I am not a woman of few words. Most of the time, I have too many. At least that’s what people tell me. And by people, I mean my husband.
Really, though, I do have an abundance of words that store up throughout the day, and when Shawn arrives home in the evening, they all just spill out. I vomit my day right onto his work boots, before they barely even get into the door.
I don’t think it’s my fault, though, and that’s because Dr. Phil said so.
About 10 years ago — and one of the few times Shawn and I ever watched Dr. Phi — he said that men have a word quota of about 13,000 less words per day than the average woman.
I don’t really know how that kind of thing is determined or tallied, but I can see the evidence of it at my house.
We have a word ratio of his one “Uh-huh” to my 200 babbling words about my day which usually leads into some kind of story that ends with, “Do you think she’s mad at me?” To which he says no.
And we continue on our way, both knowing that he had no idea what I was talking about. But I usually keep talking anyway.
Even if it’s awkward, and even if I spit when I talk — I’m going to come up with something say.
That’s not always a good thing, though, because speaking is a big deal.
Words are powerful and to quote Spiderman, “With great power comes great responsibility.”
They are instruments creating beautiful noise, haunting tunes, dance music, or off-key melodies. It all depends on which words you choose to say.
They can make you feel beautiful, tell you stories around a fire, propose marriage, slap you in the face, or give you a diagnosis you prayed not to get.
Words can make milk come out your nose (or if I’m telling the joke, cause groans and eye rolls at the dinner table).
Words can shine hope or shatter you into pieces.
And despite this array of abilities, sometimes words are just flat out exhausting.
Having the energy to wrap your lips around them, or even think them up before they make the trip outside your brain, sometimes feels impossible.
Because when certain emotions creep in, words start to suffer.
They get sharper. They get angrier. They can become threatening.
When it comes down to it, words are just a reflection of everything in your heart. Joy, anger, fear, deception, and sorrow — what we say can expose our current season.
I’ve seen beautiful, exciting, busy, hurtful, and just plain overwhelming seasons, and each of them seem to have their own language.
If you’ve read Ecclesiastes then you know that there is nothing new under the sun — although to us this would seem like an unprecedented time.
The language of 2020 is perhaps as disturbing as the year itself. The anger and bitter words that have ripped through our society reflect anger and fear.
In my own as well.
But that’s why I’ve learned not to rely on my own heart or surroundings to construct my seasons. Because my heart quickly turns dark and my words often follow.
This year (and honestly quite a few before this one) we have spewed a lot of ugly words at each other. Is it perhaps that as a country we have gotten away from His word and relied too much on our own wisdom?
If I fill my heart with His word then my own words will reflect Christ. If I allow Him to penetrate my heart then I will find grace no matter the season.
“A person’s words can be life-giving water; words of true wisdom are as refreshing as a bubbling brook.” Proverbs 18:4
We have reached a point where if we can’t show each other some love and decency then society is going to crumble.
That’s not to say it’ll be easy to bite your tongue at your coworker’s political jibe or scroll on by Aunt Martha’s offensive post.
But with God all things are possible.
We can change how we treat each other and it all starts with words.
First His words. Then ours.