For most of my life, I have been a talker. Shocking, I know. Those who know me, know that if they call or visit, they had better set a time limit such as, "Hey, I can only talk for 10 minutes." or "Hey, can I drop by REAL QUICK, I only have 30 minutes before I have to be wherever"
I have two strong and dominate love languages. If you are not sure what a "love language" is, it is the way in which you have your "love cup" or "tank" filled. It is how you as a person receive love. Five primary love languages have been determined in the book, The Five Love Languages by Dr. Gary Chapman. If you wish to understand more about Love Languages: Click here. My two dominate love languages are: Gift of Touch and Gift of Time. It is Gift of Time, that allows me to fill my love cup by both talking and listening to those I am spending time with.
I love nothing more that an afternoon of chit chat and visiting. The majority of people in my sphere, know this. They know I love to talk. They know that I love to hear what is on their hearts. They know that I just want to spend time with them, no television, no chaos, no distractions. Just time to be with one another. I truly love it.
As a matter of fact, for my 40th birthday, two of my dear friends, "kidnapped" me for a day of girl time. Just us. As we were sitting having our nails done, my one girlfriend turned to me and said, "We know that you are a Gift of Time, so we wanted to spend the day with you. This is your gift." It wasn't the nails or lunch or Starbucks that was the gift (although super fun and very appreciated), it was the TIME. We talked about anything and everything. It was one of my favorite days, ever. Also, annually, another girlfriend, coordinates a birthday lunch with several of my gal pals. Again, it is not the lunch that is important, it is the TIME spent with friends. It just feels so good to talk and be listened to, and to catch up with those I love.
What does this have to do with A Taming of the Tongue? Well, I think part of being a Gift of Time, is also the Gift of Gab. Talking, Relating, Listening, Loving, Understanding are all words that I would use during these hours of time spent with friends and family.
Every once in a while, my tongue, gets me into trouble. Sometimes, I say things that don't come out right. Sometimes I share something that would have best been left private. Sometimes, I speak about things, just out of a sheer desire to "fill the silence". Sometimes, I talk about things that have bothered me or hurt me or are still frustrating to me, because I long to be understood. I admit to having talked about things and people, that I should not have. I admit to bringing up past grievances and wrongdoing by others, just so someone else can empathize with me. Just yesterday, I found myself talking about something in my past in a manner that was not flattering and certainly not reflective of who I want to be. Sometimes in frustration or anger, I use my tongue to lash out at those closest to me. I am sure none of you can relate. ;-)
God is constantly working on me to Tame My Tongue. I have prayed and asked for God to reveal to me the times that my tongue has been used for harm, instead of good. God does speak to me, but not with a whisper or an audible voice (at least not yet) but through His word, through other people, through Devotions, through Song. Often, I will hear the same theme or message over and over and all of a sudden I will realize that God has been talking to me, directly to me.
Last night, I wrote an apology to someone I love. I had spoken words out of hurt and anger. I had used words to point out what "I" deemed as an uncaring heart. These words were NOT of God. In my mind, I was like..."Don't do it. Don't lash out. Don't get hurt/frustrated/angry" but out of my mouth came the words anyway. Spilling over like water out of a fountain. Heard by the ears of the ones I love. These words were not life affirming, but life destroying. These words do not reflect a Christian heart but a heart of anger and sin. So last night, I humbled my heart and apologized. The apology does not take back the words spoken. The apology can not un do what is done. However, I recognized, through God's help, that I had been wrong and with Gods hand on my heart, I was able to apologize. God is working on me. It is something I am sure I will battle with the rest of my life. However, I know that God is showing me more and more where I could have done or said something differently and he gives me infinite opportunities to grow and change.
Just today, through the TEEN devotion that I am doing with our LIFE group girls, God spoke and said, " Do NOT let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen." Ephesians 4:29
(By the way, the book of Ephesians may be one my all time favorite books in the Bible)
So, I will continue to work on taming my tongue. For years I have instructed my Sunday school classes and small groups to you use the word THINK before speaking. T: Is it True? H: Is it Helpful? I: Is it Inspiring? N: Is it Necessary? and finally K: Is it Kind? (True, Helpful, Inspiring, Necessary, Kind) We should use this guideline for the words that we speak.
If you are like me, and often find yourself swallowing your words, or wishing you could take back something you said, or even are just working on your heart to align yourself more with your values, know you are not alone! We are not perfect, but we, as Christians, aim to conform ourselves to the word of Christ. Thankfully he gives us an unlimited opportunity to "Work On It". I am working on it. Are you?
Thank you Lord for your words and your instruction. Thank you for speaking directly to my heart. Thank you for giving me a reminder when I have stepped outside of your will and carried on with my own will. Lord thank you for loving me, despite my sinful nature. Lord, I ask that you continue to work on my heart and you continue to point out opportunities where I could have tamed my tongue. Finally Lord, if I have hurt anyone intentionally, or as more often occurs, unintentionally, please humble by heart to offer a sincere apology and open the hearts of those receiving an apology to feel your love working in me. - Amen