Those who guard their mouths and their tongues keep themselves from calamity.
How many times have you said something you immediately wish you could take back? Over my lifetime, I would say probably countless times. In the past couple of years, the answer would regretfully be the same. Not all of my carelessly uttered words have led me to calamity, but sometimes they cause me instant discomfort because I know I've said something out of my flesh and not of my spirit. By speaking, I also mean posting, and I've admitted before that I got a little carried away on Twitter, and I deeply regret the things I said in my height of emotion over the election. In hindsight, I should have never allowed myself to get so upset over things that are so media-driven and I was very influenced and inflamed by the things I was reading and seeing online. My flesh was all in.
Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.
Over the past couple of years, I finally stopped talking and reacting, I've had a chance to think about a lot of things. Mostly because the solitude has caused me to have a lot of alone time, but also because it has been a time of significant change. Whenever significant changes are happening around us, we should be thinking more than we are speaking. I'll go even further and say that our thoughts should lead us to prayer. Though introspection is normal, it can't be trusted! Taking our concerns to God and leaving them with Him is the only way to make it through a time when our words don't seem to be making any impact at all.
It's been a target-rich time of hearing about what negative things others are "against" and not enough positive things of what they stand "for". Every day we are hearing and sometimes regurgitating about the world's problems and negativity and not enough talk of solutions and positive changes. I sometimes feel I'm living in "opposite world", where good is seen as bad, and bad is seen as good, and quite honestly, being alone has been my refuge from it all.
I've sat and thought about people whose lives I've poured into by way of attending their important events, investing in them, or spent time in deep conversations about sensitive and emotional topics, who disconnected with me over political differences. I've remembered how they once declared how my devotion to them was unmatched, yet was derailed in an instant, and left me questioning everything I thought I knew about friendship and love, and what I've been doing all these years. I am now left with higher boundaries, maybe a wall or two, and a very guarded sense of who even belongs in my life.
Do not be quick with your mouth, do not be hasty in your heart to utter anything before God. God is in heaven and you are on earth, so let your words be few. A dream comes when there are many cares, and many words mark the speech of a fool.
Friends, we are letting this happen when we let our flesh dictate our spirits. When we are not only listening to fools, but we are repeating them, and then sounding like them too. Let's "let our words be few". We need to get quiet. Let the Lord speak to our hearts, tell us what to say, if anything at all, but we should know who and what is more important without having to be told, shouldn't we? That is what has been plaguing my thoughts all along. We should all know better that people are more important, but results prove otherwise.
We decided to let what we are "against" represent who we are instead of Who we are for, and who we love.
We stood on a platform and said, "If you don't agree with me on this one temporary, singular, changeable, worldly thing, you're not my brother, sister, friend, mother, father, son.." Even though you were the ONE person who stood in the gap for me. People, why did we do this? Hey, I know there are some pretty big issues out there, and I've been disappointed in some opinions and ideas around me too, but if we can't have conversations and we can't talk like reasonable people with the people we love, then there is something seriously flawed in us. And that needs to be seriously changed. This is not why we are here. Politics, economics, business, school, success, yes. All of that is of the world, important ,but it's temporary, and it's still not why we are here. When we elevate those things above people, we will fail as people.
When people leave the friends and family that they said they loved and turn and bond with others, especially strangers, over the things they hate together, that is a problem. It's a flesh problem. While they may think it's a sign of unity and strength, it's the most common sign of weakness and flesh failure I can even imagine. It's a cop-out, and if that person would stop and listen to their spirit speak, their flesh would shrivel on the spot.
You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh, rather serve one another humbly in love. For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: "Love your neighbor as yourself." If you bite and devour each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other.
The strongest I've had to be is trying to relate to anyone I love who is completely opposite of me! As much as you are tired of me pushing my olive branch at you and bored of hearing me say this, we are to love one another. (John 15:12) It's not always fun. It's not always easy. I don't wanna do it sometimes either, okay? People can be complicated and I'm sure I'm not a barrel of fun either at times. But there is a reason it's a command and not a suggestion. I have opinions, I have judgments, I have my own mind too. But none of that is more important than peace in my relationships.
Hatred stirs up strife, but love covers all offenses.
All hate does is causes more hate and more fighting. It does nothing but prove that the flesh is weak. It's easy to sit around and talk about the things we all "hate". But let's talk about the things we love and see how the conversations change us. Let's see how short those social media scrolling times would be! Love covers all offenses. All of them. That's interesting, isn't it? Because it's true. What the Bible says is true.
You may not see these things on social media, which is not a place where things are necessarily trustworthy! If you are reading Facebook more than an hour a day, then you are most likely way more influenced by what you are reading than what you even think. We are influenced by what and who we spend the most time with each day. If you are spending time with a toxic person or a place that shares a constant flow of toxicity every hour of every day, you can be affected by that. That is the main reason I go to the Bible for my news. The more I know about God, the less I trust the world, and that's the way it's meant to be. You are most affected by the person you spend the most time with. Let that person be the Lord, who knows you and loves you best.
And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.
It has been a challenging time of hearing and seeing things that can get our blood boiling, no matter what it is that upsets us. The news alone can get me so upset that I can feel my body tensing up in a way that promotes pre-seizure activity. Since seizures thrive in stress-rich environments, I really have to allow God to take over my life. I can't allow my mind or my body to take on that kind of burden anymore. The truth is, even if it doesn't look like it, God is in control of the world and the situations that seem very dire. All of my stressing and worrying won't change a thing!
And that includes dealing with people who stress me out! We don't have to engage in stressful conflicts, conversations, or even relationships that completely drain us of our spirits. In fact, it's foolish for us to do that.
The words of the reckless pierce like swords, but the tongue of the wise brings healing.
You and I have a choice every day to either be part of the problem or the solution. We can't control another person's reactions to the state of the world, and to try would be out of our wheelhouse. All we can do is stay at peace, continue to ask God into any and all situations, and let our words be few unless God asks us to speak into it. I will add that "letting our words be few" includes watching what we read and post on social media. Sometimes we get all ramped up on things we see that aren't even true, and arguments are based on someone else's misguided opinions and non-facts. I will state here again that unplugging from social media over a year ago has given me a peace that has certainly passed understanding! We can be our own peace, and we can be a source of peace for others by simply being peaceful. Who in your life is a source of peace? For me, that is Norm Sawyer. Thank you, Norm! You're a rock who knows how to rock PEACE. Whenever I find myself out of sorts, I think to myself, "what would Norm think?" And I already know. He would keep his peace about it, because he trusts the Lord, so that's what I will do too.
The one who has knowledge uses words with restraint, and whoever has understanding is even-tempered.