Inside Your Frame
What’s the last thing you say to your kids as they’re walking out the door? To your spouse?
I want the last words I say each time to be: “I love you.” But too often, it might be this: “Be careful!”
I sometimes frame my life too much around safety.
The words we use build a frame around our lives.
What is the picture inside your frame?
Reframing the Soul
In Reframing the Soul by Gregory Spencer, our words are given the importance they’re due.
“We label, we name, we frame all of our experiences, past, present, and future. We give words to our inner and outer worlds. In doing so, we construct a kind of home we carry with us.”
When we remember the past, we don’t do so with perfect clarity. We individualize the frame to fit us. When we look at the present, we do so through our own personal lenses. And when we think about the future, again we’re framing it based on our experiences and worldview.
Spencer doesn’t suggest that the goal is to frame everything positively. He’s not trying to convince us to put our spin on things.
But he does want us to see that every word is a window.
“Since every word is a window, we are all called to examine our speech, our conversation and writing, to ask whether the view out a particular window is worth our gaze, whether our THAT should actually be a THIS.”
Throughout the book, Spencer helps us frame our world in more appropriate ways. He uses a method called the four essentials of the soul:
- Remembering the past with gratitude
- Anticipating the future with hope
- Dwelling within ourselves in peace
- Engaging with others in love
Spencer relates the story that a blogger, reflecting on her parenting, noticed she always told her kids, “Have fun!” when they walked out the door. And when they returned, “Did you have fun?” Until she realized: her framing was reinforcing a worldview that everything should be entertaining and highly pleasureable.
And we all know, life isn’t always about fun.
Jesus talked about measuring our words. In Matthew 5:22, it’s recorded that Jesus said, “Whoever insults his brother will be liable to the council; and whoever says, ‘You fool!’ will be liable to the hell of fire.”
“Though Jesus doesn’t mean that our words are all that matters, he does mean that our words matter.”
And so I recommend the words of Gregory Spencer in Reframing the Soul. He brings a needed emphasis on how we’re framing our lives. And a clearer focus on choosing to frame them better.
“Yet, no matter how severe our circumstances, we have choices about how we frame things.”
More Favorite Quotes
“Our confidence is not in our circumstances (which might not improve) but in God (who will redeem the circumstances).”
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“No matter what one person tells you, no matter how airtight their case seems to be, there is always, always, always another way of looking at it, another (not necessarily equal) way of framing.”
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“Much of the time, we struggle to remember that the stories others tell make sense to them. Some stories we hear are so contrary to our ways of framing that we are flabbergasted. But it is immensely helpful for ‘engaging well’ to listen appreciatively to a different version of the story, to listen to others the same way we want to be heard, with respect. Though intentional deception is always possible, more often than not, people have their reasons for framing their story the way they do. We might disagree—even strongly—but unless we hear the story out, we are unlikely to work things through.”
~ * ~
“Or maybe the human memory is more like a stomach, something that changes what it ‘digests.'”
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“Instead of saying, ‘This is exactly what happened!’ we might say, ‘This is how I remember what happened.’“
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My thanks to Net Galley
for the review copy of this book
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