Mincing Words

Written by Dan Seaborn on . Posted in Local

dan seabornHere are three. And three more. Now two. One.

How many words do you use in a day? Or how many do you type? Or how many do you think? How many do you hear and see?

Studies would tell you that the counts are in the thousands for each of us: words, words, words, all the time and everywhere. And even though through texting we don't spell out words as much, we are still thinking about the whole word. There are words on billboards, words all around the coffee cup, words set to music, words scrolling the screen, words carved into the bathroom stall.

Millions and millions of words—we're certainly not lacking in quantity. Still, today I'd like us to think about things on smaller terms, smaller numbers. For starters, let's say ten.

The other day I was being introduced to a group of people, and the person handling the introduction said something like, "I want to tell you all one word that sums up what I think about Dan Seaborn." Then he said the word, and it was kind and encouraging, but mostly it just left me thinking, Really? That's the one?

It's not that his word was lacking or that it came as a disappointment to me, and I wasn't concerned about trying to impress new people. What threw me about his word was that it wasn't at all the way I pictured myself.

We are leading eyes upward.

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Give me forty words, a hundred, and the one he picked still wouldn't have made the list. Yet my wife, who was in the room and observed the interaction, commented later at what a great job this man had done in describing me.

So I got to thinking about the words we use, the ways we describe ourselves and others, and what all of it means. I tried to figure out what words I use in talking about the people in my life, and I tried to figure out what I'd want them to say about me.

Ten words, I thought. If I could have only ten words, what would they be?

It wasn't too difficult to pare things down to a list, but as I mentally rifled through my vocabulary, I had to ask myself another question too: Do the words I'm choosing really match my life? Or, to state it a little more accurately: does my life match the words I want to say about it?

If you had a ten-word limit, just ten words to define your life, which ones would you want to be on the list? Fun? Generous? Exciting? Ambitious? Committed? Loving? Thoughtful? Healthy? Influential? Silly? Insightful? Hilarious? Honest? Lighthearted?

Think about it. Which ones are your favorites?

Now, think about the people in your life. What would they say about you? Or what would you say about yourself if you were really honest about your words? Does the wish list match the reality?

I was reminded, in thinking about all these words, of how easy it is to get swept up in things. When we're living with too many words, too many "priorities," soon we're spending time and energy on things that would never make our Top Ten.

But with a little perspective—with a limited number of words on the list—it's easy to focus, to channel our energy, time, and love toward the things that matter most. Then things make sense, we remember who we are, and we can enjoy being that person. In its best, most meaningful sense, "simplicity" can be the word of the day.
Author Information
Dan Seaborn
Dan Seaborn is the founder of Winning At Home, Inc., an organization designed to assist and encourage people of all ages and stages of family development. As a featured speaker at churches and large-scale events such as marriage conferences, corporate functions, and university assemblies, Dan Seaborn has earned recognition as a powerful and passionate communicator. Through practical illustrations and memorable real-life examples, he encourages individuals and families to lead Christ-centered homes.

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