They tell us that there is a significant disparity in the number of words spoken by the average man and average woman, on a daily bases. But in the same way that all statistical curiosities are basically a Rorschach test, we are left to our own imaginations to interpret what the meaning of this disparity might be. For me, words indiscriminately measured by volume seems a rather hollow index for reaching any kind of meaningful conclusion. It would seem, the content of what’s actually being said would be a far more relevant concern — regardless of how pithy or voluminous the conveyance.
I’m a person known for speaking my mind – a description often used both in disparagement and celebration of my personality. But over the years I’d like to think I’ve acquired a modicum of discretion and discernment – learning to choose the right moment and words, to best fit the situation . . . even though I still require a considerable amount of remedial discipline in this regard. But in truth, all of us are learning how to fine-tune the social filter of our communications — because learning when to speak, and what to speak (or not speak), is an art form that takes a lifetime to master.
Having long been a songwriter, I’ve been asked about my songwriting process, by those interested in composing their own songs. I tell them that long before composition there needs to be cultivation – a cultivation of the heart and mind. Because the only things we will ever reap from the uncultivated field of our vain imaginations are the weeds and thistles of an undisciplined perspective. Therefore it’s a false assumption, to believe that inspiration could somehow occur in a vacuum, apart from a preexisting context of perspective.
So I ask — “What are you meditating on? What preoccupies your heart and mind?” Because whatever preoccupies us most, invariably becomes our meditation, cultivating our perspective . . . and whatever grows in that field becomes the content of our words and deeds. But you don’t have to be a songwriter to realize that our words don’t just pop into our heads – rather they grow out of the ground we’ve been cultivating all along. This is likely why Jesus in Luke 6:45 tells us – “. . . for out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.” – reminding us that our words have been taking shape in us . . . long before they ever cross our lips.
Perhaps this is why we find so many on social media rehearsing out loud, their own fears, while exacting judgment and condemnation on others – they’re only reciting what they have written on their hearts. And maybe that’s why some folks remain silent, held speechless by a shame that binds them. But I say — let your voice be sure, not in the self-assured confidence of hubris, but rather in the humble acknowledgment that God is remaking you daily, conforming you to the image of Christ. To meditate on His word, to seek His Kingdom – making these, the very content of your words . . . and by all means – use as many words as you’d like.
. . . and sometimes our meditation requires no words at all.
This is an updated edition of a post originally published on Still Chasing Light