When one communicates the large majority of what is said is unspoken. Tone, inflections, and intensity in one’s voice all plays at part, yet a large part of what we communicate comes from our body language, facial expressions, and the situation in which the conversation takes place. Far too often I find myself communicating things I never intended and frequently haven’t even realized that I have thought about. Cherry tells me the telltale is a “tone”. While I often find myself defensively disagreeing with the observation, on reflection I think Cherry is far more often right than wrong.
Taking time to be intentional is logical, yet most of us fall into the trap of being on autopilot. It is as if we are so consumed by the immediacy of our “issues” that we forget that we only exist within community. Even when we resolve, invoke disciplines and reminders, or have someone hold us accountable, we lose sight of the very goals we set at the beginning. We signal unintentionally but this doesn’t mean we should just turn off the process. You and I have the opportunity to take advantage – work the process of being intentional to improve our communication.
Jesus needed to communicate to the broader group without explicitly talking about it. So him simply “said, ‘The one to whom I give this crust of bread after I've dipped it.’ Then he dipped the crust and gave it to Judas, son of Simon the Iscariot.” (John 13.26)
What if we blended in our values of caring, trust, and acceptance into every non-verbal piece of communication? What would happen if the voice of our bodies and the situations others found us in spoke of compassion, mercy, and love? Just think of the possibilities! Signals of all kinds delivering the very values we hold close to our hearts.
We don’t need to worry about changing the world. We have opportunities today, in this moment, to invoke a spirit of sending explicit signals to those around us. What signals will you send? The choice rests with you and me.
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