5.30.2013

Desperate, Restless, Respect & Taming the Tongue

How's that for a title?  Have any idea what this post is about?  Me, either, just yet.

A few months back a friend on Facebook recommended this book:
Click on the pic for link to the website and a video about the book

I jotted down the title and author on a post it and stuck it in my desk drawer.  Every time I opened my drawer I thought about the book and then had some reason not to order it.  None of them were very good excuses considering it's only $10 on Amazon. 

Then a month or two ago I ran across this article by Sarah Mae.  I was intrigued by the title ("I've Stopped Trying to Tame My Children's Tongues") and recognized the author's name from the aforementioned book, so as soon as I had a few minutes, I jumped over and read it.  In it she talks about how the approach of correcting a child's hurtful or rude words does not address the root of the problem because of the truth that Jesus spoke:

"The good person out of the good treasure of his heart produces good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure produces evil, for out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks." Luke 6:45

She has begun to discuss her children's words with them, trying to address the heart issue behind their words and trying to cultivate hearts full of good treasure. 

I immediately ordered her book.

Fast forward to this week.

I ran across this article about respecting our husbands (thanks, by the way, to all my Facebook friends who post great articles!).

Our small group is studying James right now and I was reminded of this verse:

"My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires."  James 1:19-20

I wouldn't have said that I was a person who is quick to anger...but I am quick to sarcasm, snappy remarks and passive agression.  It suddenly all clicked. 

I have been trying for too many years to tame my tongue without surrendering to God the condition of my heart.  I have prayed for slower speech.  I have prayed for patience.  I have prayed for the ability to "let it go" when snappy and hurtful things come to my mind.  I have been praying to receive the result without the surrender.

I let "Desperate" lay around the house for several weeks before opening it.  The tagline reads, "Hope for the Mom who needs to breathe."  Being a working Mom, I thought this book might not be for me.  I worried this book was not for me.  But then I opened it up and read and cried.  I cried from the foreward all the way through the end of the first chapter.

See, this book isn't just for Joy--the Mom.  It's for Joy--God's daughter, Christ's bride.  The first chapter talked about ideals and how Sarah found a picture of an ideal and purposed to be that.  She did not take into consideration that she is human with a sin problem.  She did not consider her strengths and weaknesses and God-given gifts.  She did not purpose to be the best version of herself or to be who God wanted her to be.  She purposed to be an un-real, unattainable, idyllic woman. 

Is that not me?  I have been purposing to be THE Christian Woman, the good Pastor's Wife, the Good Example, the Good Mom.  The woman with the right words and actions.  What I need to be pursuing instead is God's Heart, surrender to God's molding.  Really.  Not just on the exterior, or in my words, but truly in my heart. 

It's an easy prayer to pray and I've done it a thousand times: "God, give me your eyes to see your people the way you do, your hands to serve, your heart to love them, your ears to hear what they really need and want to say." 

It's even easy to mean it emotionally.  But it's not so easy for me to soften MY heart in order to give God access to work in me and consequently, through me.

These lyrics from Audrey Assad's song "Restless" have been my prayer and encouragement the last few days:

Oh, speak now for my soul is listening
Say that You have saved me, whisper in the dark, the dark'
Cause I know You're more than my salvation
Without You I am hopeless, tell me who You are
You are the keeper of my heart
You are the keeper of my heart

And I am restless,
I'm restless
'Til I rest in You,
'til I rest in You

Still my heart, hold me close
Let me hear a still small voice
Let it grow, let it rise
Into a shout, into a cry
This week I'm focusing on resting in God's plan for me.  To stop straining for perfection and to stop covering up my imperfections with a false show.  To release my heart of stone and receive the heart of flesh that God has for me instead.  To accept the pruning and tempering that I need from Him.

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