I sit here this afternoon and all is quiet. Even my puppy, Livvie, who keeps me constantly on my toes these days is sound asleep under my chair as I type. The day is beautiful, warm and wind free...It is lovely. I cannot say the same about this past week or myself, that's for sure. This week my emotions swung from anger to sadness to disappointment to just plain depression. Nothing brings to the surface all the sin in my heart like the emotions I have just listed. I got angry this week at a family member, and as soon as the disbelief wore off, which only took a moment, I let the words tumble out...one angry word on top of another. In that moment I felt justified. I made sure that I called a couple of other family members so they could join the anger parade with me. Sadly, I was successful. Nothing is as contagious as talking about another with all the venom words can produce. Toxic.
God has had an ongoing conversation with me for heaven only knows how long about the words I use. I love words...reading them, writing them, saying them, and listening to them. They are also my biggest weakness. I have had some real victories in the area of my mouth, but this week was not one of them...not by a long shot. I knew something was wrong the minute they left my mouth. You can't be in Bible study everyday and not feel the presence of the Holy Spirit shaking His head inside your heart. But in that moment, my anger trumped everything...common sense, self-control, every Bible study I have ever taken and even the Holy Spirit Himself. I wanted to gather some "righteously angry" people around me. Note to self: If you feel it necessary to inflame others to your cause, there is nothing "righteous" about your anger. So let's fast-forward about 24 hours...
The next morning I woke up and did my Bible study as usual having not the least expectation that I was in for a "holy spanking." The words that brought the "paddle" from the closet were: "Please read James 3:13-18, then write the segment in the back of the book." Let me refresh your memory...
"Who is wise and understanding among you? Let him show it by his good life, by deeds done in humility that comes from wisdom. But if you harbor bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast about it or deny the truth. Such 'wisdom' does not come down from heaven but is earthy, unspiritual, of the devil. For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice. (Here is where the swats began for this girl) But wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure, then peace loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy, and good fruit, impartial and sincere. Peacemakers who sow in peace, raise a harvest of righteousness."
I have a younger brother who is in a rehab facility who actually handled the news far better than I did. When I called to talk with him, he told me he already knew but that he had fought the desire to call around to give everyone the bad news. He said he decided to go into his room and pray, so for the past hour and a half he had been praying about this situation...until I called. I hadn't prayed yet, just reacted...badly. The more I think about my brother's reaction, the more I am humbled by it. He reacted with wisdom. I did not.
Yesterday was my birthday. I am now fifty-five years old. Old enough to get a discount at Denny's and Kohl's. Old enough in the Lord to know better. My sweet husband tried to give me a wonderful birthday, but I was in a bit of a depression. I was so disappointed in myself. That morning I had read Melissa's essay on "Wisdom and Gentleness" and saw a reflection of my own lack of gentleness and wisdom. I so wanted a "do-over." Still do. Though that is not possible, what is possible is to remember this lesson for the moments in the future that will come...and I know they will come.
I am changing. I know I am. I see the difference from the person I once was. But how I wish I could live in a vacuum until I was perfected so that others would not be affected by my sin! I pray that the next time my emotions rise unexpectedly to the surface I will be able to call on the wisdom that is RIGHT HERE within me and then choose His way rather than my own.
Years ago when I did my very first women's Bible study, Peter walked in at the end of my study time. I remember looking up at him and saying: "This study is KILLING me!" Now I hope it is true.
Love to you my friends...