Lost for Words

by Andy Wood on July 22, 2013

in Esteem, Following Your Passion, Life Currency, LV Cycle

Speechless LoveThere are over 3,000 words in the English language to describe some kind of feeling.  According to design student Pei-Ying Lin that’s about 21 words short. Lin, in working with colleagues from London’s Royal College of Art, identified 21 words from other languages for which there is no English word.  Example: The Russian word, Tocka, which means “Great spiritual anguish, often without any specific cause…ache of soul, a longing with nothing to long for.”

You can find out more, and see Lin’s infographic, by clicking here.

Of course, what Lin has accomplished, while significant, is no real surprise – especially for anybody who’s ever found themselves not knowing how to express exactly how they felt.

Sometimes the gratitude is too great.

Sometimes the passion is too deep.

Sometimes the adoration or admiration makes words seem cheap.

On the flip side, sometimes the fear or rage comes from a place so deep in the soul, words never seem to touch it.

What do you do when you’re lost for words?

1.  Show it.

Sometimes the best way to say it is with action.  In the case of your relationship with God, try obedience. Otherwise, do something that shows gratitude or worship or respect or love for God or for people. The possibilities are endless. You can listen. Serve. Embrace. Smile. Clean. Feed. Cover. Carry. Rejoice.

What could you do today as an act of kindness or service to show someone or the Lord how much you care?

2.  Slow it.

Sometimes the feelings are so intense, the best thing to do is give it some time.  This can help you avoid saying or doing something… well… stupid or regrettable.  Strong feelings create strong energy and sometimes that’s an open invitation to the bull to meet you in the china shop.

Give it a little time.  Wait for an opportune moment. The right words or the right actions will present themselves in the right moment.

3.  Bestow it.

As in, make an offering.  I have never heard any word quotations by Johann Sebastian Bach, but I have heard him declare the greatness of his God by the music he composed.  Many an artist, not the least of which was Thomas Kincaid, used their gifts of perspective, light and color to express their love for the Lord.

The same could be said for architects, builders, craftspersons, philanthropists, and a host of other people who found ways through creativity, business, or expressions of skill to loudly speak of the passions in their hearts.

What do you have to offer to express the greatness of your beloved or the passions that matter most to you?

4.  Grow it.

Every meaningful relationship enters seasons too rich for words. And in those seasons the best thing you can do is let them breathe and nourish them.  How? By listening. By spending time in the quieter arts like conversation, joint effort on a project, or simply the energy of presence together. The biblical word for that is fellowship – sharing a joined life and mutual commitments in day-to-day or week-to-week experiences of simply being together. It’s out of that fundamental commitment to be together that encouragement, protection, accountability, unity, and brotherly love continue to grow.

5.  Flow it.

Okay, this is a bit cheesy, but it’s too late for a word that doesn’t rhyme. After all the talk about the quieter, more ordinary expressions, sometimes the situation calls for an anointing – a lavish demonstration of ridiculous devotion. Sure to be questioned as fanatical or crazy, sometimes crazy love calls for crazy expressions of it – much like Mary’s outlandish demonstration of anointing the feet of Jesus with expensive perfume.

Your heart is a deep, rich well of feeling and action through which you can express the enduring greatness of those you love the most.  And sometimes that means checking safety and sensibility at the door.  Do you know what it’s like to have a love like that? And to express it that lavishly?


You can spend your whole life trying to keep a lid on anything that resembles depth of commitment or passion. Or you can spend a lifetime being led away to dumb choices because of something as fleeting as feelings. Or… maybe you can learn to harness those passions and that devotion and fully express them – even if you lack the words to do so.

The people you care the most about – and the God you serve – are all worth it.

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{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Martha Orlando July 22, 2013 at 8:31 am

Oh, yes, I’ve been at a loss for words many, many times . . .
Even when I write my blog posts, I know I can only capture with words a mere thread of true feelings. But, I do it anyway because writing is my passion and God-given talent which He wishes me to use.
Blessings, Andy!
Martha Orlando´s last blog post ..Reunion

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