Spoken & Written Words Matter

Screen Shot 2017-08-23 at 11.38.18 AMWords matter. But is the spoken word more or less important than the written word?

I used to love speaking in front of people, and I used to think I was pretty good at it. Whether that’s true or not is not the focus, but my attitude is important. When I think of words impacting others, I used to think that spoken words were more impactful than the words written down.

Don’t get me wrong, I loved reading. I used to love reading books, articles, newspapers, and I even loved to read outlines of sermons. The collection of books is getting too big even for my liking. But at the end of the day, I never valued written word the same as spoken word. If I am even more transparent, I took for granted the spoken word as something to be expected.

Don’t we all take for granted how we audibly communicate with each other? It’s doubtful that you have recently taken time to be thankful for the ability to express yourself through spoken words. Gratefulness only comes when there is realization of blessings experienced, and rarely do people realize the blessing go saying “I love you.”

Think about how powerful words are in life. You can express love, hate, fear, sadness, joy, trust, faith, etc. The Bible speaks of the importance of words and the necessity of having control of your words. The spoken word can build others up or tear them down. They are so important that we listen to music, podcasts, radio, sermons, classes, and discussion panels.

But what happens if you couldn’t speak again?

Well, that happened to me. One day I was able to freely speak and when I woke up I was unable to say even one word. I couldn’t tell my wife that I loved her. Something so simple became impossible. The impossible felt so defeating and paralyzing, and each attempt to squeeze a single word compounded the emotional turmoil. Seeing loved ones hunched over my hospital bed and trying to comfort me was beautiful and torturous. I felt both peace and frustration because I understood everything and had no way of reciprocating the love that was being spoken to me.

Ever since then, I have been a steady road of recovery. I have gone from not being able to speak a word to being near clear intelligibility. Of course, this journey is not over and will be a lifetime of slow improvement, but in two years I have improved more than doctors ever thought possible. I’m still in therapy today, but hopefully one day I will have the confidence to teach again.

For now, what do I do to express myself?

Write. Here on this blog.

Back to my ramblings about the importance of the written word…

For now, the best method that I have to communicate with all of you is this blog. The importance of the written word is chiefly shown in the Bible, God’s word. God’s word includes His spoken words as well, and both His spoken and written words are of the same value and have the same significance. The example of God’s spoken and written words being of equal importance has shown me that this blog can be used for good things.

Whether someone says or writes the following sentence, hopefully it will be used to encourage and motivate:

God loves you.

Jacob Luis Gonzales

Advertisements

Learning Contentment

1

Satisfaction is a simple yet profound experience. There is nothing better than being satisfied, but most of us struggle to find meaningful satisfaction.

I would have to say that ever since I’ve gotten sick I have struggled with satisfaction.

Looking at my calendar today, My appointments would make it appear that I try to stay busy and focused on recovery, but most days I fail to meet any expectations I set for myself. I usually fail to do eighty percent of my to do list. Why is that?

After some thought, I believe I have one driving agent: discontent.

To make this very clear, I feel like I have to say a couple things to anyone reading this. Discontent is the real issue and laziness is my response. Laziness is the outward expression of the discontent I feel inwardly. I am slow and hesitant to share my discontent.

There’s a big part of me that doesn’t want anyone to know this struggle. Most of my hesitation comes from my focus on disappointing people who are so encouraged by what God has done in my life. I fear that sharing my battle with discontent will discourage those who seem more grateful then I sometimes feel. Not to say that I’m not grateful or encouraged, but I definitely don’t experience joy as much as one would expect.

My dissatisfaction (discontent) with life as I live it now comes from the the long-lasting effects of my health issues. I struggle with being discontent in my inability to stand and walk independently. I struggle with being discontent in my vocal abilities – going from teaching and preaching to fumbling over certain letters. I struggle with being discontent in my physical strength. I struggle with being discontent in handwriting and typing. Those are general examples, but I felt it would be good for me to explicitly state for transparency sake.

I was reading the book of Philippians yesterday, and I just felt this heavy weight of conviction. I knew I was reading something for exactly what I was currently experiencing.

“I rejoiced in the Lord greatly because once again you renewed your care for me. You were, in fact, concerned about me but lacked the opportunity to show it. I don’t say this out of need, for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I find myself. I know both how to make do with little, and I know how to make do with a lot. In any and all circumstances I have learned the secret of being content — whether well fed or hungry, whether in abundance or in need.”

Philippians 4:10-12 (CSB)

I underlined the word “learned” for a very specific reason. Learning something requires experience and a deep understanding, but those verses don’t say what sustains his ability to rejoice in the midst of plenty or in need. That’s sort of the problem, isn’t it? Most of us, me very much included, search for the answer for the key to contentment (satisfaction).

Just read the next verse.

“I am able to do all things through him who strengthens me.”

Philippians 4:13 (CSB)

Okay, before you dismiss this verse because the cliche this verse has become, think about the beautiful context. Paul wrote this because of the suffering he was experiencing (torture, beatings, shipwrecks, long-lasting health issues, etc). He is not saying that he can do anything just because he believes in Christ. He is stating that in suffering and times of peace he has learned contentment. But, how the heck do you learn contentment?

Jesus is the answer.

If I really want to be content I will reflect on Christ and learn from Him. He is the perfect example of enduring suffering while being content with His purpose. He suffered throughout His life, including the heinousness of the cross, and yet the Bible says He willingly submitted Himself (contentment in the Father’s plan).

Philippians 4:13 says “through Him,” so all those things I am struggling to be satisfied with can only be satisfied with faith in Christ and His plan for me.

Now… all that said… I doubt that at times. I don’t always actively buy into the truth of that verse. I am not perfect, so there are times when I am discontent even as I acknowledge the Bible is truth. There have been days, weeks, and months over the last two years where I have ignored this struggle. I have put on a good face and said things are going well, when the truth is this: I am dissatisfied.

How am I going to learn contentment? Being in the word of God, prayer, journaling, being open with friends, family, and my church family. Also, I think I’m going to look into counseling, which I hate saying publicly but I think its important to be open right now.

If you want to be involved, these are a few things to consider trying: prayer, talking with me about non-therapy things (any medium is fine), sending sermons/Scripture/music, etc. If you want to be involved in this journey towards contentment, it would be greatly appreciated.

I have not experienced contentment as of late, but hopefully God will guide me towards a deeper faith and understanding the Gospel of Jesus.

Jacob Luis Gonzales