Words change reality

Are you conscious of what you are going to say before you say it? In other words, do you think twice before speaking once? This “golden rule” of communication has helped me from getting into misunderstandings with others. Are you careful to choose the best words to convey how you feel, your point of view, advising others, etc.? 

All too often I hear people say what they “cannot” do instead of what they “can” do. They give me the impression that they are unwilling to try something new, usually because of the fear of failing. Is this you? What if you were to remove this one word from your vocabulary and replace it with another? I believe you could put yourself in the driver’s seat and gain control of your life.

More often than not, the word “can’t” is the cause of your failures. Replace “can’t” with “won’t” and you will open the door to asking yourself the right questions that may help you to think “outside the box.” In other words, get you out of your imaginary prison. Do you say, “I can’t take a vacation,” or “I can’t get a better job”? By changing those statements to, “I won’t take a vacation,” and “I won’t get a better job,” you raise some important questions that need answers. Why won’t you? What’s holding you back? What are you not willing to do to make it happen? Many people have done those things, so they’re obviously not impossibilities! Start your own transformation by paying close attention to when and how you use the word “can’t,” and then repeat the sentence in your mind, replacing “can’t” with “won’t.” Analyze the sentence! You may be in for a pleasant awakening — you will realize that you “can.” “Whoever ponders a matter will be successful; happy the one who trusts in the Lord” (Prov 16:20).

Every word you speak changes reality — your own and others. We live in a fast-paced world. We want things done now or even yesterday. But, often we make mistakes because we don’t think things through and pay attention to the small, important details. Have you realized that we live in a world of instructions? Practically everything that we buy comes with a set of instructions. Instructions are a vital part of our daily lives and influence us more than we realize. It is important to follow instructions because these make us conscious of what we are doing. Following instructions helps us to omit the “cannot” from our lives and gives us the confidence that we “can” change.

Why should you follow instructions? Allow me to share three reasons. First, following instructions frees us from frustration. How often have you been in a hurry to assemble something? Did you have parts left over? Sounds like there might be a safety issue there. It’s easy to be overconfident when it comes to assembling. After all, who has time to read all of that fine print and count to make sure that the package includes the right number of parts? Ignoring instructions inevitably leads to some very frustrating moments. Ignoring God’s instructions for our lives will also lead to some very frustrating moments. How often we think that we have life all figured out, that we can handle life’s twists and turns on the strength of our understanding alone and fail to see the bigger picture. Proverbs 13:13 states, “Whoever despises the Word must pay for it, but whoever reveres the command will be rewarded.” 

Second, following instructions delivers us from danger. Whether it’s a tag on the cord of an electric hair dryer with the warning, “Danger — Electrocution possible if used or dropped in tub” or a street sign reading “Slow Down — Children at play” we simply cannot escape instructions, regardless of where we go. When these instructions are neglected tragedy is often the result. Scripture is filled with instruction that warns us of danger. There are many negative commands in the Word of God, like the Commandments, “You shall not.” When God says “no” it is because He wants to protect us from danger and provide something better for us. We would be wise to heed the advice of Proverbs 4:13, “Hold fast to instruction, never let it go; keep it, for it is your life.”

Third, following instructions enhances our enjoyment. When we follow the instructions that come with a purchased product our enjoyment of that product is enhanced and we discover that the product lasts longer when used properly and in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions. So it is with our lives. We will enjoy life more when we make a conscious effort to live our lives in accordance with God’s instructions. In some cases we can expect to live longer when we follow God’s instructions because we will avoid the paths, habits and relationships that might endanger our lives. 

Be conscious of what you say. Think before you speak. Trust in God.

Anchor columnist Ozzie Pacheco is Faith Formation director at Santo Christo Parish, Fall River.

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