Words

 

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Words.

 

Words matter.

 

Words comprise language and the knowledge of them equips us to read. Some of us are fascinated by them and study them and their meanings (semantics). Others of us give them little consideration, but words matter. They distinguish us from all other forms of creation.

 

Research published in 2013 suggests that the average woman speaks 20,000 words per day. “Average” woman implies some speak more and some certainly speak less. Even so, just imagine if you are a woman that many words have come out of your mouth from the first word groggily spoken in the morning until the last sleepy word before nodding off to sleep at night.

 

That same research suggests the average man by comparison speaks 7,000 words per day. Such a contrast can already have you scratching your head and considering how much that influences a disconnect that can happen in communication between the genders.

 

God has created us as the psalmist says “fearfully and wonderfully.” The complexity of the brain begins to take in sounds and words while we are still in the womb. We learn the rhythm and tone of our mother’s voice before she ever holds us in her arms. When she does speak to us, she begins to use words and then tell us what they mean.

 

Mothers tell us the names of our body as they play with our toes and tickle our nose. black-and-white-data-definition-267669They tell us the meanings of words that describe feelings. In a very short time before we can speak we come to know and understand a variety of words. Words spoken to us and about us become our first vocabulary, but in a few short years as we begin to learn to read that skill starts to explode our knowledge and use of words. And the amount we read determines how many words we are exposed to and begin to use.

 

If we read more than 20 minutes a day, we will be exposed to 1.8 million words per year. By comparison if we read just less than five minutes a day, that number drops to 282,000 words in a year and if only a minute a day is used to read we are only exposed to 8,000 words per year.

 

You might be surprised to learn that even though we think students in school will compose the group who read the most, survey data of Americans show that those who are 75 years old and older actually read the most.

 

A 2017 Bureau of Labor Statistics report shows the average length of time we spend reading is 16.8 minutes per day. Compare that to the average length of time of 166.2 minutes per day spent watching TV. That speaks volumes to the words we choose and use regularly.

 

beach-clouds-dawn-391522There are many reasons why words matter and impact us. Scripture speaks of that powerfully in John 1:1:

 

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.”

 

 

This verse refers us back to Genesis of course and when we go there, we discover that God spoke (used words) to speak creation into existence until He came to creating humanity.

 

Scripture has more than one or two verses to remind us of the power of our words and how we should take care to use them. Many of them appear in the book of Proverbs. Here are just a few:

 

Proverbs 11:9 “Evil words destroy one’s friends; wise discernment rescues the godly.”

 

 Proverbs 11:12 “It is foolish to belittle a neighbor; a person with good sense remains silent.”

 

 Proverbs 11:17 “Your own soul is nourished when you are kind, but you destroy yourself when you are cruel.”

 

 Proverbs 15: 1 “A gentle answer turns away wrath, but hard words stir up anger.”

 

 

Our words have the capacity to wound or heal, tear down or build up, erode or accusation-anger-angry-984950nourish relationship.

 

Our words are distinct from us and yet they are also the manifestation of our minds and hearts. Things and the words that describe them are what our thoughts are made up of. They come from what we take in through reading, conversation, and every form of media. The attachments we develop from them help inform our hearts and affection.

 

Despite being distinct from us, the words we speak tell those who hear those words a great deal about us whether they are spoken casually or with consideration.

 

Scripture teaches us our words can speak life or death.

 

These things remind me that I have a great deal of responsibility for the words I speak or write. They also remind me that I need to consider carefully the sources of words I am subjected to daily.

 

“A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of.”

Luke 6:45 (NIV) 

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12 thoughts on “Words

  1. I just love this! As a writer and a dedicated reader I have tried to hard to pass this love of words onto my children.

    1. I pray that you are successful with passing on that love! Our daughter has done that well with her four children and all of them love to read and also have developed a love of writing. She homeschooled them and they were reading classics early in grade school.❤️

  2. Yes, my husband has preached often on the difference between women and men and the number of words they speak in any given day. Loved the thoughts of our mothers speaking over us from the beginning.

  3. So interesting. I love the research. On our news yesterday, I heard of a woman who is knitting a scarf in city council meetings. Red stitches are for every time a man talks, and green for a woman. The scarf is mainly red. I wonder if women hold back their words too much when in positions of creating change, leadership, and overall politically? Regardless, you remind me that the words I take in so much a part of what words come out!

    1. What an interesting story about the scarf! I wonder if it also relates to how much men dominate political arenas. Have a beautiful day, Lynn🌺

  4. Words really do matter. I think we forget the responsibility we have for our words. I love the quote by Anne Graham Lotz, I know my words get in the way of my listening at times. He speaks and I am caught up in my own words. Thank you for so many great reminders!

  5. Pam, what an interesting post! When I saw the simple title “Words” on Tarah’s link party, I just had to check it out. I think I talk a great deal less than most women and probably come closer to the men’s average number of words per day than the women’s. “[Words are the] manifestation of our minds and hearts.”–Well said!

    1. Thanks so much, Jean! I’m glad the title peaked your interest to read the rest. We can be so careless with our words so often that we fail to remember their impact and when we discover it wasn’t positive, we are then surprised how hard it is to undo the damage. Have a great day!!🌹

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