What’s in a Word? Actually Quite a Lot
—Grace & Truth Linkup

What we say and what others hear are often two different things.

We stayed with our grandkids this past Monday and Tuesday. I smile when I hear the words that the 3-year-old uses:

  • going barefoot is “tippy-toe”
  • a Kleenex tissue is a “tennis shoe”
  • a mustache is a “stachio”

Why? Because that’s how she hears us saying those words, even though that’s not what we’re saying.

We mimic what we *think* we hear.

It’s cute when kids do it. They’re just learning.

But it’s not so cute when adults get our words wrong. They’re supposed to know better.

Relationship experts often suggest you ask your partner to mirror your words back to you, to see if you’re being heard correctly.

How does that work for you?

When Jeff and I do it, it’s rarely 100% accurate. When we repeat back what we heard, we usually get something wrong.

We may physically hear each other, but our filters get in the way of understanding each other. 

So we have to try again. And sometimes again and again until we finally understand properly.

I’m guessing God does this with us a lot. He tells us something, then waits to see how we interpret his words.

We probably get it wrong the first several times with him too.

But we need not give up. We can listen again. We interpret again. Repeat. Again and again.

God has all the patience in the world to wait on us as we grasp to understand him. We never get it 100% right. 

I wonder if he smiles at our misinterpretations like I smile at my granddaughter’s. . . .

Featured Post

Barb chose “Abide” as her One Word this year. Each month she has been going hard with God after this word and what it means in her life.

This past month, Barb wrote down many different words regarding Abide. Although her post is short, the meaning is deep.

Take a glance at the picture she shares at her blog, and see which words you most connect with as you abide in God.


Sometimes one word can explode into many.

Is there a word you often misunderstand? Share your thoughts in the comments. Then link up below.

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9 thoughts on “What’s in a Word? Actually Quite a Lot
—Grace & Truth Linkup

  1. Barb Hegreberg

    This reminds me so much of some of the words we use in our family.

    Words like:
    “naquin” – napkin
    “combinetion” – combination
    “iggernut” – ignorant
    “ruru” – rural

    Thanks for FEATURING me this week.

  2. Jean Wise

    wow this line struck me: “I’m guessing God does this with us a lot. He tells us something, then waits to see how we interpret his words. We probably get it wrong the first several times with him too.”

    What a good reminder.

  3. Lynn D. Morrissey

    Cumbrella was what our daughter thought an umbrella was! I still use it! 🙂 Love that word. I remember as a child that I thought I heard the line in the carol, “Silent Night,” this way: “Round young virgin, Mother and Child.” That wasn’t too far from the truth, though. How we hear God’s words, however, is different. We want to know truth. I wasn’t sure what you had meant on your comment here about God’s words: “He tells us something, then waits to see how we interpret his words. We probably get it wrong the first several times with him too.” I wasn’t sure if you meant we hear Him, and we (down deep) believe it is a directive from Him, but then second-guess what He’d said (if we don’t want to obey); or, I wondered, if you had meant we may actually hear what He says, but when we listen through a different headset, so to speak, we can a whole different perspective on interpretation…. or another way to say it, is that we can read the same Scripture passages our whole life, and then a teacher, pastor, or author presents a different interpretation we’d not considered, and we reread the same words, but with new eyes, and they take on a whole new meaning. This happened to me, e.g., on the subject of election and the Reformed view of faith. Suddenly, as I read God’s Word, I saw evidence of this viewpoint throughout Scripture, which had always been present before, but for which I’d not had eyes to see. Anyway, I didn’t know exactly what you had meant from your *wording.* Ha! 🙂 But words are extremely important, both in how we use them and in how we hear them. In fact, if the two entities differ, often we can never come to understanding each other. Good communication will ensure people are on the same page, so to speak. 🙂 I do love words, and I love knowing their meanings and etymologies as well; but that, dear Lisa, is a whole other kettle of fish!

    Happy 4th!

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      It’s always funny to hear how people misinterpret song lyrics. 🙂 My sister and I had quite a few arguments in childhood over what the lyrics really were (back in the day when you couldn’t google them!).

      What did I mean? Well, actually ALL those things you mentioned. You can interpret it however it helps you. I’ve definitely changed the way I hear certain scriptures from when I was a child too (thankfully). There’s always room for clearer understanding as we mature. Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Lynn. They always help me clarify my own!

      1. Lynn D. Morrissey

        Oh, I’d love to know about those sibling lyric battles someday! I’ll bet they were interesting. And I’m always fighting (in the best sense of the word) our worshp pastor when he changed hymn lyrics. Drives me nuts, especially when I’ve memorized the lyrics from my youth!

        And, Lisa, you’re so right: There’s always room for clearer understanding as we mature. And I’ve found too that humility plays a huge part. We need to be humble enough to learn that we don’t know it all and may have learned it wrong!

        Grace, grace, grace all around.

        Happy 4th. Love how YOU make me think!

  4. Helen

    My 7 year old son who has some difficulty regulating his behaviour and emotions likes to sing Casting Crowns, “Just be held.” Except he sings “Just behave!” On the one hand, my husband and I think it’s hilarious! But I also feel a bit sad for him that he’s singing words that he hears said to him a lot but actually “just behaving” is far from simple for him.

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