I have a confession to make. I love words. Maybe too much. In the 9th summer of my life I could be found perched on the highest branch of my favorite tree reading a book. Each new word I discovered found its way into a notebook one of my older brothers gave me. I would mouth them over and over and over, lodging each one firmly into my brain. I weaved them into conversations with my little brothers. At 5 and 1 they were an easy audience to impress, or so I thought, with my newly acquired words. However my absolute favorite thing to do was use them in sentences to impress the adults in my life.
Some of the words I’ve collected recently sound strange. They aren’t used very often and most likely would never come up in a conversation. My new favorite is ‘fomenting’. It means instigating or stirring up. It’s typically used in reference to stirring up something undesirable or violent. Similar words would be; incite, provoke, agitate, or excite. For those who are curious as to where it came from, I found it here:
“For our offenses are many in your sight, and our sins testify against us. Our offenses are ever with us, and we acknowledge our iniquities: rebellion and treachery against the Lord, turning our backs on our God, fomenting oppression and revolt, uttering lies our hearts have conceived. So justice is driven back, righteousness stands at a distance; truth has stumbled in the streets, honesty cannot enter. Truth is nowhere to be found, and whoever shuns evil becomes a prey. The Lord looked and was displeased that there was no justice.” Isaiah 59:12-15 (NIV, 1984)
“Fomenting oppression and revolt”
My habit of adding new words to my journal didn’t end there. I tried to move on but I couldn’t.
I wanted to see if it was currently used in any other version of the Bible. It isn’t. It isn’t even used in the current NIV Bible.
I thought of examples from the current political climates in the US and in Belize. I thought of numerous occasions where someone had fomented, or provoked others to ‘uttering lies’ conceived within their hearts. It’s so easy to look outward first. But as I continued to stare at the word my thoughts turned inward. How often have I stirred up a lie in my own heart? How often have I told myself something that isn’t true and worked myself up into feeling angry or hurt?
My way of thinking was fomenting my own oppression.
Does that happen to you? As I sit with my realization I hear God speaking to me through a quote from Ann Voskamp,
“Our habits unclothe us — they expose our wounds, our insecurities, our idols, our addictions — or our hopes, our dreams, our prayers. Our habits are us. The patterns of our lives reveal the form of our souls.”
My habit of collecting words unclothed me. It brought out some unhealed wounds that had fomented into a distorted pattern of thinking. A pattern that hinders my growth and development. I have to actively challenge my thoughts and question if I’m telling myself the truth in that moment. I’m grateful that this new word grabbed hold of me. And grateful that God used it to draw me closer to Him.
Let’s Reflect: When was the last time one of your habits unclothed you? Take some time to ponder that question and journal your thoughts.
Let’s Pray: Holy Spirit, thank You working in us. Thank You for shining light into our thought lives. Continue to prompt our spirits with all that You want us to learn from. Stir up within us a deep hunger and thirst for truth in our thoughts, our daily lives, and our households. O God of Truth, we’re grateful that You are the Truth that sets us free from oppression and sets us on the path of righteousness. You are our God and we love You! In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.