Let Go of Those Words

By Marcy Barthelette

As a writer, words are pretty important to me. I can’t remember a time when I wasn’t writing at some level, I even tried poetry but my attempts were less than stellar. If I’m to be honest, I am often guilty of using far too many words while making a very simple point. Our youngest daughter and her husband both have engineering degrees from Missouri S & T. Their math and science skills are incredible but each insists they are not very good at writing. I’m not sure I agree with that assessment, but they are certainly entitled to their opinion. We humans are usually inclined toward either creativity or the sciences.

If you have school-aged children, you will likely be familiar with the term STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math). It’s a program specifically geared toward students who possess those skills and/or plan to seek a career in one of those fields. If you’re on the fast track to a future in the sciences, your writing skills are less important and, in fact, you are taught to use fewer words and be very concise.

I have concluded that I often need to take a lesson from the STEM curriculum. A case in point is communicating with my husband. Ken has a hearing loss that he acquired while working on giant diesel engines in the Air Force. He wears hearing aids and when he first got them, both of us were called back for an orientation session with the audiologist. I was surprised to be included but quickly learned why. I had to learn how to speak all over again. Unfortunately, I don’t always remember to look directly at him when I speak or even to get his attention before I speak. This always leads to frustration on both our parts because he thinks he hears a certain word but it’s really something entirely different. I not only have to start over with his full attention, but I also have to use different words to remove from his memory the ones he thought he heard. I also need to keep my words to a minimum so he doesn’t need to hear so many different sounds. If I offer him a lengthy explanation of something, he soon shuts me out and when I ask if he heard me, he says he thought I was just “babbling”, a word that has since become an icebreaker in our home when my vocabulary gets out of control..

But I believe this lesson needs to apply to many of our conversations with each other and also with God. To be a good listener is an art itself and one that many of us don’t enjoy. I have to confess I sometimes find myself talking when I should be listening. One of the greatest gifts we can give to others is to really hear what they have to say and show a sincere interest in their concerns. When Jesus was delayed in arriving at the bedside of his good friend Lazarus and found him already passed from this earthly life, He took time to hear Martha’s complaints that He could have saved her brother if he’d just come sooner. After comforting Martha, Jesus brought her brother back to life, but He listened first. Our encounters won’t be that dramatic but we can always listen to someone else’s words when he or she is hurting or confused or lonely. 

I have a necklace with a very succinct translation of John 3:13. It reads, “He loves, He gave, We believe, We live”. The message is clear and just might resonate better with an unbeliever than a lot of fancy words. Sometimes we need to get back to basics.

Before I close with fewer words than usual, I’d like to add this little adaptation by Rudolpho Lamas in his book, The One Hour Bible titled The Bible in 50 Words:

God made, Adam bit, Noah arked, Abraham Split, Joseph ruled, Jacob fooled, bush talked,

Moses balked, Pharaoh plagued, people walked, sea divided, tablets guided, promise landed,

Saul freaked, David peeked, prophets warned, Jesus born, God walked, love talked,

anger crucified, hope died, Love rose, Spirit flamed, Word spread, God remained.

Of course, all the other words between the beginning and the end create a rich spiritual tapestry, they are a symphony to our yearning ears. Maybe where the Bible is concerned, more is better. Share God’s word with someone today.

PS…allow me please to thank each of you who have left an encouraging comment on the church blog or sent a personal text or email. Your support is greatly appreciated. I’m learning as I go and as long as God keeps sending me words, I’ll keep serving Him with the gift He has given. Thank you.

6 Responses to “Let Go of Those Words”

  1. Pat Van Winkle says:

    Thank you Marcy. You do have a gift of words and writing. We are blessed to have you share spiritual messages with us.

  2. George Perkin says:

    Atta girl!

  3. Linda M Perkin says:

    Always look forward to your articles. Thanks for helping us to learn God’s messages.

  4. Pat Laing says:

    I always enjoy your posts, but this one was very educating for me. I have been told by one of my 3 daughters “To Much Information Mom” Guess I need to use less words at least with her.
    The hearing info–Mine is not good, I hear a lot of mumbling when my family is together. Can’t afford hearing aids so There might not be a solution there.I was amazed at the information and instruction You received.
    By the way I am blessed by your Gift from our Lord!
    Thank you for sharing it.

  5. Bill Shireman says:

    Thanks for your article this week. Very good information about hearing and getting the person’s attention then speak directly and concisely. I have hearing aids and that would help a lot all the time.
    Also appreciate the 50 words. I’m going to share them.

    • Arne Larsen says:

      Thank you for emphasizing the importance of listening first. To your point of fewer words, Jesus used just three words to bring forth Lazarus – “Lazarus, come out!” Powerful message. Thank you, Marcy.

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