Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Why The World Needs Your Words

by Lucinda Secrest McDowell @LucindaSMcDowel

Every writer comes to the point where we ask “Why does the world need my words?”

As I look back at a lifetime of being a word girl—ever since my very first job out of college as editorial assistant of “Carolina Country” magazine—I have observed that the words we speak and the words we write do have power—for Change, Challenge and Courage.

1. Words offer CHANGE
Have you ever read or heard a story that changed your life?

In Luke 8 and Mark 5 Jesus tells of a man who was a raving lunatic. But after his miraculous encounter with this Nazarene, he was “dressed and in his right mind.” (Luke 8.35) and begged to go with Jesus.  His life had been changed and all he wanted to do was stay close to the man who had made this happen. Instead, Jesus sent him out into the world to “tell the story of what God has done for you.”

The scarlet woman from John 8 also heard words that changed her life. The Pharisees were trying to discredit Jesus by dragging in a woman caught in adultery and forcing him to act. After challenging them with the truth, Jesus then turned to the woman and said the words that would change her life forever. “Go and Sin No More.”

Acceptance. Forgiveness. Grace. Mercy. Understanding. Kindness. Gentleness. These are but a few of the words that can reach into a shattered soul and be used to help them on a healing path. Whether your words are saying “Tell your story” or “Embrace your second chance.” I assure you there will always be an audience.

The world needs our words that will help them CHANGE.

Words offer challenge.
2. Words offer CHALLENGE
Sometimes our words must be spoken in order to challenge a person to do the right thing or to correct a wrong. But it can be hard to use those words can’t it? And we must use them with much prayer and divine power so that the tone and timing are as God leads.

Especially if the person we challenge is above us in rank – like a king.

King David was a warrior and a poet and a ruler. But he was also a man. A man who wasn’t where he was supposed to be on that Spring day when men go off to war. He stayed home and glanced from his palace balcony on a beautiful neighbor bathing. David decided that he had to have Bathsheba. And later when she became pregnant, he worsened an already complicated situation by calling her husband Uriah home from the front, hoping he would lay with his wife. But in his allegiance to his king, Uriah didn’t have relations with her on leave. So David arranged for him to be killed in the line of duty.

God used Nathan, the prophet, to speak words of challenge into David’s life. By telling a story. Do you tell stories in your blogs, your novels, your devotions and  your speaking presentations? Jesus is a great model for this.

Nathan’s story about two neighbors – one who had only one sheep and the other a whole heard – touched David deeply. When he heard of the rich neighbor who stole the one sheep, he cried out and call for punishment. Nathan responded, “You are the man.” As the truth dawned upon the king’s mind, he confessed his sin to God.

Is there a situation either in your personal relationships or on the wider cultural scene that is calling for you to speak or write words of CHALLENGE? 

3. Words offer COURAGE
If ever there was a time when our world needed courage, it is now. But thousands of years ago Joshua also lived with random violence in the midst of a volatile world situation.

When he assumed a mantle of leadership after Moses died, he was asked by God to do some pretty radical things – like taking 40,000 people across a flooded river or playing songs and marching around Jericho in order to conquer it. 

God spoke words of COURAGE into his life. “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” (Joshua 1.9) Promising to accompany him was key.

This is why I write about the “with God” life—how dwelling in His constant presence empowers us to be and do all He has planned for our lives.

Friend, your words to another person—words they read in your novel or words they hear in your teaching—can impart great courage. If you remind them that God—the Creator and Sustainer of the Universe—has promised to be right beside them the whole way! 

When Paul was at the end of his life, he chose his final words carefully – words that would impart COURAGE and vision to Timothy. “Be strong through the grace that God gives you in Christ Jesus…. teach these truths to other trustworthy people who will be able to pass them on to others.” 2 Timothy 2.1-2

To whom is God calling you to speak or write words that will give someone just what they need for the task ahead? This, friend, is a high and holy calling.

Why does the world need your words? Because, if you obediently follow Christ your words will effect Change, Challenge and Courage by God’s grace. Yes!


Lucinda Secrest McDowell is passionate about embracing life — both through deep soul care from drawing closer to God, as well as living courageously in order to touch a needy world. A storyteller who engages both heart and mind, she offers “Encouraging Words” to all on the journey. A graduate of Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary and Furman University, Cindy is the author of twelve books, including Dwelling Places, Live These Words, Refresh!, Amazed by Grace, Quilts from Heaven and Role of a Lifetime. Whether co-directing the “New England Christian Writers Retreat,” mentoring young moms, or leading a restorative day of prayer, she is energized by investing in people of all ages. She has also served as faculty at Writers Conferences in Florida, Blue Ridge, Atlanta and Philadelphia and emceed Author Events at the Mark Twain House in Hartford. Cindy’s favorites include tea parties, good books, laughing friends, ancient prayers, country music, cozy quilts, musical theatre, and especially her family scattered around the world doing amazing things. She writes from “Sunnyside” cottage in New England and blogs weekly at EncouragingWords.net


  1. Lucinda, Thanks for the encouragement. YOUR words were the ones I needed to read today. Blessings!
    Beckie from Spotlight, beckielindsey16.com

  2. What encouragement, Lucinda. It's so easy to let doubt invade our minds. You bring our focus back to why our words are important.