“Those who guard their lips preserve their lives, but those who speak rashly will come to ruin.” Proverbs 13:3 (NIV)
A week ago I wrote on my whiteboard:
Hold your tongue so I can do my work – Jesus
I thought it was weird as nothing crazy was going on in my world. Then the crazy showed up as it always does, and that message challenged my heart and helped me avoid massive destruction.
I’ve been labeled a talker since I was a toddler. I can hold a conversation with strangers. Being a waitress for 16 years helped me shape my talking gift!
When problems arise holding my tongue is not my first response. I see the potential and the heartbreak in people. I can feel the energy when I enter a room. My nerves go on high alert when drama arises. I waste time over-analyzing the replay and the future. My desire for others to thrive joyfully motivates me to be my best self.
The flip side is I can be very hot-tempered. I don’t back down because I’m right. I have a very hard time apologizing. I don’t understand how or why people think the way they do.
I see the problem and I want to fix it quickly. I hate wasting time, yet I waste too much time trying to play God. I should know better by now, but I don’t! I’m a work in progress.
Over the past week, my husband and I have had stupid intense arguments over parenting, bills, and schedules. My vertigo has shown itself which triggers my anxiety. My husband is losing a family farm this month. A different set of grandparents are on the decline. The school decisions for next year feel overwhelming.
Watching and waiting as family responds to the drama at hand has shaken us. There is so much we don’t understand. It’s frustrating to be a grown-up. I told my dad, “I would love to be grounded and only have my bedroom!” Isn’t it crazy how childhood punishments are now wanted dreams as adults?
As situations popped up this week, I kept coming back to the encouragement of holding my tongue.
The tongue is the most powerful weapon. It either brings life or death. There is no in-between. Does every situation turn out perfectly because I am holding my tongue? No way! But I am trying to pause. I’m trying to LET GO AND LET GOD.
A person’s behavior is not my burden to carry. I am trying to surrender. I am trying to not critique my high schooler. I’m trying to not critique my husband when I know if he would do a task the way I want and within my timeline, we would get the best results. I am trying to not speak fear into my children, nieces, and nephews.
I’m trying to create a new habit of holding my tongue so Jesus can do the work. He really does a much better job when I step aside.
Maybe you are staring at a mountain, and you don’t see how it can move? Maybe you are exhausted from the weight of the world and the burdens you’ve chosen to carry? If you struggle with holding your tongue, you are emotionally worn out. Take a break and silence your tongue!
I have seen many situations this week that my words would have ruined had I quickly responded. Words can make situations worse. Much worse.
My advice is simple: Hold your tongue when dealing with people but let your tongue run wild and free when talking to Jesus. Nothing is off-limits. He will give us promised rest!
“Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28 (NLT)