First week of school. Tired kids. Football season. Volleyball season. Tired Coach. Tired Mom. Lots to do. Not enough time.
What is this a prescription for?
And lots of it.
I have a hard time being nice, sometimes. OK. A lot of the time.
I'd rather talk.
Run at the mouth.
Defend my authority.
Remind them why they are wrong.
All of which is easier than patient firmness and quiet.
Don't you ever get on Facebook and think, "Now WHY would someone want the world to know THAT?"
Or get an e-mail and think, "That could have been said in a kind way instead of an ugly one."
Or wonder, "Did that need to be said AT ALL?"
And then I turn around to my own children and do the exact same thing. Use an ugly tone or sharp words instead of grace and love.
God's Word is full of help in this department. My favorite?
A soft answer turns away wrath but a harsh word stirs up anger.
Are your words soft. . . or harsh? Do others sense the Love of Christ in your responses or do they feel like they've been "taken down a notch"? Do you say something ugly then follow it with "I was just kidding" to lessen the guilt? My kids certainly do (and I'm sure they learned it from me).
We are so quick to judge others. . . defend ourselves. . . seek to be RIGHT. When we should be loving, serving, encouraging.
Maybe that's why God hates PRIDE so very much. Because it's making an issue all about US instead of HIM. It's caring more about what others think of us (that we are competent, smart, capable, have our act together) than it is about the needs of others. It's loving ourselves and not those around us. It's making my agenda more important than His. It's wanting people to just stop being stupid so I don't have to mess with them anymore.
But if we really seek to be like Jesus, it has to stop being about us. About how we may appear to others. About what they think we are or aren't.
And, as a mom, it has to start being about showing the love of Christ to those in my house. Soft answers. Patient firmness. Taking the time to get to the root issue instead of just telling them to get over it so we can get on with it.
And outside of this house? It looks like caring more about a person than a program. About their needs and not my convenience. About giving up MY control to HIS control so HE can use me to touch the lives of those around me. And just being nice - even when I'm annoyed. And eventually getting to the point that I'm not annoyed to begin with.
This is real life. I want to live it in such a way that I bring glory to my Lord. Like our mothers always told us (at least mine did), "If you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all."
I think the Lord asks more of us. More than just NOT being ugly. I think He asks us to show love, not just the absence of hate.
And right now? It's about loving on tired kids. Feeding them lunch. Naptime for Little Man. Helping the kids resolve conflict with each other. Serving each other. Showing love and being cheerful when the Coach calls from Daughter's (#2) all day volleyball tournament.
Maybe someday I can do more than just keep my mouth shut when I feel like being ugly. But it sure beats regretting what I've said.
May the Lord give us the discernment to know when to be quiet. And when we do speak? May we speak words of love from a heart filled with gratefulness for the love of our Savior.