How many words will you speak in your lifetime?
The number of words that the average person speaks each day varies by personality, family, occupation, and community. The first five years of our lives we are just acquiring our “inventory” of vocabulary.
Once we get established speaking, consensus research shows people speak on average about 5,000 words a day. That’s 150,000 words a month. Over the course of a year, this is approximately 1.8 million words. Live to 70 years old and there’s a potential to reach 100 million words. For others, the total is higher.
Give. Your tongue. A standing vacation.
Consider for a moment the divine marvel for the tongue. This is the most delicate instrument in the human body with a design as unique as a fingerprint.
Simply put, the tongue is the strongest, most flexible, and most sensitive muscle in the human body. Along with your lips—who are along for the ride– the tongue can really create the kind of romantic kisses that send you to the moon.
The tongue is one of the most underappreciated parts of your body. It helps us to eat, swallow, and digest chocolate chip cookies and pumpkin pie.
I dare you to stand in front of the mirror and watch your tongue at work.
Go through all the vowel sounds and watch how the tongue changes for each of the sounds: A, E, I, O, and U. Go slow and loud for effect.
Look how much work your tongue and mouth have to do say the letter W or pronounce the word “willow”.
What about the letter S? We do take notice more than with most letters when our tongue gets an extra workout saying sentences like: “Sally sold sea shells by the Sargossa Sea.” See how much work your tongue displays with the word “soliloquy”.
However, just cranking out words is not the goal. The goal is to transform lives.
Too many words can actually wear people out.
The writer James says:
“If anyone thinks himself to be religious, and yet does not bridle his tongue but deceives his own heart, this man’s religion is worthless.” (James 1:26)
This strong muscular apparatus has the potential to make strong marriages and to empower the lives of our dynamic children.
Learning to speak well inspires others to learn and to take action.
Then, there is the dark side.
The unkempt tongue can stir up wars. Abuse children. Cuss your pooch. No wonder we need the Lord’s help to come alongside and grant guidance.
James asserts that the tongue has the power to spark a fire and consume a whole forest (James 3:5).
So, the question becomes, how can you make the most of this exceptional opportunity with this gift?
We need to go “back to school” in order to improve and to master the art of the tongue in speaking.
What words will you craft this week to raise up others around you?
Don’t miss the opportunity.
Your mouth matters more than you think.