WATCH YOUR WORDS (Boot Camp for Creators & Dreamers #10)

Mind your speech a little, lest you should mar your fortunes.

---William Shakespeare

Are you working on the chain, gang? What you daily feed your mind will affect your thoughts; and your thoughts will shape your attitude. Your attitude, as previously discussed, further shapes your thoughts and emotions, your outlook on life, your actions, and your WORDS. Your words
can be constructive or destructive;
facilitate your creative endeavors, and bring you closer to your dreams — or have a negative impact on you and the people you encounter.

A positive, faith-filled attitude will ultimately manifest itself in every area of our lives, especially in how we act and speak. And positive, faith-filled words and deeds are — like love — “what the world needs now.”

We’re constantly bombarded with foul phrases, critical comments, words that wound, and toxic talk. These words of death create a suffocating atmosphere of spiritual smog, which can choke our creativity and cloud our dreams and visions. On the other hand, constructive, encouraging, faith-filled “words of life,” coupled with acts of kindness, can help clear the air — and make our sojourn on this big blue marble a lot easier. Furthermore, positive words of life help to produce an environment where creativity can flourish and dreams can be shared and pursued.

You can help to control your environment!

Of course, not everything we do is smart, lovable, or justified; nor can we always be proud of everything we say. The good news is, just like our attitudes, we can CONTROL the words we speak. And we can ensure that what spews from our lips will work for us, not against us.

  • Words have creative power. In fact, the first words ever spoken — by God, the Creator of the Universe — shaped the cosmos: “God said, ‘Let there be light, and there was light.'” (Genesis 1:3 NIV) And our Lord continued to SPEAK things into reality. In a string of “Then God said” moments, He created “all the beasts of the earth and all the birds in the sky and all the creatures that move along the ground—everything that has the breath of life in it….” (Genesis 1:29 NIV)

If you ponder the wide variety of these beasts, birds, and “creatures” — their many different shapes, sizes, colors, and characteristics — you’ll begin to understand just how wonderfully creative our Lord is! Now, consider this: God made each of us in His own image. (Genesis 1:26-27). And yes, we inherited the traits of our Heavenly Father.

  • We share the same God-given spiritual DNA … and CREATIVITY.
  • Therefore, OUR words have creative power. We can say words that bring peace or division; that either encourage and build people up, or tear them down emotionally. The creative choice is all ours, because “The tongue has the power of life and death….” (Proverbs 18:21 NIV)

Speaking positive words of faith produces a ripple effect that helps shape our social and emotional environment. When we refuse to gossip about or badmouth our “friends,” we’re doing our part to break the cycle of negativity (the destroyer of dreams, the killer of creativity). After all, change must start with each of us. Besides, we creators and dreamers should never waste our precious time and emotional energy criticizing others, spouting words of death and despair, or complaining about things over which we have no control. We have better things to do.

Successful people,” according to Jack Canfield, founder of the Chicken Soup for the Soul book franchise, “are conscious of the thoughts they think and the words they speak – both about themselves and others. They know that words are powerful.” This best-selling author and leading success coach goes on to state, “Words can destroy relationships, lose sales and start wars. Words can just as easily be used to build self-esteem and self-confidence, nurture relationships and turn dreams into reality. …Before you speak, think about what you want to create … and choose your words accordingly.”



The Best Thing Since Sliced Bread!


What could be better than bread? It’s called the staff of life, because throughout time, grain products have sustained people across the globe. Hop in a time machine and visit any era — in any area of the world, and you’ll simply confirm that bread was (and continues to be) an important part of nearly every meal. In fact, bread was often the chief staple of those meals, sometimes complimented only by a small piece of fish or cheese. Hence, bread had value far beyond its price, eventually leading to the slang usage of the words dough and bread to signify money: “He’s rolling in the dough”; or “If you want me to go shopping for you, I’ll need some bread.”

Biscuits, bagels, and buns; crackers, cornbread, and cakes; Matzah and melba toast. Whether it’s unleavened or yeasty, whole grain or gluten free, made from wheat, barley or rye, baked as rolls, flatbread or flakes, every nationality and people group seems to have a favorite. Visit your local supermarket and you’ll find many specialty breads: high-fiber and specialty grain products such as Ezekiel bread; artisan breads, Hawaiian rolls, and English muffins. Around Easter and Chanukah you’ll find Challah bread. And Pepperidge Farms markets seasonal breads such as Pumpkin Spice and Apple Cinnamon.

We’re fortunate to have all this variety. We were making sandwiches recently, and started pondering the diversity and utility of various breads. We like ham on rye, pastrami on Italian, and peanut butter on double-fiber. By the way, sandwiches were invented by a chef looking for a way to serve meats and cheeses to his employer, who insisted on eating with his fingers while playing cards — but who didn’t want the playing cards to get greasy. The chef soon hit upon the idea that he could serve the Earl of Sandwich a layer of cold meat wrapped within two pieces of bread. People have been eating cards and playing sandwiches ever since — or something like that.

We use Arnold’s thick-sliced Dutch Country Potato Bread when we’re making French toast, because it’s slightly denser and comes in thicker slices than regular bread. Hence it soaks up more of the egg and cinnamon mixture. And there’s nothing like a slice of Wonder Bread lightly toasted with butter and jam! Wonder Bread is plain old ultra-refined white bread. We’re not sure this after-school favorite of kids still enjoys the same popularity it did 50 years ago. Sometime around the 1980s, refined bread fell out of fashion. Health-conscious people started buying whole wheat, which was more expensive at the supermarket. People who couldn’t afford whole wheat were stuck with the cheap white bread which, considering the history of commercial baking, is indeed ironic.

Prior to the late 20th century, bleached and ultra-refined white bread was more expensive than its unrefined sibling, wheat bread. As a matter of fact, only “poor” people ate wheat bread. To quote a line from Mark Twain’s The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, white bread or “‘baker’s bread’—[is] what the quality eat; none of your low-down corn-pone.” Thanks to Wonder Bread and other companies, however, by 1950 practically everybody was serving sliced white bread at meals. Which brings us back to our opening question: What could be better than bread?

Answer: sliced bread! Don’t snicker, because we’ve all learned it’s the gold standard against which everything else is measured. When we think something is truly innovative, we proclaim, “It’s the best thing since sliced bread!” And just imagine, what if before you could make yourself a sandwich you had to first slice the bread. TV commercials would need to be longer to give us more time in the kitchen! Plus, you’d need one of those special bread knives or the loaf just squishes.

Thank goodness, someone had the brilliant idea of … um … cutting out the extra work. In 1930, Wonder Bread was the first nationally-marketed bread that came pre-sliced. No wonder Wonder took off in popularity.

So many types of breads from which to choose, and yet there’s another. A bread far more essential, far more beneficial, and far far the greatest thing since sliced bread! It’s the spiritual Bread of Life, represented by Jesus Christ and the Word of God. Jesus said, “People do not live by bread alone, but by every Word that comes from the mouth of God.” (Matthew 4:4 NLT)

We may need baked bread to sustain our physical bodies. But we’re also spiritual beings created in God’s own image. Hence, we also need spiritual bread: Jesus said, “I am the Bread of Life! …Anyone who eats the bread will live forever….” (John 6:48-51 NLT) And just as we find baked breads everywhere in life, there’s nowhere we can go where God is not present. “…Neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, [can] separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 8:39 NIV)

Have you partaken of God’s Bread of Life? If not, don’t continue to avoid Him. Join Him at His spiritual table. And once you’ve received Him, remember to consume some of His spiritual Wonder Bread each day: the Word of God — it’s the best thing since sliced bread!