18 Inches Down

Moving Truth from the Head to the Heart

A Thousand Words

They say a picture is worth a thousand words. When I am attempting to learn something new, if I am shown a picture or an example of it, I understand it so much more thoroughly. I can see different angles of it and gain a richer meaning.

That applies to spiritual truth as well. I can hear a concept like “be nice to others”, but it becomes clear for me if you explain it as “treat others how you want to be treated”. Now I can understand it because I can see it in my mind’s eye. I don’t really like to be shouted at when I make a mistake, so I should extend the same kindness to the person in front of me who just made one.

Ray Vander Laan, host of the video series That the World May Know says,

“There are two different ways of thinking, or of describing truth. A westerner, like me, learns in the Greek way, in the Greek tradition. Truth is presented in words and in careful definitions and explanations. We love bullet lists and points. An Easterner, however, is much more likely to describe truth in pictures and in metaphors, in the meaning of places and structures. For example, a Westerner might describe God as powerful or loving or all-knowing. An Easterner would be much more likely to say God is: my shepherd or a rock or living water.”

Bullet points and definitions have their place, but in my opinion nothing beats seeing a concept, even if only in your imagination. The majority of Jesus’ teaching was parable and metaphor; it seems He believed it to be the most effective way to communicate spiritual truths. And in my experience, I have found that to be spot on. I thoroughly enjoy allegories and parables and metaphors; they are like a game of connect-the-dots.

When I want to know how to conduct myself, if I can see a picture of how I am supposed to live, it comes much easier to me. Of course, we have the written example of Jesus’ earthly life, but often that is hard to apply to the specifics of modern life. What Would Jesus Do? often fails us, because He never showed us how long to spend on the internet each day or if it is acceptable to belch if anyone can possibly hear you. But a picture—a metaphor—can help us have a better idea of how to behave and what to do in those situations. Understanding that I am royalty—a daughter of the King of Kings—helps me choose to act like a princess instead of a guttersnipe. Now within my imagination I can see a picture of how to act, and there I can carry it around and refer back to it as needed.

You will find much metaphor in my writing. I have been collecting them for quite some time and have been so aided by their guidance that I want to share them with others, that they may also benefit from them. I pick them up in music, in movies, in nature, in reading, and in other people. They are like a reflection of heavenly concepts here upon the earth, and they are found all over the place!

What metaphors have you discovered along the way that have helped your perspective of life? Comment below and share them with us.

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2 comments on “A Thousand Words

  1. Dina Franklin

    Well……I LOVE Forrest Gump and my favorite is that
    “Life is like a box of chocolates,
    You never know what you are gonna get.”
    I try and keep my expectations down because I want to be happy with God’s will for my life. I am His beloved and He wants the best for me. I accept His plan……but I am often very surprised with what God has in store for me!

    • Deanne Bullock

      That’s a good one! What I like the most about Forrest Gump is the simplicity with which he lived life. Granted, he is fictitious, but there are many like him who don’t overanalyze things or plot and plan and are content with whatever life brings them. We can, as you pointed out, rest in God’s will for our lives and, I believe, live a reduced-stress existence. Thanks for sharing!

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This entry was posted on 03.05.12 by in Metaphors and tagged , , , , , , , , .

Hi, I’m Deanne!

Biblical counselor, budding author, and domestic engineer. I enjoy reading, studying, thinking, and writing about it all. I crave simplicity, laughter, and a cup of hot tea in the morning. Metaphor and allegory is my thing, and I enjoy using it to help myself and others understand spiritual concepts.

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