In the past several months, my conversations have become increasingly consumed with medical terms: diagnosis, prognosis, doctor’s orders, and the like. As I confer with nurses and try to understand the needs of my 81-year-old mother, my vocabulary increases as well. New words are beginning to flow from my mouth as though I’ve known them all along. But I also find myself saying things I wish I hadn’t said; and not saying things I wish I had. Have you been there, done that?
It isn’t any wonder that the advice of a doctor from my childhood, a doctor who introduced us to a very unusual vocabulary, seems appropriate at a time like this:
“Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind.” ~Dr. Seuss
The doctor is ordering us to quit pretending. Be the real you. Stop masquerading about as though everything is perfect, including yourself. I love this advice, but I have to say that I also see a flashing red light when I read it. It’s a warning that comes from James 1:26,
“If anyone considers herself religious and yet does not keep a tight rein on her tongue, she deceives herself and her religion is worthless.”
When the pressure of life squeezes in, our emotions default to old, unsanctified, coping mechanisms. Gut reactions. Involuntary responses buried deep within the haunts and hurts of our past seem to pop up like a pimple. If we actually listen to our own words, we find ourselves asking, “Where did that come from?” or “Why did I say/do that?” It’s an opportunity for us to see our blind spots, to bring them honestly and openly before the Lord. And, in the midst of all this medical lingo and doctor’s orders, we can come quietly before The Great Physician, allow His scalpel to cut away the scar tissue of our heart, and totally transform our vocabulary. You may not become the next Dr. Seuss, but your words will flow with a certain whimsy and grace, and bring a smile to the face!
The doctor’s orders?
• Be who you are…
• Say what you feel…
• Listen to your words…
• Keep a tight rein on your tongue…
• Invite the Great Physician, our Lord Jesus Christ to change you from the inside out!
“May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, O Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer.” ~Psalm 19:14
Cynthia (Cindy) Stiverson is a speaker, writer, and artist. In 1998, God gave her a vision for Woven: Women of Virtue Network, a spiritual formation and fellowship ministry aimed at developing relationships among women. She currently pastors the women at Newark Church of the Nazarene in Ohio.
Cindy considers raising her daughter, speaker/author Nicole Braddock Bromley, to be her greatest contribution to the world. She is married to Mark, the man of her dreams, and is loving life as “Grammy” to Jude and Isaac.