Labor Day – a day to rest from Labor – YAHOO!!!
We were walking, eating, shopping and having a great time.
We were having so much fun, I felt like we were on a first date again.
Kid-free, work-free, worry-free and almost giddy.
Holding hands as we window shopped and browsed around.
Then it happened
Sometimes it is brought on by a text, or an email. Maybe even a random thought. Or from passing someone that reminds you of a person from your past.
But suddenly, a seemingly innocent conversation opened a recent wound.
Not to be gross, but when someone picks at a scab – it is kind of nasty. A piece of scab comes off and then the wound starts bleeding again.
Ashtyn, my 7 year old daughter, loves to scratch mosquito bites until they bleed. They scab over and she still scratches. Then the scab comes off and she bleeds amazing amounts. She looks like she was in a knife fight!
When the scab was removed on this old wound in our conversation, suddenly we both started bleeding from the mouth (metaphorically of course). Sentences came pouring out quickly starting with phrases like,
Why did they…
How could they…
What were they thinking when…
There’s no way they should have…
Before we knew it, our sunshiny, silly, happy day had been hijacked by the words of our mouth and one runaway thought.
How many times has this happened to you?
It took me 5-10 minutes to realize that I wasn’t happy anymore.
That our pace has sped up considerably, our mood had dropped faster than the Dow Stock Exchange, and we weren’t shopping – we were assaulting poor innocent clothing racks with fast, crabby hands as we talked.
Then it hit me – why did I just say that?
Why did I let that random thought out of my mouth? One thought turned into words steered the ship of our day in the wrong direction, not just for me – for both of us!
That’s why the Bible says,
May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, O LORD, my Rock and my Redeemer.
— Psalms 19:14 (NIV)
God wants us to know that the wrong words put out there in conversation can really pull us to the wrong place. Even though I can quote the scripture, I still let it happen.
Now I have to fix it. And it is going to be much harder to get this going back in the right direction than it was to just let the feelings of the moment take us downstream as they did earlier.
The thing about allowing ourselves to be taken down by thoughts, feelings, words and emotions is this – going downhill is easy. Getting back up to where we started is an uphill battle.
As difficult as it may seem to stamp the thought out in our minds before it ever has the opportunity to become a spoken word, it is ten or one hundred times more difficult to just say all the things that pop into our mind, let it drag us and others down and then have to climb back up again.
So, what did I do?
I ate it.
I told my husband that I screwed up. I brought up something stupid and ruined our mood. It was my fault that we weren’t laughing anymore and talking about stupid things.
Then I kissed him on the lips and pinched him on the butt. (I don’t recommend those actions unless you are dealing with your spouse!). But, the point is – I changed the mood.
Thoughts and comments popped back up for the next five minutes or so, trying to re-hijack our day. But we had learned. Forget it. Flirty smack, kiss, tickle – or whatever it took to re-direct us back to our date-mode.
And now I’m sharing my screw up with you.
Hopefully it helps you avoid the trap that I just fell into.
I want to invite you to share your story below.
As potentially a couple thousand people read this blog and the comments with it – it is your opportunity to help someone miss that pothole we have fallen it.
So what did you just say that you can’t believe?
And how did you get life back on track?
For me, it’s the ENEMY that puts those thoughts in our heads and messes stuff up. Especially when we are in a good place with GOD.
I was just getting ready to say something to my granddaughter that would hurt her and I was able to stop myself. It’s really none of my business.
Thank you for this good reminder.
Linda – WOW! Stopping the tongue is something that takes a lot> BRAVO!
Pastor Nicole, your story sounds so familiar!
My partner and I have been back together for over 4 years, now! We were married for 19 years, divorced for 14. I tell people I’m not sure if being blessed with 7 grandchildren during our separation was God’s way of getting us back together, but it happened! With the birth of each grandchild our once broken and severely troubled relationship, started to heal.
After the end of a 2nd failed marriage; it hit me, (maybe it was God’s work), Kenny and I are meant to be together. At family get together’s, we were having fun, again, yes with each other and it felt great! We finally got together and started talking about a reconciliation, I told him I thought it was a mistake being apart. That was more than 4 years ago! I pray everyday/night that God helps me do the right thing to keep this relationship strong and don’t let me “mess up” again!
This past July, Kenny started working in Columbia, MO; he leaves Sunday night and comes home Friday evening. We don’t have much time together, every other weekend we have his son and usually at least 2 of the grandchildren. Labor Day weekend we were “free”! Monday we decided to go to the riverfront for a little one-on-one; no TV, no computer, no children, no work, just the two of us! And, it happened, a comment was made and our “freedom” was taken by stress and hard feelings. It took the rest of the afternoon to get rid of this “stress”. After dinner, as Kenny was getting ready to go back to Columbia, I put my arms around him, looked him in the eyes and just said, “I still love you and always will” He gave me a big hug and said “Ditto, Tis”.
Sometimes, the words come out of our mouths before we give our brain and hearts time to process the thought. And, sometimes the receiver of the comment reacts before “processing” the comment and takes offense too quickly. Life goes by so fast, it’s hard to keep up with everything that’s “thrown our way”, so it seems we’re on the defensive or on the look-out. I’m trying to slow things down, especially on the weekends, so we can enjoy our lives together. We were given a 2nd chance, I don’t want to mess this up!
Pastor Nicole, I really enjoy your “blogs” and all your messages. They really hit home!
I believe that God will give you the grace to make it through this time apart and maybe even let the absence make your heart grow fonder!
My husband and I are living proof that god is a miracle worker. It took my divorce, a chronic illness, and a new marriage to the love of my life to realize how nothing is an accident. God has a plan and a purpose for us all. Between my husband and I and our five children, life can get pretty stressful and often we say things we shouldn’t. It can turn the whole mood of the moment in the blink of an eye. The important thing is realizing that it is the devil trying to control our thoughts and words and to stop him in his tracks!! God is good. He continues to grow in my heart and watches over me and my family. My strethening faith in him keeps me strong, keeps me grounded, keeps me fighting everyday!!
Brandy – Your words encourage me. I am so glad you seeing how life can get crazy and have the presence of mind to spot it. THAT is skill!
Your honesty and authenticity is what makes me want to come to your blog.
When people create the illusion that they are perfect and infallible on a daily basis and then mess up on one thing, it is much more difficult to remember that they are human. You, however, open the door to allowing others to learn through your experiences… Thank you for sharing your life and heart with us so we can learn what it means to grow as a Christian woman.
And I have many, many stories where I said something I couldn’t believe. Putting these stories into written words is challenging for me because usually I end up writing something that says something contrary to what I actually want to say. Will have to think on it for a bit.
Flo – I have faith that you have the ability to communicate your deepest thoughts and feelings to help yourself and others. You can do it!