Beyond definition and into meaning

Beyond definition and into meaning

I know it’s a very basic, standard (and quite frankly boring) way to start a blog with “this word means this,” but stick with me because we aren’t talking about definitions today, we are talking about meaning.

I always appreciate when a single word has a depth of meaning to it beyond the simple definition. 

Words like petrichor, the definition is simply “the pleasant smell that frequently accompanies the first rain after a long period of warm, dry weather.”

That’s the definition of petrichor, but what does it mean? It means life. It means growth. Healing. Restoration.

Sometimes, when we hear a word, it’s easy to think about the definition, but the meaning can be a little more elusive. 

A word I’ve been seeing, hearing and struggling with a lot lately is “Abide.” At first it was popping up in some historical fiction books I read, unsurprisingly since it is a slightly antiquated word. 

But then I started seeing it throughout more of my day, reading current fiction, regular non-fiction, Christian non-fiction and even hearing it in a movie my kids were watching. And to really take it to the next level, I attended an IF:Gathering where it was used multiple times. 

And so the search for what God was wanting to show me through abide began. I’m here to tell you I don’t know. Anti-climactic, right? 

Maybe, but more than that I have two questions to which abide is actually the answer, and as I go throughout my day I’m beginning to not only seek out the meaning of abide, but also ask myself these simple questions…

What would You want me to know?
What would You want me to do?

Both of these questions can simply be answered with, “Abide.”

We often feel it’s unfortunate when instead of giving us answers God gives us more questions. But maybe it’s not the answer in which God reveals himself. Maybe God reveals himself more through the asking of questions that push us toward him and in doing so we truly learn what it means to abide. 

Back to blog