Wednesdays with Jillene: homophones, for the times you say one thing when really you should mean the other

Homophones are fun… and obnoxious. Great amusement can result from their intentional use and (often) unintended misuse. When it comes to learning spelling, homophones can be a source of intense frustration. For the purposes of understanding in the flow of conversation, homonyms are even worse.

  1. each of two or more words having the same pronunciation but different meanings, origins, or spelling, e.g., new and knew.
    • each of a set of symbols denoting the same sound or group of sounds.

[I really hope you watched that video!]

Now, this is great fun and all… but this isn’t a grammar lesson. I’m the wrong person to try and educate you on the intricacies of the English language. This is on my mind because there are times when homophones and their unintentional misuse or misunderstanding influence us in ways we could not fathom.

Take for instance: Break vs Brake

What if there are times life has us screaming (literally and/or figuratively), “Give me a break.” And we are left feeling, “God why are you trying to break me?” When we really should be crying out, “Lord, give me a brake.”

Before you click away from this post thinking I’ve completely lost my mind, read what Ann Voskamp has to say about this:

“You’ve heard that a shepherd will break a sheep’s leg if it wanders from the flock?” the man asks us, rod in his hand, rooted tree at his back. “You’ve heard this? Break its leg to keep it from breaking away from the flock?” He shakes his head, disgusted.

“A shepherd would never, ever break a sheep’s bones… Listen– this is what a shepherd does.” And he explains that a shepherd may put a “brake” on a sheep’s leg– a weight to temporarily stop a stiff-necked sheep from running astray.

Sometimes what we think may break us is but a brake to save us. Sometimes what we feel weighing us down is the way He draws us closer. Sometimes what we may believe is keeping us from more is a way to keep us close enough to know more of who we are: beloved.  

Maybe it’s the compassion of God that uses the unexpected to brake me so the unholy doesn’t break me. What’s slowing me down and braking me could be a gift that’s keeping me from breaking…

Excerpt from Chapter 17 of The Broken Way, Ann Voskamp

Take that in for a bit, let that one sink deep. And as I think it through, Jesus’ words come to mind and I turn them round and round (again).

28 Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”

Matthew 11:28-30

Jesus’ words pierce into my heavy laden heart, my all too busy schedule, my overworked mind and offers me the rest I desperately need. But the struggle of it is how to do that… to come to Jesus with my burdens, the weights I carry and instead take up His yoke. What does that look like? ‘Cause, try as I may, what I often find myself feeling as if He’s “let me down.” I know that isn’t true but it is what I’m prone to feeling.

I come to Jesus, I “give” him my burdens… but they don’t go away… I don’t feel rested… I still feel burdened… Because, let me just stop here and say, there are days when I’m sure God is trying to break me. But maybe the breaking is only happening because I won’t let God brake me.

Um… that hits a little too close to home.

What if… what if that’s because I’m looking for the wrong rest? The truth of the matter is, more often than I care to admit, giving my burdens to God goes a little like this, “Here God, take this burden, carry it for me. I need a break. ” The unburdening doesn’t happen if I drop off one burden at the foot of the cross and, while experiencing relief, I continue in my bad habits and in turn pick up another. Or if I only give over what had me heavy laden for just long enough to catch my breath so I can pick it back up again.

What if what I really need is to brake or I’m going to break?

Funny how blame can be placed on God for breaking us when we’re the ones doing the breaking. As we attempt to continue full throttle through His brake applied on our lives, the shattering we feel is of our own doing.

And oh yes, do we ever we need rest.

But see here, turns out rest is one of those tricky words too.

And there it is… the crux of the matter. I’m so often looking for God to give me a break so I can rest (a time of relaxation, refreshment and recovery of strength) so I can go on doing what I do. When what I really need is for God to brake me so I can find rest (placement or support so as to stay in a specified position) in Him, not a temporary but a permanent rest.

How about you? Words sure are tricky, hearts even more so.  Where does this speak to you today? In what areas do you feel you need a break? How may God be applying a brake to your life? How does Jesus give a rest for your burdens? How do you need to find Him your permanent placement and support for true rest?


This post was originally published by Jillene at:

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