Words To Live By


When you’re confused, feeling lost, or at the end of your rope what words come to mind? I mean other than the ones that scream, ‘It’s hopeless. My life is over!’

I find words to live by, precepts, give me a framework on which to cling to and live by.

Precept: a command or principle intended especially as a general rule of action. (Merriam-Webster Dictionary)

Last week in the hush of a Catholic church in Italy, surrounded by the light of holy candles and ancient relics, I had a moment of quiet reflection and meditation. I was looking for answers, but what I got was the confirmation that I didn’t need to seek answers, so much as to live by a simple creed.  The answers will come when they’re needed.


I’d just finished writing a YA novel about a girl with a protagonist who is questioning her sexuality. In the process of struggling with a very personal question, she faces a variety of responses form the people in her world. In writing from the point of view of a person faced with a personal dilemma that affected her social, emotional and spiritual health and well being I was faced with the question of what my personal response would be.

In the end, the question about a person’s sexuality wasn’t the main concern. The main concern is how to live, and relate, in a world that has such polarized views on sexuality.

This precept is one I hold dear and has given me the framework I’ve needed many times in my life.

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I find I am more certain of my personal belief in God these days. I may question some of the interpretations and cultural constructs around my faith, but faith is still my strength.

I’ve let go of some strongly held opinions or beliefs and am questioning others, however, in my world wisdom is wrapped up in faith.

Wisdom is often found when I’m less certain and choose to follow a simple path. When things aren’t completely right or wrong, black or white, my faith helps me to keep things simple. Sometimes we make things more complicated than they need to be.

The Prayer of St. Francis is filled with wisdom, and when life gets complicated and messy, this prayer gives me words to live by.

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No matter what our position is on issues, our beliefs, our values or opinions, we all need words to live by. Let’s make them kind, filled with strength and loving.


About Elaine Fraser

Elaine realised she wanted to be a writer at ten years of age when the words flew off the page during a creative writing lesson. She studied English and Education at university and went on to spend many years as a high school English teacher teaching others how to write. In 2005, Elaine took the plunge and began writing full-time. Since then she has published five books and blogs at www.elainefraser.co. Elaine’s passion is to write about real issues with a spiritual edge. When she’s not travelling the world in search of quirky bookstores or attending writing retreats in exotic locations, she can be found in the Perth hills sitting in her library—writing, reading, mentoring writers and hugging her golden retriever.