don't say "good boy" when my kids have done something "good' or when they're behaving well. I don't want them growing up with the underlying assumption that it's just their behavior that makes them "good". (Or that when they behave badly, they are "bad" people by implication. That's shame-based.) They are "good" because God has created them that way! Instead I say things like "good behavior" or "good listening" or "well done". Even bigger pet peeve? When people ask "Is he a good baby?" OF COURSE he's a good baby. What baby isn't? Even if your baby sleeps poorly, cries constantly, is a fussy eater, and never wants to be put down... that doesn't make them a "bad" baby. Difficult maybe, but not bad. So let's cut out this question people! I really, really don't like it! :) Thanks for linking to that Relevant article. It caught my eye in my email (I subscribe) but I never actually clicked over. I think I will now!

Alene said...

Girl - you are speaking my language. I've been trying to watch those words. I just recently read Andy Stanley's book Enemies of the Heart. Ouch. Ouch. Ouch. Our words flow from what's in our heart. Man has that had me thinking. There are certainly words I'm trying to give up -- fricking and suck and right up there on the list. I've just learned to substitute them from others cuss words - so it really is a heart issue. Mercy!!!

Thanks for the shout out girl! You totally rock. Hope those words bless your readers.

http://www.positivelyalene.com/

Karyn @ DFC said...

Wow, Amy. I really like your thoughts "I wonder if maybe one of the easiest ways to show love for others is by carefully crafting what comes out of our mouths." I hope that stays in my heart.

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