Check Your Source

sf_overflow_03As a newspaper writer years ago, the source meant everything. In fact, editors insisted on at least three solid sources per article. Why? Because the sources determined the validity and impact of the words written.

When I taught writing and speech classes years later, I also stressed the importance of solid sources for conveying and supporting ideas. In fact, we spent a great deal of time determining how to identify credible sources.

The fact remains that the credibility of our words play a large role in our overall reputation. That holds true for individuals as much as is does in the media.

Considering the source makes all the difference in how the words of a person, whether writing or speaking, are received, accepted, believed and followed.

Careless words ruin a person’s credibility, certainly for the short-term. But the longer they precede a person and mark their presence, the more long-term, negative impact careless words have on a person’s reputation.

All About the Supply

Careless words usually indicate carelessness in some area of a person’s inner life, often symptomatic of a much bigger problem. Our words and actions indicate the condition of the heart and, when careless or unloving, usually point to an unbalanced state in some aspect of the inner self. And the more a habit of careless words receives room to roam, the greater the storm’s rage and the more numerous the careless words.

The only way to calm this storm is addressing the root cause. This means considering the source, the supply, of what’s coming out of a person’s mouth.

Begin the process by asking some tough but necessary questions. Does your source of supply – your automatic way of dealing with life – come in the form of acting, moving, talking and pushing? Is this your “go to” pace for life? If it is, consider how Isaiah 30:15 may have a much needed solution for calming every aspect of life from our schedule to the words we speak by bringing us to a stable source or supply on a consistent basis.

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The flow of careless words decreases and may even stop altogether when we quit trying to make things happen, for example when we try to talk people into things or attempt to justify our choices. More time spent in rest and quietness, as Jesus made a point to do regularly (Mark 1:35), reduces the number of unnecessary words by focusing us on the only source that can tame the tongue.

Bob Sorge in Chapter 10 of The Fire of Delayed Answers breaks Isaiah 30:15 down this way:

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When we’re out of control and not letting God direct our lives, not setting Him as our source of supply for all of our words, thoughts, attitudes and actions (Psalm 19:14 & James 1:26), we lose the ability to glorify Him. Our lives simply appear chaotic, holding nothing beneficial for others to desire to pursue.

Often, the root cause of our careless lives, which often becomes first apparent in the words we speak, involves failing to heed Isaiah’s advice. The more we purpose to implement these elements into our lives and allow God to be the source of all that we are, the more we’ll realize the value of returning to God, in resting in the quietness of His presence and in having confidence for Him to renew us.

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DISCUSSION: How can you purposely apply the advice of Isaiah? How will doing so change the words you use?

This post is a part of a weekly book discussion of The Fire of Delayed Answers by Bob Sorge hosted by Jason Stasyszen of Connecting to Impact and Sarah Salter of Living Between the Lines. Be sure to check out their posts!

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26 Replies to “Check Your Source”

  1. Because I have failed to check my source properly, there have been times what has come out of my mouth has not been kosher. Just like failing to check sources causes problems when investigating in writing, so it can cause problems with the witness before others. Good words Kari.
    My recent post Courage

    1. Me too, not so much in writing, but for sure in speaking before thinking. When I stay connected to THE Source, my words have so much more credibility beyond anything I can muster on my own.

  2. Because I spend a lot of time writing, I also spend much time in quiet reflection. As I strive to choose just the right words when composing a story, it makes me so aware of the words I speak to others. I try to be an encouraging to others in both!

    1. Great connection with apply how writers think about their words carefully to how we can do the same before we speak. Encouragement is so important in both. Thanks, Martha!

  3. Excellent post!
    You really brought new insight into the chapter.
    Your questions about how I usually handle things is very revealing. I like to push forward.
    God spoke powerfully to me in this chapter. This past weekend I found myself having more confidence in my prayers. They WERE being answered. I didn't have to keep on saying them. I just focused on God and believed. It wasn't easy, but I found more peace in as I waited.

    1. Thanks, TC. You know, I was wondering how the Sorge book would fit with my new approach to a detailed focus each month, but I should have trusted that God would work it out. I'm excited to see how he does it next month now too! Our discussion on your site about personalities fits here too. I also push through, but I am not an A Type person. I tend to search for solutions constantly instead of waiting, resting and receiving. This is the message He reminded me of once again last night during prayer time at church. Wait. Rest. Receive. Instead of pushing through, let God do His business with answering prayers.

  4. Superb post. We spent a lot of time in our high school writing class last semester discussing this. And most people spend very little time considering the bias of the source.

    You inspired me to spend more time with THE Source. 🙂 Have a great week!

  5. What came to mind since this is a dear subject of mine… I learned long ago the importance and impact poorly chosen and untimely words can have on people's lives. When I faced the truth of this matter in my life I read something that has stayed with me ever since: NEVER RESPOND when you are hungry, tired and most certainly frustrated or angry! Words today once submitted either in writing or orally spoken cannot be taken back. Would we be careless with a pistol, yet words can do more lasting harm? Thanks for the reminder today…

    FYI, I am beginning to write a story that I pray may serve a greater purpose as a book in the future. With your background I may share excerpts with you to make sure of my "words" as well.

    1. Great rule to follow, Coach. Wish I would have implemented that long ago. I need to implement it more today, actually. The old adage that words cannot hurt simply is not true. So much abuse is done just with words, and the impact is far-reaching and long-lasting.

      Regarding the story you're writing, I would love to help you in any way possible. Just let me know what you need from me!

    2. Coach Mike,
      You are right in those wise words of not responding when hungry, tired, angry, or frustrated. I might add confused.

  6. Sadly, I've noticed my tendency to speak in an annoyed, frustrated tone when I haven't had a chance to rest and reflect. While I don't mean to excuse my attitude in those moments, it's a powerful reminder that I haven't spent enough time feeding my mind, heart, and soul pursuing God and being alone with my thoughts. There is something powerful and necessary about taking regular time to pause and reflect on life.
    My recent post Pursuing Minimalism

    1. You're right, taking regular time to pause and reflect on life is very powerful. Pursuing God in our thought life is so essential for pursuing Him in ways that others can see and imitate. Another point that stuck out in your comment is the impact of being well-rested. Unfortunately, the first thing to go for most people when they are busy is sleep. And sleep (along with water) are the two most important elements to keep us healthy & strong physically. We need our sleep if we are at all hoping to be effective for Christ.

  7. Always a great reminder! I realize that my tongue is more harsh when I'm tired. The tired is from being so busy and not getting that true quietness and rest. I still am in the word daily but at times it's on the go and it becomes more of a spiritual snack rather than a full course meal of His word. I need to purpose to find that quietness and rest so I'm a happier mommy and wife. Thanks Kari!

    1. I've read that eating small, more frequent meals is healthier for the body and keeps the blood sugar more balanced, which affects all sorts of things including mood. Perhaps that approach works well also in our spiritual lives. Believe me, we all want you to be a happier mommy & wife 🙂

  8. I've learned our inner words (What we say to our self) greatly reflect our outer actions. The seed is planted in our thoughts and self-talk and the fruit grows, either good or bad. So making sure our inner life reflects God's truths is essential. Great topic!

    1. I am in the middle of editing my first book, and the section I will work on today focuses on our self talk, our inner words. So, what you say here, provides a good summary of what I want to portray about the impact of what we say to ourselves. This has a huge impact on our lives, but I think it's sorely neglected by most people. I know I forget to double check what's going on there at times, especially when I'm too busy and overwhelmed. Thanks, Dan.

  9. You know Kari this is a great lesson. Checking a source or sources is hard work and that which one easily ignores. I am often unwilling to do that extra work and this is a good reminder of the worth of checking sources for the damage one does to others when they do not or the damage one does to themselves when they are not checking with the source of all.

    1. Yeah, it is hard work. At this stage in my writing career, I am having to revisit some of those old habits of painstaking research. It's hard, but it's so important in order to have quality impact. We need to know what influences us, not only in our daily interactions and the general living of live, but especially in the truth we allow to govern us. Making sure that source is The Truth is the ultimate in importance.

  10. I am a fairly reflective person and thinker by nature, but I also have held certain leadership positions where I used to feel like I "needed an answer" ready right as someone asked it. Usually, those hasty responses were garbage. Despite what reality TV would try to engrain in us, thoughtfulness is not a detriment. I'm certainly not perfect in this area, but I have learned (or relearned) not to try to fill the void with empty words or vain imagination and consider what I'm saying. Great thoughts, Kari. Thank you.
    My recent post The Demand of ‘Do Something’

    1. What a terrific point, Jason. When I first started teaching classes, I thought I always had to have an answer. After getting burned one to many times, I learned the value of saying, "I don't know, but I will find out." Oh did I have to let down my pride to do that. Still not easy, but it ruins a person's reputation to pretend to have the answers when you don't. People respect you more when you admit you don't know or need to think about it. Well, at least they respect you more when you actually follow through with finding out and giving a response after thinking. The follow through is key.

    1. There certainly is a balance between resting & being still and doing what we know God wants us to do. He doesn't want us completely inactive, but He doesn't want us thinking we can do everything in our own power either. We need times of rest but also times of doing. Trusting in Him to create that balance within and for us is crucial.

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