Actions > Words

I’ll tell you what: leave it to my dad to always come through with the KO knockout punch of wisdom. Even when I’m not asking for it.

This time of year is always particularly intriguing for me, because two of the biggest “calendar events” always fall on the exact same week: the beginning of Lent, and the National Eating Disorders Awareness Week.

I’ll be honest…the later, I usually have more qualms with, than support. (Read this, and this). But it is always really interesting to see what God places on my heart during this week. Because somehow, every year, God reveals to me a deeper truth that connects the two.

And this year was no exception. Except that the deeper truth, came straight from my father’s mouth, during a phone call last week.

You see, I am like every other only-girl/baby-of-the-family/daddy’s-girl, in that…more often than not, my phone calls home are me belly-aching about some situation in my life. Usually involving boys. And almost always seeking guidance.

And for my fellow baby girls out there, you know what I’m talking about.

But this particular conversation, my dad simply says — in all his fatherly wisdom — “Caralyn, actions speak louder than words.”

It’s what we’ve been told our entire lives. But sometimes, implementing it into actuality is easier said than done. Because sometimes hard truths are right in front of us – but we choose to believe words instead of concrete actions.

Sitting in Mass that night, it dawned on me that this coming Wednesday was Ash Wednesday — the beginning of Lent: the season where we spiritually prepare for Easter — the pinnacle of the Christian faith — through self-discipline and prayer.

And I was at the beautiful church in NYC — and hanging from the big, cathedral ceiling, is a ginormous cross, with our crucified Jesus hanging on it. It is larger than life, and the focal point of the worship space. So powerful. So beautiful.

But looking up at our crucified Lord, thinking about Lent — my dad’s one-liner suddenly popped into my head. And I realized…that’s it. Jesus on the Cross — that is the epitome of His actions speaking louder than His words. His death — was the follow through of all the words — He loves us that much.

That is the point of Lent — for what we do — our actions — to express our love for God: through giving up something we’re too attached to, or acting out our devotion to God through charitable works of service, or extra time in prayer. Action – not just words. Action.

Fastforward to right now, this present Monday morning. I’m sipping my tropical mango breakfast smoothie, and I come across the announcement that it’s National Eating Disorders Awareness Week.

I took a deep breath — bracing myself for what I would discover. Because I’ve felt that in the past, their themes and marketing images were more problematic than not.

And their theme this year is, “COME AS YOU ARE.”

They’re stressing inclusion of all “genders, body types, sexual orientations, races, stages of recovery, etc.” at the recovery table. Which – is great. Period.

But come as you are — I almost shook my head in disbelief for a second…didn’t Jesus say that?

And the answer is yes. Maybe not that specific phrase. But His message of “Come to me” – is all over scripture. Matthew 11:28 – “Come to me all who are weary or burdened and I will give you rest.”

Jesus’ entire ministry — up to and including the Cross — was drawing people to Him so He could love them.

But here’s the thing — Come as you are — yes. Come to Me — yes. In that weary, burdened state — as you are: yes, you are welcomed and accepted.

But that’s not where the story ends.

Action then has to take control.

Come to Me, and let Me help you change. “

Embracing a life with Christ — like embracing a life of recovery — results in change.

It changes you.

And as a result – your actions have to not only match your words, but fortify them.

When it comes to recovery – you can’t just give lip service to recovery, and continue to engage in eating disorder behaviors. You have to take action.

As it is with faith. And Lent is that time to put our money where our mouth is. And strive to live out our faith in action. Culminating at Easter, where Jesus’ resurrection literally makes us new: new creations in the risen Christ.

All of this, of course, is much easier said than done. Just ask my lazy butt this past Sunday: when I literally sat around in running clothes all day — with the intention of going jogging, and yet could never find the energy to get off the couch.

Actions speak louder than words.

Thanks, Dad, for yet another pearl of wisdom that is applicable to everything from romance, to recovery, to religion.

“This is what the Lord says to these bones: I will make breath enter you, and you will come to life.” Ez 37:5

A big thank you to my foundational sponsor, BetterHelp Online Therapy. I cannot begin to express how beneficial therapy was for my recovery from anorexia.  Speak with an online therapist. Or check out content about eating disorders from BetterHelp.


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88 responses to “Actions > Words”

  1. This is beautiful. Yes, Jesus takes us as we are. No need to feel shame, guilt or judgment.
    As for what your Dad said…sometimes we hear from God through other people.
    Keep writing. Keep going…

    • Thank you so much John 🙂 amen to that!! I definitely agree that God often uses other people to speak to us! Hugs and love xox

  2. Yes again, I said this before and I say it now your dad is right! As you are most certainly painfully aware I tend to go on and talk too much or beat a dead horse as the cliché goes. Well guess what my dad told me as a teen and even decades later, especially when I got into one of my monologues or dissertations! That lesson and those words of wisdom unfortunately didn’t take full hold in my psyche for many years partly because I’m more of a talker than my dad but I’m a doer too and can kick butt getting huge things done or taking on big challenges fearlessly but talking is always a huge part of my endeavors and leading up to them. That is where the easier said than done comes in and I take it you find this reality a sore spot like I have at times but I know we’re not alone and in fact most people are like us from time to time and many are constantly; but very few are like our dads! Not such chips off the old block are we! God sees and knows all and what matters is like you said, He loves us that much, so He knows if you’re doing your best and your best is good enough, just don’t fake it or cheat and think you can be a slacker and get away with that BS, that might hold water with friends or even dad could be faked out a bit in a rare instance, but never God! Go get em!

    • Thanks so much Lawrence for this thoughtful response! You’re right! He loves us that much!!! Great advice. Hugs and love xox

      • Awoke at 3 AM I guess to tell you this! You’re welcome and I did nothing it just came to me in that way very much like much of my special weekend experience came to me through His glorious Holy Spirit working miracles daily in our lives. I’ve said this to you before also if not precisely this way. Yes, your dad like mine have always said the right thing, as in my dad’s case he never would talk the way I do with so many words but when he speaks he sure have the right words; not unlike your dad! But our dads do that so aren’t we to know when our heavenly Father speaks to us it’s a forgone conclusion it’s the absolute best advice and the bottom line we’re looking for as well, and in such desperate need of hearing! Dad will never let you down, so to me that’s evidence that our Heavenly Father who knows all things has it covered, so abide in Him as incessantly as you can because He is holding your right hand and won’t ever let go, He is your mountain of truth and your place of refuge to soothe and comfort all of your wounds and sorrows; yes He loves you that much and way, way more than you or I can comprehend, and that is such a beautiful thing to rejoice about; He has it all covered dear Caralyn, so fret not. Shalom in the name of Jesus Christ.

      • You’re welcome Caralyn, and I appreciate good thought! I actually did conk out like a light and slept an hour past my wake-up time, but, I’m not kidding I had a dream and in the dream I was talking to this tall guy about a story, he was some author or producer thing going on as I recall, and then you were over to one side riding on some cart sort of thing and I yelled over yes it’s an awesome great movie line from that movie “Papillon” a favorite kind of classic starring one of my favorite film actors Steve McQueen who was an awesome movie star the way I gauge them and such a cool guy with a tough childhood, then as he said in some past interview he joined the Marines and they straightened him out quick! I always thought too bad how he didn’t stick around another few decades passing on so young really. I bet your dad and brothers loved him in the Great Escape and maybe you did too, LOL! Another top notch effort of his films which I do have most of them, which had a powerful story in a western genre film was “Nevada Smith!” Brian Keith another cool old school actor plays a good older father figure man who once they run into each other by fate or I think God takes Max Sands (Steve) under his wing for a short time wising him up about the bad outlaws Max is tracking that murdered his parents; and so being a wet behind the ears kid that if he really won’t stop pursuing them he may have a chance at not getting himself killed in the process. The story unfolds during the 1890’s California Gold Rush and has beautiful music, cinematography, direction and a whole lot of fine actors making for a very entertaining and even tear jerking classical style film. If you never saw it you owe it to yourself and I’m sure you will have some good takeaways from your watching it. There’s the usual rough necking literally type scenes but there is a very tender love interest shorter portion to the film that is very sad in my eyes enough in fact it made me cry, but I love that film and actually a lot or all of the actors male and female; whole different era of people! Trump just said recently upon Hollywood’s release of its staple typical freaky stuff, We need “Gone with the Wind” again (American epic historical romance film adapted from the 1936 novel by Margaret Mitchell); and I agree we need solid classic stories with a complete ensemble of talent to complement making a real classic now, enough already of just more of this CGI over the top weird stuff to titillate and freak people out with bizarre stories and effect. I know the world and people have changed but maybe it can change back too! I know Kevin David Sorbo and his wife work toward those kinds of goals and “God Isn’t Dead” or “Let There Be Light” were two good ones he starred in. So there is a desire by many out there to bring back the good old days of film-making and tell stories with traditional values and that have powerful drama embedded in them that make people think and change for the better. I think the “Grand Theft Auto” culture and mind-set of many younger audiences coupled with the seedy jerks of the industry that got way too interested in going Left and just making boatloads of money with the only purpose of making the film being the money, when it really doesn’t have to be just about the mega-bucks! Anyway hope you get to watch some of those classics when you have a chance! 🙂

      • Yes Caralyn, I left-out though that some of us are really good at it! Takes practice, only in this case not to be perfect but somewhere shy of being a doofus! 😂👍👏

  3. Caralyn if anyone is involved in more action than you I would be surprised. And many have been helped through those actions. When negative or difficult things happen around this time of year I always think it must be Lent. If ever there is a time when the devil tries to make us feel like failures it is now when we are remembering how much Christ suffered for our sins. But he stayed on the cross despite our shortcomings. He sacrificed himself for us – just as we are. That’s something no one can take away, hang in there – you are his child and that’s who you are. Thanks again. Your words always make me think. And inspire me. John

    • Thank you so much John! Oh gosh you’re kind to say that. You’re right – He paid the ultimate price and no one can take that away. Big hugs to you xox

  4. I have missed your posts!! We have been away for awhile. But, we are good and back!! Actions, INDEED do speak louder than words! Dad knows best!! So commonly expressed, but you are right, we overlook the truth and veracity often! May this Lent find us letting His truth transform and revive us and propel us to action! Amen!!


      • OOPS again no not only for all of the typos and syntax errors I’ve been making lately like on my last blog, I really need a proof reader; but I was heading off here to bed and saw this additional thank you and I want to say that is sweet, but remember Caralyn as you already know we owe everything to Him our Lord and Savior, and guess what, I have to remind myself of this lately so much too! I guess we can never be thankful enough in these mere broken bodies which aren’t what He wants to join Him in His heavenly kingdom, indeed the soul is what will be matched with a glorified body there with Him in His everlasting glory! Wow, thank you Jesus for that! I really want to make it there and I hope I’m good enough, but at least for now He gives me many of these opportunities to make sure I will be deserving! Thanks be to God. Just have to keep trying!
        Oh, I did fix all of the huge errors in my last blog (I think) and I just saw the have instead of has with our dads. I think my brain needs a vacation, LOL!

  5. National Eating Disorders Awareness Week or Jesus… and here my old fortysomething butt read “come as you are” and immediately thought of Nirvana. Great song. Great thoughts too. Actions really do speak louder than words.

  6. “I firmly resolve, with the help of thy grace, to confess my sins, to do penance, and to amend my life.

    Actions really do speak louder than words. Great thoughts.

  7. This was lovely — and spot on. Tomorrow, you might like to look at some lines I wrote about 20 years ago when my only daughter was seven and waiting for those ashes. You are an amazing woman, and I really appreciate what you write.

    • Thank you so much! I’m so glad you thought so! I look forward to reading that tomorrow! Hugs and love xox

  8. My dear friend Caralyn,

    For this subject I want to share a poem of mine that have written almost 2 years ago.
    Warm hugs to you

    Words precede deeds

    Our words alone
    Cannot put deeds
    Into practice:
    It requires doing…

    Only then we can be
    In harmony with ourselves
    When there is no difference
    Between words and deeds

    And thoughts precede words/deeds…

    DidiArtist, 04.03.2018

  9. >> “my phone calls home are me belly-aching about some situation in my life. Usually involving boys.”…
    Oh.. There it goes again.. my feline DNA is all a quiver with curiosity.

    Your dad is right. If a guy truly cares for you, he’d show it in action.
    I recall a story where a couple were talking to each other on the phone. The guy was making bold claims… “I’d swim the deepest ocean to be with you. I’d climb Mt. Everest to be with you, etc, etc.”..
    The girl was smiling and giggling listening to all of it and then she asked, “Are we still going to meet tonight?”
    “Yeah, sure.. if it does rain.” 🙂

    Getting back to your article, I remember a brilliant message by Pastor John Hagee, “Love isn’t something you say. It is something you do.”
    And as you rightly pointed out, no one is a better example of that than our Lord.

    Ask a toddler, “How much do you love Mama?”
    “This much”, he/she would say; stretching the arms all the way to side, reaching as far as possible.

    Now imagine Christ.. “How much do you love the world?”.. “This much..” and his arms were nailed in that position on the cross as an eternal symbol of God’s love.
    Is He there right now?.. Nope.. He’s seated in victory, but to imagine the pain, the torture, the agony..
    Watching Mel Gibson’s “Passion of the Christ” was an epic reminder of his ordeal – something no human should ever endure.

    • thank you so much for this powerful response! haha oh my gosh — if it doesn’t rain! that’s hysterical!!! and sadly so true — i have BEEN THERE – oh my gosh wow. in all seriousness, that is a powerful visual of Christ’s love. thank you for sharing that. Hugs and love xox

      • Oh wow.. I’m sorry you were in that position. Frankly any guy who would do that to a beautiful girl like you is an idiot. But haha.. didn’t know you would have a first hand experience of it. Well.. I might have guessed. Otherwise your dad wouldn’t have given you such profound advice.

        If you ever need a friend to talk to, my ears are always open.

      • Thank you. Yeah my dad always knows what to say in any given situation. It’s a remarkable gift. And gosh you’re kind to say that. Thank you 🙂 Hugs and love xox

  10. Yes, our Savior takes us “as we are.” But he loves us too much to leave us that way. He will change our hearts from stone to flesh so we can share that love with everyone. – if we put all our faith in Him.

    • He loves us too much to leave us that way — what a powerful way to put it! thanks for stopping by! Hugs and love xox

    • oh my gosh what a kind thing to say!!! thank you so much! i’m glad this resonated with you! Hugs and love xox

  11. With conviction there is the need to Act. You love and live Action. I admire your commitment keeping us informed as to our weakness. The weakness that makes us stronger. Thank you for you.

  12. Deep, powerful. The best place to hide the biggest truths is in plain sight, right?

    Maybe you find validation and some other way to frame all this on my last entry. I was reading yours and was all, “YESSS!! THISSS!!”

    Tears to my eyes.

    =One Love=


  13. I hope that you have a great Ash Wednesday.

    P.S. I hope to be arriving at Penn Station at 11:05am on Sunday, March 22. I am riding a special train from DC to NYC, and return home on Greyhound at 4:00pm.

  14. First, do you think it’s no coincidence that National Eating Disorders Awareness Week coincides with Lent? Perhaps because Lent is a season of denial? Just a thought.

    Caralyn, everything here is very spot on theologically. It reminds me of Pr. Neugebauer’s sermon a while back when he said that Jesus loves us enough to ask us to come as we are. But He also loves us enough to want us to listen to Him and de better! I always cringe when I hear that phrase “Come as you are,” as it often is used as an excuse for poor and even boorish behavior.

    Maybe give yourself a break over not jogging last Sunday. Maybe you’re a bit run down without realizing it. Your body and or mind were telling you “Today isn’t the day.” If every day becomes “not the day” maybe then start wondering about yourself.

    Sorry I missed last night. On the road and pretty busy. Really enjoyed this article!

    • What an interesting thought! And yes that’s so true – loves us enough to be better. Yeah me too! It’s only half of what He calls us for!! Yeah that’s a great point – and what my dad said too. Always important to listen to the body and respect its needs. All good!! I hope you’re having a great week! We’re almost at Friday! Hooray!!! Thanks Jeff for stopping by and as always, giving me such a valuable tidbit of wisdom!! Hugs to you and your girls xoxoxox

  15. Having grown up in a Baptist tradition, and watching Catholic friends select apparently trivial items to give up for Lent (really, did Jesus ever talk about chocolate?), I usually rolled my eyes at how they carried on the ritual deprivation (and preceding and subsequent indulgence in chocolate binging). However, I have come to see the tradition differently. Rather than focusing on what we are giving up, focus on what we can do if we are not focused on what we will not do. Rather than pretending to be something that is not in our nature, “come as you are”, be and do. Maybe we would be more aware that Heaven is here if we were a bit more accepting of ourselves in Heaven, now. – Oscar

    • What a powerful thought, thanks for sharing that Oscar! Glad you stopped by! Hope you’re having a great day! Hugs and love xox

  16. Really powerful article! You brought together Lent and National Eating Disorder Awareness Week so well! As a Southern Baptist, we often neglect the seasons like Lent as a church. I think we really lose out by not sitting with the weight of the world’s brokenness for a time. We try to cram recognition of God’s great gift of salvation in a single hour so we can rush to “change with Jesus” before the service ends. Yet, dwelling on the weight of a season (as you have reflected on your battle with an eating disorder) helps us make wiser decisions and choices (the action) moving forward. You gave me a lot to think about today! Thank you!

    • Thank you so much! I’m so glad you enjoyed it! You’re right – it’s a really beautiful season to appreciate the gravity of His gift for us. Hugs and love xox

  17. That Sunday, I was also dressed for a run that did not happen 🤔

    I am working on being and working in the U.S., but I am not there yet.

    But I am taking some career steps here, that are on my heart and mind, and that I plan to do in the U.S. (The common thread is learning, teaching and worship / evangelism 😮)

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