INSPI’RE: to draw in breath; to inhale air into the lungs. To breathe into. To infuse by breathing. To infuse into the mind; as to inspire with new life. To infuse or suggest ideas or monitions supernaturally; to communicate divine instructions to the mind. To infuse ideas or poetic spirit.
I have a copy of the American Dictionary of the English Language by Noah Webster. It’s a huge, four inch thick volume that I picked up during a women’s retreat I was leading worship at a few years back. The speaker was as fascinated by words as I am and she often referred to this first edition version of the dictionary that Mr. Webster created way back in 1828, when words still held some of their spiritual meanings. It sits in my office on the shelf with all my other reference books. This morning, I felt the urge to dust it off and crack it open. I’m always curious about how the meaning of words has changed over time.
For instance, I looked up the word “Inspire”, one of the key themes in my writing, and found the definition I listed above. Then I went to my modern age dictionary, Google, and found this definition: fill (someone) with the urge or ability to do or feel something, especially to do something creative.
It got me to thinking, what does the word “inspire” mean to me personally?
I’ve always thought of inspiring others as something I do from a distance. I can inspire strangers to be kind by showing kindness. I can inspire my sons to finish the race by holding up signs and yelling “you got this!” as they run by during a half marathon. I’m inspired by reading and hearing words and phrases that make me want to get off the couch and do something. I’m inspired by the butterflies that dance around my garden and the sunrise and sunset and rainbows and…..the list goes on and on.
But in looking at Webster’s original interpretation of the word, to inspire is more than just an external exercise of acting a certain way or saying or seeing certain things. It appears to be much more intimate. Even as I read the definition, I found myself breathing in more mindfully. I want to experience inspiration as a feeling and not only an action.
The Bible is called the “inspired word of God.” I actually never really thought about what that meant, until I opened my reference book by Mr. Webster. I realize that the Bible is more than just the words that God told Moses or David or Isaiah or Peter or Paul to write down. It is the very essence of God’s breath! His living, breathing words that sustain us when we don’t think we can go on. They are the assurance that what I read every day is what God wants me to understand about him, his love and his plans for this amazing world he created!
I’m in awe! I want to inspire other people to reach for more than they think attainable; live more fully than they think possible; and love more completely the God who loves them beyond anything we could imagine! I want to be infused by the breath of the Creator, the one who started it all by creating us out of dirt and then breathing His breath into us. We should be inspired to be like the One who’s very breath keeps us going!
Pull out your own internal dictionary and think about what the word “inspire” means to you. Do you feel the same empowerment I feel? Do you have the same urge to shake the world up a bit by living an inspired life? How amazing would it be if everyone we met were able to feel the very breath of God’s inspiration in every encounter they have with us?
I can tell you….it would totally ROCK!!!