Have you ever wanted to say something to someone but were hesitant or afraid? Maybe to a relative, or a friend, or a co-worker? How about to your spouse, or a sibling, or even your boss? Why be hesitant or afraid? Why not say what is on your mind and be done with it? If it were only that simple. The fact is, when you say something to someone else, it usually elicits a response. If not a verbal response, then a non-verbal response. Perhaps a particular look, or a gesture, or even complete silence. Which, by the way, is a response.
Often before we say something to someone else, we try to imagine what the answer might be. Sometimes, we can overthink it so much that we end up not saying anything at all. Why is that? How did we get to that place? I do this all the time. I try to replay in my head what the outcome might be if I were to have a particular discussion or conversation with someone. My dear wife, Janet, catches me at this all the time. She will notice when I am overthinking my thoughts. Which is usually about a conversation or meeting I am about to have with someone else. Janet is right about this, as she is always good for me. She usually tells me to pray, relax, breathe, and, most importantly, speak from the depth of my soul. In other words: “Lighten up, Francis, be honest, be thoughtful, and use your words!”
I have realized for so long now that I have been doing the same thing when I write. I have crumpled up and thrown away a lot of paper over the years (I write the old fashioned way, on a yellow legal pad). I write something down, an actual thought that I had, and then analyze the heck out of it. What if these words offend this person or that person? What if it offends this group or that group? What if I offend my third cousin’s wife’s friend’s mother-in-law? WOW! Way too much, overthinking!
Well, I have been so convicted by God that I have decided I will allow Him to work this out in me this year. I will spend much more time searching for my soul’s words and a lot less time searching my brain for the possible outcomes. Do you remember the movie Jerry Maguire? It’s about a very successful sports agent who works for one of the country’s top Sports Management firms. Jerry has everything going for him. And then, for a brief moment, he decides to listen to his heart. He writes down what he calls a “mission statement.” He writes about truth and honesty and all of the ways that one should care about other people. He writes about putting other’s concerns and needs before your own or the companies. He writes down what others in his firm are thinking and know to be accurate but are afraid to say. He distributes this mission statement to everyone in the company, and then what happens? He gets fired. Speaking from the heart is not always easy. We do not always get the response for which we hope. Being honest and truthful can have consequences.
In 1 John 2:20, John speaks to the believers, and he says to all of them: “But you have an anointing from the Holy One, and all of you know the truth. I do not write to you because you do not know the truth, but because you do know it and because no lie comes from the truth.”
After going through 2020 and looking back over what a crazy year it was, I realized one fundamental truth. God never left my side. He was with me all the way. Through the frustrations, the disappointments, the anger. Through the joy and laughter, and the good times as well. He was always there. And so I know that whatever situation comes up, whatever conversation I need to have, whatever thoughts and ideas that I will be writing down, that I need to remember to pray and search my soul, which is where my Lord resides. He will always give me the right words to speak. After all, His truth is the only truth, and His will be done.