The post is dedicated to my husband, Bucky Elofson, who has put up with my words, at their worst.
Please forgive me dear husband and thank you for the grace to hear the better of me.
This category, where Pen Meets Paper is the day to day life with words and the weight they carry. Lots of confession space and humility for me. (Ooch to these growing pains, but maybe we can grow together?)
Words matter. <www.biblegateway.com> yields 1222 results for a search for “word.” God made words carry weight.
The words, “We need to talk.” We have all heard them, from a boss, a spouse, a child, a friend, maybe a pastor. They evoke anxiety at best, terror at their worst. I confess, I have misused those words. Misspoke them in ways that created anything but life. What was I thinking? I did not know better, God help me. When I was first married, I thought I had the right to speak them. 😦 I mean somebody had to set him straight! (UGH!) The concept of praying before I spoke, was not even in my framework, yet. If I said, “We need to talk:” The hidden message could have been: “I need to make this different, now.” “You are wrong and I am right.” “You have done something wrong.”
In different venues, for most of us. . .you think what first, when you hear those words? I’m in trouble? This hurts already and we are not into it yet?! I’m going to be fired? He/She wants a divorce? I’m about to lose this relationship? No matter, what angle we take on them, they do not work for our Lord’s glory and relationship building. Can we agree not to use them anymore? Those words close the door in someone’s face.
After close to 29 years of marriage, I think I’ve finally learned something. Why did it take me, with my love of words, sooooo long, to get it? That’s just plain sad! But, it’s not too late. . .So I understand prayer before I speak, I understand more of a HUMBLE heart posture. The best I can offer is a heart with a need. And let it go at that. I cannot work the outcome or the result. So now I say, “I’m having a tough time with __________, is this a good time to talk?” It puts it out there as “my issue” not theirs. And the truth is, no matter what my “flesh” says about it, it is MY ISSUE, not theirs. Yes, it is more vulnerable. Yes, it puts the result/response in the other’s hand. Yes, it leans on God to see/meet my needs.
I can say, to a close friend, “I feel lost in our friendship.” I can say, “This is good, but it would be more helpful for where I am if. . . . . .” I can say, “I am so grateful for your support, with my new needs could we try. . . .” Now, I know whatever it is. . . is more about me. Most people that love us, I really believe give the best they have with what they have at the moment. I remember vividly the day God said to me, “If you really believe he is giving you his best,when are you gonna let him off the hook (that is damaging your marriage)?” I’ve never looked at a loving relationship, the same. Sure I get frustrated, tired, discouraged but the relationship is in the hands of my LORD.
I hope to never use, “We need to talk again,” with anyone anytime. What a prick to their heart! Ooch! But I try to pray, I posture myself small, and I ask for what I need. I try to tell people up front, what I’m about to say is not about you. (I forgot that in a recent tear filled discussion with a close friend! Still on a growth curve. So sorry dear one! She is still my friend, thank you God she chose to be gracious!) It is about me and where I am. It helps them be open to receive and consider my words. I want to open the door, not close it before we even begin to talk. Would you learn with me, to open doors with our words?
GRACIOUS WORDS ARE LIKE A HONEYCOMB, SWEETNESS TO THE SOUL AND HEALTH TO THE BODY. Proverbs 16:24 ESV