Wednesday, June 28, 2017

"Shut Up and Write"

I love the quote by Abraham Lincoln, "It is better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to open one's mouth and remove all doubt." There is also a harmonious passage in Proverbs 10:19 that says, "The more talk, the less truth; the wise measure their words." (The Message). In the 21st Century, it seems that social networking like Facebook, Twitter, and the like, have become megaphones of mindless mischief and bully pulpits for many. Whether its political "punditry", sports related smack talk (I'm thinking of 2 specific annoying fan bases that I'll not mention here...hehe), cowardly "drive by" remarks about others, or opinionated rantings, the tongue seems to have a willing and eager ally in the keyboard. Even the most "reserved" vocal participant has a way of coming out of his or her "shell" when their fingers are turned loose on a computer, iPad, or iPhone. As a singer, writer, and communicator, I've been made acutely aware of my responsibility when it comes to choosing my words (verbal or written), and the power of life and death that they wield. I have carelessly used my word crafting skills and talented tongue to humiliate others (especially a certain fan base during football season....Ha!), gain some "cheap" measure of revenge against a perceived personal attack. And then, what's crazy and twisted is that I have actually tried to turn around and attempt to offer hope, encouragement, and healing to others using the same skills and talents. Of course, James royally kicked my tail on THAT when he wrote..."With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse human beings, who have been made in God’s likeness. Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers and sisters, this should not be. Can both fresh water and salt water flow from the same spring? My brothers and sisters, can a fig tree bear olives, or a grapevine bear figs? Neither can a salt spring produce fresh water. (James 3:9-12) WOW! That stings, eh?
Now let me add here, I can be an emotional dude who can be quite "reactionary" toward certain types of people and events, (and fan bases :-)) and I usually get my perspective twisted when I allow my emotions to write or speak my words. I've written alot of stuff over the past 7 years--much of it, for the sake of tender ears and fragile hearts, has remained UN-published. You're welcome!!! :-) I've found something that has become pretty helpful for me, and even a sort of therapy in dealing with my emotions (and obnoxious fan bases). I WRITE STUFF DOWN FIRST! It doesn't always completely satiate my passionate desire to hurl words like weapons at people who may happen to be rubbing me the wrong way, or provoking me to a negative response, BUT, it has a way of helping me empty out my overloaded "emotional" reactor. It gives me an outlet to process my emotion calmly and rationally (usually) before I say or write something publicly that I can't take back. This practice is coming in handy for me at present, especially over the next few days. I may respond later, but it will certainly be a safer response THEN than it would be NOW, if I were to spray my emotions of the moment wildly like a toxic pesticide over a field. When you carelessly let your emotions write your scripts, there is usually collateral damage. I speak from experience here. As I type, I'm being teasingly drawn into a potentially emotionally charged skirmish of sorts, and yessiree, there is a major temptation to unleash a well crafted shock and awe verbal AND written counter attack that could humiliate and maybe in some "cheap victory" way, vindicate me and my feelings RIGHT NOW, so ironically, this very blog is helping me to show some "restraint". (Physician heal yourself, right?) No, it's nothing serious, with world altering implications, just a distraction that is testing my resolve--an opportunity to rise above the insignificant and grow. So anyway, I thought I'd list a field tested suggestion that is STILL being field tested, that you may or may not wanna try if you're so inclined. :-) Here's the idea... Try writing your frustrations down first, before verbally expressing them, or blogging them for public "consumption". Read them back to yourself a few times, allowing yourself to "feel" the emotions of the frustrations you are expressing. Then read them to God a few times, not in some pseudo sanctimonious, religious sounding, oratorically skilled "fluff", but real, raw expression! Hold nothing back, and use expletives if necessary. Yes, you bet your butt It HAS been necessary on several occasions for me. And science has proven that unleashing some of those words can be healthy and therapeutic :-) You know you think those words in your brain, and you SURE ain't foolin' the One who understands your emotional "mess"! And then, after blasting the airwaves of heaven with your "sailor-like" tirade.........Be still and listen. I promise that God won't "smite thee"! I can vouch for that! He's had plenty of opportunity to smite me into oblivion! Sure glad His Love wins out every time!! Now, Breathe deeply. Play some soft music...not heavy metal, or rage inducing tunes, as THAT will defeat the purpose a bit. Re-read your frustrations to yourself slowly, thinking about each word. Allow the peace of God to put your frustrations in perspective. Continue breathing deeply. If after exhausting the steps in this process, you still have feelings to express, then by all means, write them down again, and maybe even let a trusted friend or spouse listen. By that time, much of the edge of emotion should be worn down, so you're able to honestly and thoughtfully express to others without the "emotional volatility" distorting the substance of what you need to say. Carry a notepad (I just dated myself, I know), an iPad, a voice recorder, or some means of journaling your frustrations privately. My iPhone (there, back to the 21st century...haha) has a notes app on it that works great. The point is, reflect on your frustrations before draggin' an audience into them. Process them. Yes, I know this can take discipline, but it's worth it. At present, I have a few things that I'd love to post, and a few people I'd like to "go off" on, but I'm listening to the voice, the whisper of Love Himself, as He calms me, focuses me, and draws me into a healthy perspective! Now, back to my journey, and your regularly scheduled emotional sh...tuff! Peace!

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