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Monday, June 7, 2010

Taming of the Tongue....

I have been contemplating writing this one.
It is never fun to share about a shortcoming that you have.
And although I know, like everyone else, I have many.... I dislike this one the most.

I have a smart mouth.
That is how my aunt described it when I was younger.
I am quick with the come backs and can be swift with the cut down.
I am not mean by nature... but I can be extremely not nice when I least want to be.

If I feel threatened... or if I "see" something that I don't like.... it comes out.
The mean me.
The person I try really hard to hide and keep at bay.
And so often... more often than I like these days, the not nice part of me has been showing up more and more.

Is it because I asked God to show me the areas yet to need His immediate attention so that I can move on to the next seasons in my life....?
Am I now more cognisant of the "rotten" parts of me as God is cleaning and refining me up?
Most likely.
Pray with caution I should say....
Because you get what you ask for.

I am needing to say sorry so often these days that I'm thinking of having a plaque made and hung around my neck.
It's been that bad.
I don't mean to.... I don't try.
But before I can stop them, the words that I wish would just stay shut away come charging out.... and show a side of me that I deplore.

Now you know.

So now that its out..... I can quite honestly share where I'm going with this.

We are all human.
I know that... you know that.
And like all of you, I make mistakes.
But like I stated last post... I never think it's a good excuse to sin.
It is a great reason to acknowledge our lack and need of our Savior....
But I don't want it to be my "go to" reason when I let the ugly come out, or when it slips out unintentionally.  
And even worse, when my actions wound or hurt someone I love with unintended carelessness.

This is the one that has been keeping me up at night lately.
The reason that I have been tossing and turning....
Groaning as I see the words fly out of my mouth.... and swing into the person directly in front of me... wishing I could grab them back.

I wish I was better than that....
Oh how I wish.
And not because I want  perfection... but for those that I love most.... I want to be better.

I can't be perfect... even good is pushing it I think.

This has only been reserved for One.

The One that I need just to make it through my day without trampling on some ones heart and feelings.
I love others so much.
So why is this so hard for me?
Why do I struggle with it so much?

Why can't I tame my tongue?
And sometimes just my body language?

None of us has the power to save ourselves.
If you think you can... wrestle with that one for a while and let me know how it works out for you.
For me.... I KNOW that I can't save myself.
More than I know anything else.

God is the only One who can truly save me.
I can only be changed and transformed into the person I long to be by the Creator of the universe.
All my efforts to make it work and happen on my own have always been met with failure.
Why do we think it can be done any other way?

When I am short with my kids.... cutting with my husband.... and easily frustrated with those who annoy me....
This is the humanness in me.
This is what I fight, and have to allow God entrance to, laying down my pride and my right to act that way. 
Admitting I need Him, and admitting that my behavior is not acceptable. 
To Him. Or  those around me.
Letting Him do the work in me, and not fighting when He is weeding it out of me.

I can be impatient, unkind, unloving, selfish, harsh, and so many other things.

I expect people to eventually see the dirty muddy parts of me, and end up not liking me at all.
Giving up on me... and stop loving me.
Some have I guess..... But God has been showing and reminding me of those that haven't... so many, that I am brought to tears by the thought of them.
And He has been showing me through them, Who He is and how He works.
Through them He has been showing me His nature.... His character.

Even though I have allowed the pressures and stresses of my life lately to influence my actions and tongue more often than I like these days, those around me have continued to be kind. 
Continued to be gracious and forgiving. 
And have continued loving me.

They have continued to show Jesus to me. 
Over and over.
Day after day.

After my husband arrived home late from work  a few days ago, and after a particularly bumpy night for me, we lay down in bed and I just broke.
He lay there silently listening as I cried, self deprecated, and pretty much listed out all my failures, faults, and disappointments. I heard him chuckle a few times (he knows me well), and at one point he reached out and grabbed my hand and held it tight.
I finished.... spent, exhausted, and done out.

He responded to me with this one question.....

"Do you still trust God?"
"I do.", I shakily responded back.

He squeezed my hand, let go.... and rolled over.... "Then it will all be okay."

I just continued to lay there... staring at the ceiling with cheeks wet from my tears and sniffling.
I eventually heard his soft breathing as he began to sleep.
And at first I was a little frustrated.
That's it?
Do I still trust God?
How could he leave me with that after all I just spilled out?
I knew he was struggling too.
I knew that he was having a hard time with so many things that we are facing, and have been facing.

But as the last few days have gone by and passed with increasing speed... I have continued to hear my husbands heart in that question.

Do I still trust God?
Do we still trust God?

When I can't control circumstances?
When I can't control what people are going to think about me without getting to my heart?
When I see people I love so much walking away from God?
When I feel the pain of thousands that I don't even know?
When my dreams feel like a far off unattainable thing?
When I can't fix everything that gets broken?
When I can't help those who won't help themselves?
When excuses become the answer for everything?
When I want to give up working so hard to make it all work out?
When I long for relationships that have been broken for so long?
When I hurt?
When I get mad?
When I hurt others I love the most?
When I feel like things I've said or done are irreparable?
When I can't seem to control the smallest part of my body that wields the greatest effect on everyone around me?

Do I trust Him?

Can He handle all that?
Can He handle me?

Yesterday I walked into church flustered and frustrated.
It was a long morning.

(Huge sigh here)

As I sat in the pew I let my head fall forward.... and I just stayed that way for a while.

"I am awful.", I thought.
"God, how can you be pleased with me right now? I have blown it so many times this week. Heck, my whole life!"
As I sat there, I began to question whether I really did trust God.
Not to be able to do the impossible things.
Not at that moment.
But if He could ever fix me?

One of our associate pastors stood at that moment, and shared this scripture:

Job 26:7-14 
He spreads out the northern skies over empty space;
       he suspends the earth over nothing.

 8 He wraps up the waters in his clouds,
       yet the clouds do not burst under their weight.

 9 He covers the face of the full moon,
       spreading his clouds over it.

 10 He marks out the horizon on the face of the waters
       for a boundary between light and darkness.

 11 The pillars of the heavens quake,
       aghast at his rebuke.

 12 By his power he churned up the sea;
       by his wisdom he cut Rahab to pieces.

 13 By his breath the skies became fair;
       his hand pierced the gliding serpent.

 14 And these are but the outer fringe of his works;
       how faint the whisper we hear of him!
       Who then can understand the thunder of his power?"

I let the Word of God soak into my heart.
I let myself go.
I let the morning go.
And I began to let Him in.

My pastor stood shortly after and  shared this Word:

Isaiah 61:1-3
The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is on me,
       because the LORD has anointed me
       to preach good news to the poor.
       He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
       to proclaim freedom for the captives
       and release from darkness for the prisoners, 

 2 to proclaim the year of the LORD's favor
       and the day of vengeance of our God,
       to comfort all who mourn,

 3 and provide for those who grieve in Zion—
       to bestow on them a crown of beauty
       instead of ashes,
       the oil of gladness
       instead of mourning,
       and a garment of praise
       instead of a spirit of despair.
       They will be called oaks of righteousness,
       a planting of the LORD
       for the display of his splendor.

He posed this question....

"Did we believe that we were as the scripture said we could be?"
I will honestly say that I'm not always sure.
But I want to be.
I want to be comforted by Him.
I want a crown of beauty instead of ashes.
I want gladness instead of mourning.
I want to be praising my Heavenly Father, and an encourager of all those around me instead of critical and disparaging.
I want it to be said of me that I am an oak of righteousness, a planting of the Lord, displaying His splendor.

I want all of that.

But do I trust Him to do it? That He can do it?
Because I can't do it by myself.
Wanting it is only half the battle.
Like my pastor stated yesterday... I have to "put it on".
Every day.

We never know when it will be a not so good day.
But if we are ready, prepared, and already walking, serving Him, loving Him, and seeking time with Him....
We will be ready.

And that tongue of mine....
Well.... hopefully I will be smart enough to choose to guard my heart with His Word, fill my mind with His truths, and stay steadfast in making the time it takes to walk in the intimate relationship that He desires to have with me.

All to Him.
Giving it over.... and trusting Him with it all.... with all of me.
And when I mess up... like I know I will.....
I don't have to worry.
Hate myself or beat myself up.
I need to remember that He's already paid the price for all my mess ups.
I can stand knowing that although He doesn't like it when I choose wrong, He is more than able and willing to embrace me and wrap me in His love when I come to Him, sorry and willing to let Him change me and help me.

I need Him.
More than I've needed Him before.
I know I keep saying it.
I hope it's something that I never stop repeating.

I continue to realize I have so much more to learn......

But what I am learning the most these days is this....

His grace far outreaches my mistakes.
His love far encompasses my inadequacies.
And His forgiveness allows me to walk upright, steady, and forward when completely surrendered and willing to follow and seek after Him... even when His footprints are hard to follow after....
He is willing to lead if I am willing to let Him.... knowing that He can give me the strength to do it.

All we have to do is ask....
Sometimes we allow that to be the hardest part.

.... until another tomorrow.