We were running late. The baby was screaming though his diaper was clean and he was freshly nursed, shoelaces were needing to be tied, one child was still in the shower, dinner plates were strewn all over the kitchen with some still on the table, and my hair still up in the disheveled knot on the top of my head that had kept it out of my face during the early morning garage sale we held and the 2 soccer games we played in (well, I cheered at) immediately after. One child yelled from the other room how he couldn’t find the matching shoe, another was digging in the basket of clean clothes that had sat in the living room corner all week trying to find socks, while one more ignored every effort to insist he get ready quickly. And the phone kept incessantly ringing.
It was then, in the midst of the mounting pressure and decibel level in my house, that I completely lost it. Yes, I opened my mouth and started to let my stress and frustration – we were leaving for a wedding that was a nearly 20 minute drive away exactly at the start time – spill out all over everyone. Words tumbled out in an elevated volume. I don’t even really remember what it was I said, but the tightness in my chest shamefully recalls the angst in which I said it. Hurt feelings, sullen faces, and screams not stopping from the baby, then the realization that I had only made things worse by opening my mouth.
So many times it is just so much better to remain quiet in the midst of the storm.
Tears spilling down my cheeks, I drove in a completely quiet car. No one else dared speak after the tongue-lashing I had given as we rushed out the door. I exhaled loudly. “I am sorry for my impatience with you and for snapping at everyone. I am sorry. Would you please forgive Mommy?”
I have the tendency, as some of you may as well, to use too many words. Words said in frustration. Words said out of boredom. Words said to make myself look better by making others look bad. Words defending myself when I feel mistreated. Words, words, words, words.
Too. many. words.
Often as I lay in bed at night and think back over the day, I can pick out specific things I wish I would have said differently or sometimes not at all. Sometimes I had the opportunity to humble myself and apologize. Other times I lay there wishing I would have just let go of my pride and admitted that the way I used my mouth was wrong.
Did you know the Bible compares our words to fruit? What words do is reveal where our hearts are at – for me, sometimes that is a scary revelation!
“For each tree is known by its own fruit. For men do not gather figs from thorns, nor do they pick grapes from a briar bush. The good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth what is good; and the evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth what is evil; for his mouth speaks from that which fills his heart.” Luke 6:44-45
My mouth is like a doorway to let out the the product of what is going on inside of me. Have I been dealing with the pain in my heart and taking it to the Lord? Or have I been stuffing and holding onto hurt feelings, disappointment, anger, or other things that really aren’t mine to carry on my own? Have I spent time talking to Him and letting His Word wash over me and make me clean, or am I grasping to control of my own life and struggling with fear?
I desire to have good fruit in my life. If my words are the fruit of what is going on inside of me, then I am realizing that I need to lean into the mercy of Jesus more and open up my mouth less. I want to be known for my mouth bringing praise to my Savior and filling others with courage to follow Him. I want to have love overflow from me, not words that cut and wound and tear down.
“But I tell you that every careless word that people speak, they shall give an accounting for it in the day of judgment. For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.” Matthew 12:36-37
Our words mean more than we often realize in the moment. I want to purpose my heart once again to asking the Holy Spirit for grace to control my words.
How is your fruit lately? What do you do when you realize you have blown it with the words from your mouth? Would you take a moment and share your own journey in this area? I would love your feedback as this has been an area I have struggled in lately.