What Words Do You Live By?

We asked, “What words do you live by? Any particular scripture? Literature? What resonates with you when you need inspiration or strength?”

Words matter. The words we say to others impact our relationships for better or worse. The words we tell ourselves affect our behavior and feelings. Our words shape our perception of the world around us. Therapists help couples to use better words with each other and individuals to discover healthier forms of “self-talk.”

Words are even an attribute of the divine. “In the beginning was the word,” writes the apostle John, “and the word was with God and the word was God.”

That’s why, in the community survey we sent late last year, we asked people, “What words do you live by?” We weren’t just asking for your favorite song lyrics or dad wisdom—we hoped you would share your understanding of how you connect with God and see God working in the world.

“OUR WORDS SHAPE OUR PERCEPTION OF THE WORLD AROUND US.”

And you didn’t disappoint us!

An incredible 82% of survey takers took the time to write out the words they live by, and 64% of those shared words in the Bible—quoting or citing verses, or describing your Bible study habits, or reminding us (and yourselves) that “all Scripture is Godbreathed and is useful for teaching.” But not only the Bible. You also cited the Talmud, the Koran, the Bhagavad Gita, and various Buddhist texts.

Still others cited poetry, music, or literature. Regardless of the source of your words, you focused on the importance of love and service.

Here’s the important take away: the overwhelming majority of you are living by positive and uplifting words like “hope,” “peace,” “joy,” “faith,” “family,” “kindness,” “gratitude,” and “strength.”

In a time when negativity and fear seem to dominate, we should remember that the voices of hate may be loud, but there aren’t that many of them. Most people, when asked, share quiet, hopeful words of love.

What would the world be like if we didn’t wait to be asked to share our words of love and hope?

IN YOUR OWN WORDS

Many of the “words you live by” were scripture or quotes from famous writers, but not all! The quotes below were a few of our favorites from your original inspiring words.

YOUR FAVORITES FROM SCRIPTURE
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So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.
MATTHEW 7:12

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‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.
MATTHEW 22:37-40

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Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
PHILIPPIANS 4:6-7

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He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.
MICAH 6:8
YOUR FAVORITE WRITERS

These are the names of the writers you quoted most often.

SOME OF YOUR FAVORITE QUOTES

YOUR TOP 10 FAVORITE WORDS

These words appeared most frequently throughout your responses—with words like “love,” “God,” and “all” showing up hundreds of times!

 


WORDS WE LIVE BY

Now that we’ve asked you, it’s only fair that we share with you the words we live by as the H. E. Butt Foundation. In a sense, you’re reading them right now. There are some words behind these words, though.

Our mission is to cultivate wholeness in people and institutions for the transformation of communities. We value stewardship, hospitality, unity, and excellence. We offer relationships, beauty, reflection, and hospitality. Hospitality is an internal value and an external offering—that’s how important we think it is.

If you’ve been out to the Frio Canyon, you’ve also seen the words Mary Holdsworth Butt placed throughout the property, stenciled on wooden beams, glazed on tiles, and engraved on stone. More than any other verse or poem, she quoted a stanza from Edna St. Vincent Millay’s 1917 poem “Renascence.” This stanza appears all over, from Singing Hills to Echo Bluff, Linnet’s Wings to Lodestar to Oakhurst, the Kerrville house.

The world stands out on either side
No wider than the heart is wide;
Above the world is stretched the sky,
No higher than the soul is high.

READ MORE FROM THIS ISSUE

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