Sounds Like…

I am writing this from my grandmother’s kitchen table in McKenzie, TN. There’s a lot I love about this little town – so many great memories from my years visiting here as a child/teen, so much I notice when I drive down the street. But one thing I don’t notice that my kids always do is that the folks here speak with an accent. People around here take more time speaking, their words tend to have more syllables, and their vowels slide on the way out. It’s lovely.

My kids notice accents when we visit my father-in-law in Long Island, too. Their accent is VERY different from my friends and family in McKenzie, but it’s there. We love hearing people discuss “wada” and “cowafee,” hearing the “th” sound reduced to a “t”, the lilt that comes at the end of phrases.

People can open their mouths and, very often, we can tell where they’re from. At least generally — “you must be from the south/northeast/west coast/Michigan.”

People can tell more than just your heritage when you speak, though. Spend time with someone, and you’ll know what’s important to them by what comes out of their mouth.

So as I think about accents today, I am thinking less about WHAT I sound like than WHO I sound like. I want to open my mouth and, within minutes, have people know that I love Jesus, that I sound like Him.

I am asking myself these questions tudahyee (spoken in a true southern accent). Am I accented by Christ-like speech? Are my words “seasoned with grace”? Do I demonstrate love, integrity, and holiness when I talk? Do I have a “Jesus accent”? If not, why not? And what do I need to do to change my accent so it has more ‘Jesus’ than ‘Krista’?

“Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity.” I Timothy 4:12 (emphasis mine)

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