"Even a fool is thought wise if he keeps silent, and discerning if he holds his tongue." Proverbs 17:28
It was just last Friday that I posted some thoughts I was thinking about watching what we say. But as the week has gone past, while I have been making a very conscious effort to watch what I say, I'm not doing so hot at watching what I think. I wonder where the verses are about holding your brain in check?
You know, I belong to a few community bulletin boards online- mostly those that deal directly with my love of cooking and homeschooling. In both those instances, there are features on the bulletin boards that if I don't like the things that someone says most of the time, I can add them to my ignore list. It sounds cold, but they have no idea, and when I come across someone who, over and over, ruffles my feathers, I can click "ignore" and then I can't even see their posts. I see a little note that says that person is on my ignore list, and that's it. It keeps my thoughts in check because I don't get annoyed at their repeated postings, and I save myself a lot of imagined angst- I mean, after all, I only interact with these people virtually.
But what about in real life? I can't just click "ignore" and have someone magically move into this space where I don't even see them there, let alone ignore what they are saying. You know what we can do in those instances? We can pray, and we can ask for help from the ever-present Holy Spirit. There are a few ways we can ask Him to help.
One, we can ask Him to help our reaction to the things that are being said. We can ask him to help us to choose to not be offended by the words of the other person. We can also ask Him to guard our own tongue- to prevent us from saying something to provoke the other person, or just from saying something we'll regret later. We can also ask Him to simply bless that other person. Did you ever think about how that's got to annoy the devil to no end? How when we may not like someone or something someone says, and instead of cursing them, we ask God to bless them. It's an effective way to foil the devil and his plans to get you riled up.
As I think upon these different types of people who roll into life and "bother" me for a time, there isn't a single one of them who are normal. They all have issues, and maybe they are just really struggling with some of those issues. I often wonder why God brings certain people into our lives, but I really honestly believe that there are times where he brings these people into our realm of being simply so that we can pray for them. Their time in our circle may even be short-lived, but while they are there, all God wants us to do is pray for them. And that's one tactic I've been using to stop dwelling on the things these people are saying. I just pray for them. And on the chance time that we are face-to-face and having a conversation, I keep this verse in mind:
"Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone." Colossians 4:6
When we ask God to help us in our everyday conversations, you know He'll help us out every single time. I'll often find myself, mid-conversation, crying out to God with my thoughts, asking Him quickly to help me to know the right things to say, and more importantly, to help me not say the wrong things. But you do know, there will always be those people who will not listen to a word you say anyway, so in those instances, I try my best to be polite, and let that person know that I'll be praying for them, and move on as quickly as possible.
Life is too short to let ourselves be riled up by the thoughtless words of others- whether they be in print or vocalized. I have lost sleep too many times to count, getting worked up about completely pointless things that I've heard other people say. I've learned that it's best to try and recognize when I'm getting worked up over something pointless, and simply give it to God. When you interrupt your thought patterns that are not going in a good direction, and you say "Lord, I know you know what I'm thinking on, and I think that you know best how to deal with this situation. Please bless so-and-so and help them to see that their words have meaning and that they should watch what they say. And thank you for allowing me to take my problems to you whenever I need to." And usually that does the trick. Truly. One quick prayer and the hours of angst I've had simply melt away and I can drift off into dreamland. It always makes me add an addendum to ask God to help me be more mindful next time, so I don't lose hours of sleep on something so worthless.
I love that God is there all the time, that He sees and knows all, so that when a situation comes up, we can go right to the heart of the matter. He's not a person that we need to go into myriads of details to get our point across. We can simply say "God, you know." And He does!
"God is our refuge and strength,
an ever-present help in trouble." Psalm 46:1