Sweet baby Knox does not love when I have dairy in my diet. When I drink milk, eat yogurt, or enjoy some Blue Bell Ice Cream, the milk I produce for him makes his tummy hurt and he spits up a lot. As much as I love a good bowl of yummy Rocky Road or delicious sour cream enchiladas, I love Knox more and don’t want to make him sad.
1) Stop & Think
It’s unnatural for me to avoid dairy. For 30-odd years I have eaten whatever I want without problems. The other day I ordered a Panini and two bites into the cheesy goodness it hit me…oh, yeah, no cheese for me. Now before I eat or drink anything I have to stop and think, “Does this have milk in it?”.
For a little while (like two weeks) the “Say it To Her Face Challenge” had the same effect on what came out of my mouth. By focusing only on talking about those who were with me, I carefully choose ALL my words. Going on a “gossip diet” actually made me pause. Think. Then speak.
(I’ll tell you another thing…only talking about the people present made my conversations richer. Instead of talking about other people and their problems, I focused on the person I was with. Shared our joys and struggles. We went deeper faster. Try it if you haven’t yet and see if you find the same to be true).
Unfortunately, just like any challenge or diet, the motivation wore thin and I lost focus. Now I’ve become loose with my words…again. Critical with the boys. Interrupting instead of listening. Talking about other people. I have stopped thinking about what I’m saying.
2) Choose to Hurt or Heal
I needed a fresh Word on the subject. That’s exactly what the Lord gave me:
“Reckless words pierce like a sword, but the tongue of the wise brings healing.” Proverbs 12:18
Basically there are two options:
1) Reckless words–>Pierce
2) Tongue of wise–>Heal
My words hurt or heal. It’s a choice. Just like my dairy-free diet involves choices. Soy latte or Mocha Frappachino. Grilled cheese sandwich or Turkey sandwich. Sometimes I make the “right” choice and sometimes I make the selfish, yummy choice (like the See’s chocolate I just inhaled).
When I’m absorbed with myself and meeting my needs (need to vent and need to control), I choose the words which hurt. Seeing my boys’ sad eyes when I lash out reminds me how violently my words pierce their delicate spirits.
Before a word is on my tongue, the Lord knows it completely (Psalm 139:4). He knows what I will choose to say before I do. BUT He also can give me the power, through His Spirit, to make the right word choice.
3) Pray when Fail
I may fail today just like my accidental Panini eating. I may use harsh words. I may gossip. BUT l I learned a great tool from a friend. In that moment of “tongue failure” I can choose to pray for forgiveness and for a guard over my mouth.
Or if I’m gossiping I can stop the conversation and pray. Instead of talking about the person, I can pray for that person. How humbling would that be? For example, if one day I decide to chat with Susie about Jane’s obsession with fur coats (this is the example I came up with, okay?). Then I have to admit my error in front of Susie. Explain to her my “word diet” and my commitment to pray when I talk about someone else. Then stop right there and pray. Sounds hard, right? But I’ve seen it done and it is beautiful thing.
Do you struggle with using words which hurt instead of heal? Will you join me in a diet of words? Let me know in the comments by clicking here.
*Disclaimer: I recognize this is a conviction God has placed on my heart. Please do not feel forced to take this on as your conviction (unless the Holy Spirit has been prompting you in this area). I view this blog as a way to chronicle my journey in replacing “me” with “He”. I hope it can serve as an encouragement and highlight areas I can be more God-centered and less self-centered.