The Monster in my Mouth

This is how my day started…Breakfastbecause there were blueberries in the bread.

Really?!” was my response. I began mumbling under my breath about all the children, right here in our city, who would love to have bread with blueberries in it…

I always told myself that I would never guilt my children into eating with the phrase, “There are starving children in… (you fill in the blank)” (Did you happen to catch the two key words in the sentence before last? Always and Never) These two words will make a liar out of you quicker than anything else.

I have and I do tell my children about the child who doesn’t eat dinner before bed and only has breakfast when he’s able to eat in the cafeteria before school. I think it’s important that they know right outside our door is a world of struggle unparalleled by anything their minds can conceive.

However, maybe breakfast after dragging said child out of the warm bed he was, only moments ago, fast asleep in, isn’t the time to lecture him. Maybe if I considered that this is my child whom;
A. Likes to sleep in. (he’s like waking a hibernating bear)
B. Avoids change at all cost. (the never before served blueberry bread)
and
C. Has no problem skipping breakfast all together if he doesn’t feel like eating. (why put an empty stomach in front of taking a stand?)
I would have been wiser in my approach.

In the same way that I don’t want to nag my husband, I don’t want to nag my children. I want to respect and appreciate their different temperaments without catering to their outbursts.

Jud Wilhite said something in a recent message that struck me right in the heart. So much so that I made it into a pretty little instagram saying.
patienceMy lack of patience has always been a glaring character defect and I know better than to pray for patience! But when I view it as the difference between my grace and my wrath it takes on a whole new meaning.

More times than I want to admit, my children are met by the monster in my mouth. My words are harsh and my temper short. I can say with all truth, 99% of the time it’s not the boys who provoked the monster, it’s my lack of time management or lack of sleep or lack of coffee.

It’s an area where I am lacking (and I know it) rising to the surface and lashing out at the nearest target. Even so, I am learning because of all the grace that has been shown me, that “a bad moment does not a bad mama make.” I cannot press this upon your heart enough. Children are quick to forgive. We must be quick to admit fault.

I’m not justifying rants or misdirected anger. I’m saying that when I unleash my untamed words on my children, there is always room for an, “I’m sorry. Please forgive me.”

The days when I am able to catch and reel in my spoken thoughts before they are released for others to hear are evidence of my progress. Some days I fail and in those moments I will recognize them for what they are, moments.

So…there it is…just one shade of my ugly. It’s all about progress (attainable), not perfection (unattainable).

How important to you are the times right after waking and right before sleeping?

 

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Strike that from the Record

I must confess, I say things at times that I immediately want to retract as they are streaming from my mouth.

The world seems to move in slow motion and it’s as if I can see the words leaving my lips and slapping the recipient in the face.

“Nooooooooooooooo!”

Too late! It’s already out there. Whether I meant to say it or not, despite the wrongdoings that sparked my fiery tongue, words have landed and made an impression. Whether they take root or wither is accordingly to how the person process’. I am not responsible for the way my words are received. I am responsible for the delivery. Yikes!

Do you have any experience with this? I have been thinking about it quite a bit recently as it was brought to my attention that I had said something in a way that it was never intended. I apologized swiftly, analyzed it for several days, made a plan to keep it from happening again and moved on.

It wasn’t too long after that I found myself listening to a juicy bit of gossip. Before I even knew what was happening, I was participating. We women, especially, have to resist the temptation to disguise gossip as “Prayer requests” or concern in the form of, “Bless ‘er heart! Did you hear what happened to…”

What about phrases we say daily? Those weighty statements we don’t even consider? I knew you would want a few examples, so here they are…

“Are you really going to wear that?!”
“You’re ridiculous!”
“What’s you’re problem?!”
“Do your ears work?!”
“You’re crazy!”
“You’re driving me nuts!”
“That is the dumbest idea! It will never work!”
“You are always late.”
“That’s just the way you are. I’ve learned to work with it.”
“Have you ever come up with an original idea or do you always have to take credit for those you steal from others?”
“You don’t have a creative bone in your body!”
“You’re useless!”

Several of these may seem extreme while others are written off as sarcasm. What if we took 2 seconds to think about what we were going to say before we interjected it into someone’s day?

Proverbs 18:21 says, “Words kill, words give life; they’re either poison or fruit—you choose.” It’s a choice, is it not? Much like everything else that has a positive and negative side. Even if you’re not a bible-thumper, you can recognize truth when you see it.

Let’s have some fun! I have copied the negative statements above and replaced the words that wound.
“Are you really going to wear that?!” “You looked so great in that black shirt you wore the other day! Why don’t you throw on some jeans and wedges with that top?”
“You’re ridiculous!” “You are being so silly!”
“What’s you’re problem?!” “Is everything okay? Is there anything I can do for you?”
“Do your ears work?!” “Did you hear me?”
“You’re crazy!” “You’re one of a kind!”
“You’re driving me nuts!” “I need some quiet time for a few minutes.”
“That is the dumbest idea! It will never work!” “I see where you’re coming from. Maybe we can look at it another way as well? Have you thought about this?”
“You are always late.” “It’s tough getting to these early morning meetings, isn’t it? Maybe it would help to get up a few minutes earlier?”
“That’s just the way you are. I’ve learned to work with it.” “What do you think about this approach? Sometimes it’s beneficial to try something new.”
“Have you ever come up with an original idea or do you always have to take credit for those you steal from others?” “That is another great idea! How in the world did you come up with that?! Wow!”
“You don’t have a creative bone in your body!” “You are so great at organization. Maybe you could share some of your secrets for keeping all of those files straight.”
“You’re useless!” “Do you feel like your talents are being utilized in this current role? I want you to be in a position to thrive.”
(If you came up with better responses, stop laughing at mine and share yours in the comments section.)

So, here is my challenge to you and to me. For the next 7 days, before uttering a word to anyone, take 2 seconds to ask yourself, “Is it Kind?” “Is it True?” “Is it Helpful?” If the answer is not a resounding “YES!” to all of these, don’t say it.

Do you think you can do it? I hope I can!

(Images courtesy of google)

Egomaniac with an Inferiority Complex

Ever feel like you’re walking around inside out? Like people can see, not who, but what you are?

Or that you have a neon word glowing above your head?

I do.

For me, it could be any number of things over the years… alcoholic, people pleaser, bulimic, liar, gossiper, faker, cheater, doubter, wounded, hypocrite, quitter…the list is lengthy and it only gets worse.

What’s your word?

Did you immediately think of something negative?

Why do I turn into a “Nancy negative” (no offense Nancy) when it comes to self-awareness checks?

Is it because I’m humble? Hardly!

It’s because my ego gets the better of me and I begin comparing my insides to your outsides. I become fixated on the past, instead of focused on the future, while living in the present.

Humor me for a minute and let’s go another route.

What if, when I went out into the world, I walked around with a different list of words adorning my head? Words like…Believer, Redeemed, Recovered, Loved, Forgiven, Cherished, Treasured, Saved, Blessed, Beautiful, Capable, Wanted, Free, Worthy, Accepted…as I wrote these words, I read them out loud. It is amazing the tone, the energy, the transformation of thought from one paragraph to another simply by changing a few words.

Ladies, we are the worst about this. Be careful what you are speaking into the hearts and minds of your daughters, friends and more importantly, yourself.

May I encourage you to try a little experiment with me? Come on! It will be so fun!

Take a dry erase marker (or lippy, whatever works), stand in front of the mirror where you get ready every morning, and in the space (on the mirror) above your head, choose one word of affirmation.

Write the word on your mirror so that when you look at your reflection you will see truth.

I call it, “Affirmation in Action.”

My word right now is “Redeemed.”

I begin my day with that word in my heart and on my mind. I don’t give the lies a chance to one up me.

There is power in our words. Even those never spoken, but that we allow to take up residence between our ears.

If you’re walking around all day with a head full of negative self-talk, stop it.
No really…STOP! You are going against your purpose, everything that you were designed to be. You are deeming yourself spiritually useless.

Harsh? Yes.

I speak from a position of repeat offender when it comes to bashing myself. What I am encouraging you to do, I am doing myself. Work in progress, remember. I don’t have all the answers, I am just very persistent.

It begins from within.

What’s inside you can either tear down and infect those around you with the poison of darkness. Or it can shine, igniting the light in others that is within us all. For some of us only a spark remains, while for others a fire rages.

Here is my promise to you…for the next 7 days, I am going to pray for you. I would LOVE it if you would tell me your word in the comment section below. However, even if you don’t, God knows your word and more importantly, He knows your name.

The future is very bright!

Now…

What’s your word?