The Bare Soul - September 16, 2007
Eating My Own Words

Almost daily, without fail, someone will ask when I return from one of my barefoot runs ... "So, how was it?" My usual response is: WONDERFUL! It really doesn't matter what the weather, or how I'm feeling, or any number of things -- the truth is that 99.9% of every run is wonderful! After all, I get a chance to feel the ground and experience all the sensations of the run where most shod runners can only guess what is under their feet. They don't get the opportunity to caress the various surfaces they traverse with the bottom of their soles. For me, the 0.01% of any difficulty or any negative part is not even worth talking about in light of the wonderful 99.9% of the run. For me to even mention the heat, or a rock that I stepped on that gave me a moment of pain, or maybe a goat head sticker that I step on is not even worth bringing up.  In a nutshell, what I dwell and focus on both in my thinking and my speech will color the way I feel about myself, and also the way others perceive me. So, I figured out a long time ago that it is best to focus and speak positively whenever possible.

Several years ago when reading the Proverbs, I was struck by a certain verse that deals with the tongue and its power. Proverbs 18:21 states that ... "Death and life are in the power of the tongue, And those who love it will eat its fruit." What this means to me is that I am confronted with two choices each time I open my mouth ... am I going to say something positive about someone and be kind and uplifting or am I going to tear someone down or speak negatively about any given person, place, or thing? The second part of this verse implies the consequences of my choice. It implies that I will "reap what I sow" and furthermore that I will be forced to eat the fruit of this "conversational harvest"! (Who would have ever thought that every time we open our mouths that we would literally be eating our own words?)

The scripture has much to say about the tongue and its power. This relatively small appendage has the power to heal and to crush at the same time, depending on how it is used (Proverbs 15:4). James the brother of our Lord stated that "... no man can tame the tongue ... it a restless evil full of poison." James was right in his assessment, that no man can control the tongue -- yet the Lord Jesus is He that died not only to sanctify the tongue but all parts of the body for his glory. All He asks is that we turn our body, soul, and spirits over to his loving care and He will begin that wonderful transformation of not only how we speak, but how we think and feel toward ourselves and others.

Which begs the question: What kind of after taste do our words leave in our mouths? Do we feel uplifted after our casual encounters with others, or do we feel "slimed" and regretful of words spoken hastily. The Lord Jesus wants us all to feel refreshed and uplifted by our conversational encounters with one another. It is very simply our choice to experience a time of feeling physically, emotionally, and spiritually drained, or to be lifted up to soar with our Lord on the power of life giving words.

Your Humble Barefoot Servant!

Barefoot Rick

Back to Barefoot Rick's Reflections