“Words don’t just tumble out of my mouth randomly or by mistake. They are purposeful and intentional having originated first in my heart. So, if we have a mouth problem, in actuality what we really have is a heart and mind problem.” (Excerpt from “Keep It Shut” by Karen Ehman pg 17)
I thought that I only had a mouth problem. Until I read that passage from Karen Ehman’s new book. (by the way… you MUST read this book – read my review here) I don’t have a mouth problem. But is it that I have a heart problem? Or do I have a mind problem? I don’t know which one has the biggest problem. But what I do know is that I have a problem.
I don’t know why, but it just seems like there are some days that the littlest tiniest word will set me off. And for absolutely no reason. It’s not like someone is hurling insults at me – though there’s been a good amount of that in recent months that I had to put a stop to.
My husband will in all innocence say something – just being playful – and I clearly take it the wrong way. There is not malicious intent on his part… you would think he just told me he was leaving me. BOOM! I’m like a Chihuahua crack!!! (my apologies to the Chihuahua owners) I’m on his heels… yapping at him. It’s just ugly. It’s getting to the point that he is afraid to say anything. I try… I really do try to not say a word. But, my mouth has a mind of it’s own… and out it comes!
So why am I so angry? What is it? I can’t explain it. I just know that I am. And truthfully, as I write this it is Friday night and we are going to be together for the next two days. And then add in a good New England 18 inch snow storm that will surely keep us housebound for a couple of days. Well… that just has disaster written all over it. Perhaps duct tape????
Proverbs 14 says “A wise woman builds her home, but a foolish woman tears it down with her hands”. I think it could be said that a foolish woman tears it down with her words and a negative attitude. So it stands to reason that a wise woman builds her home with her words as well.
I want to be a wise woman.
Leadership expert John Maxwell gives these three points about negative attitudes:
- Learn to be content
- Keep your heart open to the love of God
- Take better care of yourself
Philippians 4:11-13 says “I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all things through Him that gives me strength.”
I have learned to be content. It was quite a few years ago that my late husband passed. I quickly learned how to be content in living in want. (those story and blessings are for another time) And as I look around here tonight. I see just how blessed I am now. I have an amazing man that loves me deeply. He provides everything for us. I am truly blessed by him.
Going to his third point… “Take better care of yourself”. That is something for me to think about. It’s been a very long winter indeed around here. We’ve had an abundance of snow and record cold temperatures… I’m talking -14 (yes that’s a minus) last night. Who wants to leave their home in that weather? We’re only at the beginning of February with lots of winter still to come (at least 6 more weeks if you put any stock in that oversized rodent in Pennsylvania). While I have been diligently working on renewing my health this year, I will heed this man’s wisdom and take a closer look at what might be going on. Could it be a case of the winter blues? Wouldn’t that be great if that was all it was? Some research on Seasonal Affective Disorder will help.
Mr. Maxwell’s second thought is that one that really strikes deep within me. “Keep your heart open to the love of God”. Where do I find the Love of God? Well, everywhere of course. But specifically… in His Word. I realized late this afternoon, that I haven’t been as diligent as I need to be. I’ve been putting other things ahead of spending time in the Word. Call it laziness… Call it S.A.D. Who knows? But what I do know is that I’ve let my priorities get upside down.
So it’s snowing. So I can no longer see out my windows for the snow banks. So it’s -14. There is nothing I can do about that. It is what it is. I can, however, do a lot about my attitude. I can get my priorities back where they belong. I can quit crabbing about what’s going on with the weather, and get over myself. As it says in Philippians 2:14-15 “Do everything without complaining and arguing, so that no one can criticize you. Live clean and innocent lives as children of God, shining like bright lights in a world full of crooked and perverse people.”
And finally… “And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise. Keep putting into practice all you learned and received from me – everything you heard from me and saw me doing. Then the God of peace will be with you.” Philippians 4:8-9
So it’s time to end this little story. It’s late, but the day isn’t over yet. I’ve got a couple hours before my husband comes home from work. It’s time for refreshing my heart. Fill it with goodness and love… chase away the ugly. Renew my spirit. Speak the Word of God. Pour it into my heart.
My Prayer: Dear Lord, I need your help. I don’t know what’s going on that is causing this ugly attitude to rise up in me… Lord reveal it to me that I might work to bring it into submission. I also ask that if it is something that is physically wrong with me, that you reveal that to me so that I can take care of it. As for my attitude…. Lord just help me and keep reminding me that the man that you brought into my life does not deserve the ugly words that I send his way. Help me to fix my heart and my mind and get them straight in You.
Forgive me Lord for neglecting the one most important relationship that I have. The one I have with You. Help me to stay focused and give me back that longing that I have for spending time in Your Word and in Your Presence.
Thank you Lord for setting me free from the pattern of negativity and anger and for filling me once again with the love and peace and joy that comes only from You. Thank you Lord for setting me free. In Jesus’ Name…. Amen.