Hawk Nelson's song Let My Words Be Life has been echoing through my heart over the past month....those of you who regularly read my posts span the spectrum from hard core Christians to live for today Atheists and I know there are a few Buddhists thrown in just for good measure. I love you all and appreciate the various relationships you represent in my life.
Nelson's song is a decidedly Christ based one - but setting that aside -the secondary message is also undeniably true. The words we use and the way we use them have the strength to impact our worlds and for good or bad affect every person we interact with - every day of our lives. The truth of that statement was brought home to my heart as I was skimming through the journals I have kept since seventh grade English - Mrs Petersons required daily journals to be exact.
It was a little scary to see how easily swayed I was by the words others spoke over me through my teens and early twenties, how traumatized I was by the opinions of others, the drama I generated over assumed or implied slights and the 'oh my life is ending - he doesn't think the sun rises and sets over me!'
To Quote Nelson.....
"Words can build you up
Words can break you down
Start a fire in your heart or
Put it out.."
I saw so much pain it in the years of journals I breezed through and I learned something very serious about myself and my relationship with words. It was easy to see that I was controlled by what others thought of me far too often and didn't have a deep enough anchor to withstand the storms that came my way when I didn't measure up. But in March of 1993 my heart was changed forever and my writing changed with it. Even though I was in the middle of an icky divorce, struggling to finish my last semester of graduate school, piles of my life stacked up as rubble around my feet I found that words had another purpose. Words told me that there were things I couldn't control, things I couldn't understand and some ideas that were too much for me to handle. AND that it was Ok. That there was someone who could - and did - and was - and that that person was Jesus.
Which really messed with me.
Because I didn't really like that idea. Since it basically said that I wasn't in charge of everyone and couldn't make everything be exactly how I wanted it to be..which I knew on an intellectual level anyway because my control would mean other people would lose their own control...but on a heart level? No way. I wasn't going there readily. So..kicking and screaming I had to be convinced that God was God and I was not - which is stupid when I say it now but some of us just don't have the personality type to take the easy road on anything. I went down fighting...and got up a new creation. Stronger, more confident, totally secure in the core knowledge that words have power change our world and bring light into darkness.....when backed by the Holy Spirit.
I love the next part of Nelson's song..........
"I wanna speak Your love
Not just another noise
Oh, I wanna be Your light
I wanna be Your voice
Let my words be life
Let my words be truth
I don't wanna say a word
Unless it points the world back to You
(Back to You)...."
Power pop or punk, whatever you consider them in your own musical vocabulary the words to this song have strength and meaning. They achieve the purpose of both reminding me to watch the control I give words (and thoughts) over my heart and point me back to Christ when I am getting worried or twisted up by the words of others. Too often - even at 45 - I have to catch my tongue- and make myself turn away from an onslaught of words that will not draw someone closer to Christ.
Because I don't want to say a word that doesn't draw the world closer to Him because it does matter. I want my words to be life..........