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  • Writer's pictureMonica Walton

FootPrints & LipPrints

This idea has been whirling around inside me for several days....the thought that we leave behind something of ourselves wherever our feet step to walk and whatever our lips form to say. There has been a lot of research regarding our carbon footprint and ways we should be aware of our impact on the earth. The images of footprints on pristine landscapes of sand and snow come to mind. And, of course, the beautiful meditation on Jesus carrying us in our times of need in "Footprints in the Sand" -- always worth a revisit.

Footprints in the Sand
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I think we need to make the same effort to consider the impact our verbal lip print has on the world.

A well-placed word of encouragement or degradation can have a lasting effect on the recipient. We do ourselves and everyone around us a favor when we THINK before we SPEAK.

This is quite challenging for me and many others, I'm sure.

Words have tremendous power.

They can invoke comfort & joy, or sadness & anger.

A favorite phrase that has really helped me in recent years is:

There is Power in the Pause.

When I take a moment before responding (especially in a highly emotional situation), breathe in a whispered prayer to the Holy Spirit for Wisdom, and consider:

What is my motivation for wanting to respond?

Is my opinion requested and welcome here?

Will my perspective be of value?

Will my words be helpful or harmful?

How can I respond with healing rather than hurting?

We have choices --

to chastise or counsel

criticize or teach

weaponize or nurture

ostracize or include

resent or forgive

fuel the fire or quench the thirst

contribute to the hatred or redirect to love --

So much of what we are hearing reported around the globe today resounds in negativity. It takes prayerful preparation to be able to resist sinking into that, and instead rise to positivity. Just think of the change in our would if we each decided to employ the Powerful Pause and make that shift!

There are many footprints and lip prints in the Gospels this week. Unclean spirits who trod the earth and speak of the power of Jesus as the Son of God, even though they are evil and work to destroy others. (see the Readings from Sunday and Monday) Jesus's words are so powerful, that He uses them to cast out those demons, to heal the sick, and to bring the dead back to life. (see the Readings from Tuesday) So many hurting people followed the footprints of Jesus and cried out His name. The afflicted, hemorrhaging woman had such faith that she trusted in His healing power without a need for any words. She was sure that merely touching the hem of His clothes would be enough to free her from her affliction. And it was!

We can add this to our Power of the Pause. When faced with a challenge, we can develop the habit of taking a heartbeat to "touch His hem" before we step or speak.

It's all neatly wrapped up in the Gospel from Thursday when Jesus instructs the disciples on using their words and steps:

He said to them, "Whatever place does not welcome you or listen to you, leave there and shake the dust off your feet in testimony against them." (Mk 6:11)

Speak honestly & positively.

Walk away if needed.

Lip prints can leave scars.

And, it doesn't make our negative talk OK by adding, "Bless their heart!"

What do you think about trying a different route?

What if we talk to Jesus about others when we have concerns? What if we ask Him whether we should take that step or leave a comment? What if we seek His power over the situation, rather than exercising our plan and power?

What lasting impression will our FootPrints and LipPrints leave behind?

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Feb 02
Rated 5 out of 5 stars.

Brings to mind a red dress that doesn’t get worn and this being heart awareness month people wear red as support of national heart association. But the red dress remains hidden in a closet because of a comment was made without thinking. Sorry 🙏

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