Soul Sculpting Project: The Word That Moves Us
In the world of psychological research environmental primes feel like Believer It or Not.
Let’s start with smells.
- Did you know that the smell of cleaning fluid will make us more likely to clean-up.
- Or the smell of cinnamon will incline us to see a heating pad as more effective.
- Nike discovered that the smell of leather will increase shoe sales by 80%.
How about music?
- Wine stores sell more champagne if the background music is classical and less if it is pop.
Our sense of touch?
- If you hand me a cup of hot coffee, later on I will probably describe you as a warm person.
- If the coffee you hand me is cold I am more likely to describe you in less favorable terms.
And then words?
- If I prime you with the word professor you will do better on a test of knowledge than if I prime you with the word supermodel.
- When we are primed with the word stubborn we are more apt to see others as stubborn and to behave more stubbornly ourselves.
- Use a kinder word and we get kinder results.
Environmental primes are the things in our world that influence our thoughts and actions.
When I listened to the data my first reaction was, ‘Oh I would never form an opinion about you based on the temperature of a cup of coffee.”
Maybe not, but the statistical odds are that I would.
These primes have a powerful influence on us, so how could we use them to our advantage?
In this 2 minute Sculpting Project we will be using the power of the prime. We will take control of one of the primes in our world and use it to become more who we want to be.
1st Step: Find a Bible. We are looking for words that prime and this book is full of them.
2nd Step: Invite God’s leadership in this 2 minute project. God knows a lot about the Bible and we will find the help valuable.
3rd Step: Select a passage to read. If you already are reading somewhere in the Bible you can continue on right where you are.
If you would like to try a new passage or are looking for ideas you might read in one of the Gospels, for example Matthew or John. If you want a letter, try Paul’s letter to Philippians. Or for poetry, turn to the Psalms.
You do not need to start at the beginning of the book. But starting at the beginning of a chapter could be helpful.
4th Step: Read for around one minute. Read enough to get context for the passage and have several word primes to select from.
5th Step: For the second minute select a phrase or word that you want to hold onto to prime your day. Then linger with the prime word/s. Ponder, chew on it. Add emotion if possible for a stronger prime.
6th Extra credit step: Jot this word or phrase down on a paper or a device and put it in a place you will see again today.
I am currently doing this sculpting project in the barn as I do the morning milking. Here is what I read today from Matthew chapter 8: When Jesus came down from the mountain, great crowds followed him. A leper came up to Him and knelt before Him saying, “Lord, if you will you can make me clean.” Jesus stretched out His hand and touched him, saying, “ I will: be clean.” And immediately his leprosy was cleansed. Several word primes called out to me from this passage. The prime I selected for today was the kind words of Jesus “I will: be clean.” What would you have picked?
- This project will increase our connection to God as we relate to God through Scripture.
- With this project we will increase our thriving as we take charge and create a prime that influences us in the direction we want to move.
- This 2 minute effort we make will help others thrive because our thriving is contagious.
Two suggestions to consider as we search for our word primes.
First: Because we are working with tiny sound bites from Scripture it is easy to take words out of context. Phrases from the Bible taken out of context can lead to some odd interpretations. So be as sensitive to the context as we can.
Second: Some passages in Scripture are more about examples to avoid than examples to follow. If we encounter one of these we can create a word prime that leads us to more positive direction. For example if the passage relates a story of cruelty we may choose the word prime today choose kindness.
Our Soul Sculpting Project is to take charge of a word prime
- Get a Bible
- Invite God’s direction
- Read a passage for about one minute
- Find or create a word prime
- Linger with that word or phrase for 30 seconds.
- Extra credit: Jot the word/s down and put the note somewhere you will see it again today.
May we take charge of the primes in our life to create thriving and may we encounter God in these words.