I just returned from a writers’ conference where I spent five days surrounded by spoken and written words.

One topic discussed was word count. Observing the number of words an editor requires for an article is critical. If the word count is set at four hundred words a written article submitted is five hundred, the writer needs to edit in the best way possible without compromising the intended meaning.

I love my words. I selected them. Each time I delete, rearrange, or choose a different word, it almost hurts. I chose the words with care-or thought I did. Eliminating them makes me feel as if they weren’t chosen for a part in the school play. But, cut I must. Once I do, I re-read the article and yes, it is better with fewer, often more specific, words. And… I find some words were unnecessary.

Two recent experiences reminded me how critical word count is in our relationships. I was wounded by a comment in a conversation. 

My friend thought it was funny, laughed when she said it, and went on to her next sentence. I didn’t see the humor in her statement. It hurt my heart.

Instead of precious gold set in silver, I heard her words as cheap costume jewelry from a tarnished silver tray.

Weeks later, the importance of a subject I raised in a conversation was disregarded in a flippant response. Perhaps irrelevant for her, but not for me.

Gracious words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones. (Proverbs 16:24 NIV)
Our words count. They convey meaning and feelings.  There is purpose in an editor’s requirement and I want to observe it. But what about making our words count and stand out as gold when we speak with others? There are no wounds when we choose sweet and healthy words. 

Any thoughts to share on your “word” experiences?

How will you approach the words you speak today? Will they shine and add value to a conversation and a life? Will they be sweet and life-giving?  Let’s think about our words before we speak.                                                  
                                                       Wounded hearts are no laughing matter.

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