Books · Things I've Learned

The Wisdom of Reflection



Sweet guacamole, what a week this has been for the world of words.

Sometimes the words I consume make me feel like I’ve pigged out on processed sugar and chemicals. Whether delivered from “news” sources or social media, fuzzy confusion and a sense of hopelessness seem to be the only nutrients offered.

I’m amazed at how readily people share stories and opinions that are only echoes of things they saw or heard 2 minutes ago. Especially when it comes to the hard and broken junk our world is struggling to process. I just don’t get it.

Over and over I’m drawn to the truth that words have power.

Words with no thought behind them can be straight up dangerous.  We post and repost, listen and repeat with capriciousness.

When did we get so busy that time for thinking was cut from our schedules? Give me someone who can say up front, “I don’t know what I think about that so I’ll need some time” and I’ll give you someone with more wisdom than most.

I deeply appreciate the time and effort that goes into crafting words born of reflective thought, prayer and humility.  It can be like hunting for diamonds in the cow pasture for examples of such and when you finally read/hear them they shimmer with truth and beauty.

For examples.

I’m two chapters into a book that is making me swoon. Home Behind the Sun by Timothy Willard and Jason Locy describe it like this:

“Healthy dialogue on important topics helps everyone when done well–with discernment and the appropriate motive. When we react before we think and pray about the content we disseminate, our light dims…If we simmer on something long enough, we will find what we did not want to find: our opinions laid waste. Reflection can house the grandest of notions and deepest of beauties.”

Willard and Locy talk about reflection as a quickly becoming lost art form. Which is troubling when it has the power to “show us how prideful our pens and thoughts can be and how lazily our opinions are formed.” Yowzers. I’m thinking we all need us some of that.

We are stewards, not only of the words we express, but also those of others we repeat and share.

Here are two other diamonds among cow patties I discovered this week. Regardless of how your opinions line up with these authors, you can’t argue with the thoughtfulness and reflection in which they were written.

Jeremy Courtney is the chief executive of Preemptive Love Coalition and wrote an opinion piece for the Washington Post called The world is scary as hell. Love anyway.

David Crabb wrote an article called Building His Church in a Refugee Crisis over at the Desiring God blog.

These men obviously honor language and story and the wisdom of reflection. Words, words, words.  May we be ever mindful of our consumption and production of them.

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