How Many Words Does A Picture Paint?


There’s an old idiom that says, “A picture is worth a thousand words.”  But, the question is, “How many words does a picture paint?  Or rather, “How many words does a picture paint specifically to you?”

Have you ever looked at a picture and it told you a story or it reminded you of a situation that you experienced?  Did it remind you of your past?  Did it remind you of a dream?   …What story or stories does a picture paint for you?  How many painful thoughts does a picture paint?  How many thoughts of joy does a picture paint?  How many walls or breakthroughs does a picture paint?  How many reactions does a picture paint?  Paris

How often does a picture revive a dream that’s painted on the canvases of your mind?  How often does a picture make you say, “Wow!  I’m taking that trip next year!”   How many words does a picture paint? 

Pictures are thought provoking?

Pictures do so much and make for much conversation.  Pictures inspire, remind, sadden, encourage, bring joy and spark action.  They can tell you what the story is behind the picture.  They can evoke thoughts of people that result in happiness, sadness or frustration.  Some pictures remind you of your job, your church, your school, your spouse, your children, your grandchildren, your parents, your grandparents, your nephews, your nieces, your aunts, your uncles, your cousins, or your friends.  breaking walls heartThey can remind you of your sordid past and how God freed you.  They can speak to you about your now.  They can remind you of your wonderful future.  And even though the diversity of thoughts that pictures provoke are contingent upon the person looking at the picture, the thoughts encompass words.  Sometimes three words, four words, five words, five hundred words, one thousand words or five thousand words are sparked by pictures?  How many words does a picture paint?

Have you ever looked at a picture and it reminded you of a life dream that didn’t happen?  Perhaps it’s a picture of happily married couples with children.  Perhaps it’s a picture of an opulent house or your dream car.  Perhaps it’s a picture of a doctor, lawyer, college professor, college graduate, actress, NFL player, nurse, Olympic swimmer, NBA player, or just anyone living their dream.  What words do pictures paint in the reservoirs of your mind?

Pictures make indelible imprints and speak to perception.  But why?

Think about it. How many fixed mindsets does a picture paint?  How many ways of thinking does a picture paint?  Can pictures cause us to think the way we think about certain things or people?  Could it be that the imagery that we have looked at repeatedly has caused us to perceive that certain things are what they are?

…I recently watched a clip of a newscaster talking about how people have always seen images of Jesus as a white male.  The gentleman, who happened to be Caucasian went on to say that people imposing their image of who Jesus is has affects how people view Jesus,  He said that the image of a white Jesus has been used to justify enslavement, conquest, colonialism, genocide and indigenous people.  He also said that this imagery that represented Jesus for centuries as a white Jesus speaks to the entire history of white supremacy; an image that has been used to dominate.  He went on to say that black folk can view Jesus as black, but what has happened is the imagery has caused an effect on how Jesus is viewed; and because those pictures have been ingrained in society as a whole for so many years.  They have caused the world to view Jesus as white.  He also included Santa Claus in what he termed as an iconic view.

Now I’m not entering into a theological or race relations debate; or an attack against those who choose to enjoy Santa Clause here.  This is just to prove a point about how pictures paint powerful words. Black-santa-claus …When I thought about what the guy in that video said, it caused me to think about one of the  influences of why I view some things the way I view them.  Then I pulled up pictures of a black Santa Claus on the internet.  When I looked at the pictures, a peculiar thought immediately came to my mind.  It was, “They are trying to impersonate the real Santa.”   Even though I know that Santa is a fictitious concept, these thoughts surprised me.  Oh no!  I had no clue that I had an engraved view that the correct representation of Santa is a white male.  What’s your view?  How has pictures painted your perception?

It then caused me to think about my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.  Even though, I’ve never seen Jesus, and I know that Jesus is alive; the pictures of the blonde haired, blue-eyed image of Jesus that I’ve seen my entire life came into my mind.  These thoughts caused me to think of how pictures make imprints upon our perceptions.  So the question remains:  “How many words does a picture paint?”

Pictures paint a mixture of painful and joyful words.

One of my dear cousins posted a picture of my beautiful daughter on social media yesterday.  She expressed her thoughts of missing Mika.  I looked at the picture and immediately cried.  It sparked so much pain, Mila (Black and White Top)especially this time of the year, when most people miss their loved ones who have passed away.  Yet, when I looked at the picture again, the Spirit of the Lord brought so many thoughts to my mind.  What was painted on the canvas of my mind when I saw Mika’s picture on my social media timeline?  First it was the painful experience leading to her death.  Then, the words; pretty, strong, resilient, love, joy, in spite of, why, missing my baby, no more pain, peace, happiness, praise and Heaven splashed across my mind as if a painter was creating an abstract masterpiece on his canvas.

Do you paint your own pictures?

The person who first brought out the concept of a vision board had to have seen an image in their mind that needed placement on paper.  Painters have stories as inspiration to their paintings.  Vision boards are useful tools to help you.  They remind you of your past.  They remind you of your future.  They remind you of your hope.  They remind you of your dreams.  They remind you to keep going.  They remind you to pray.  They remind you to seek and trust God.  Do you paint your own pictures?

My friends, in this day of “selfies” and pictures of food, clothes, houses, cars, dogs, cats, horses, trees, parties, engagements, marriages, tragedies and births; think about it.  What does a picture really say?  It really does not matter how many words a picture paints; let the picture that grabs your attention cause you to think.  Let it paint creativity in your heart.  how-to-oil-painting-trees_WidePlayerLet it paint joy in your heart.  Let it paint revival in your thoughts.  Let it paint words of faith into your spirit.   And, let it paint the need to read the Word of God and pray for the land for such a time as this.  Most of all; allow the Lord to paint a picture of His Will in the corridors of your mind.  I can imagine Abraham seeing in his mind what God told him in Genesis 13:14, 15  “….raise your eyes now, and look from the place where you are, northward and southward and eastward and westward; for all the land you see I will give to you and to your offspring forever.”  (NRSV)  See it before you see it so that you can experience it.

Thank you for joining me in these Thursday thoughts of reflection.  I’ll leave you with these questions;  “How many words does a picture paint?  How many words does a picture paint specifically to you?”  Join me in conversation.  I’d love to hear from you.  We’ll talk soon.



Originally posted 2015-12-17 13:48:24.

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