I want to say in the simplest way possible the lesson that God has been teaching me lately. I’ll start at the beginning. I’m a talker…as in, I talk a lot. When I’m happy, sad, excited, nervous, angry, joyful, unsure, thinking…..I talk. You’ll usually only find me quiet when I’m tired or overwhelmed or really into what I’m reading. My children, who spend oh so much of their time with me, are also -for the most part- talkers. Oy, the talking that happens here. But, I realized something lately. I’ve been talking out loud far too much. When I want to teach my children something, I am talking. When I want to correct their behavior or their attitude, I’m talking. If I want the tone of the house to adjust, I’m talking. If things need to get done, I’m talking. And most of that talking is directed at my children. I’ve found us stuck in a day where I’ve talked so much, no one is listening anymore. Even I’m tired of my talking. Through this, God has been teaching me 4 things:
1. Talk less to them. The more I talk, the more often I say the wrong thing. And by wrong, I mean the hurtful, angry, or too quick to judge thing. “When there are many words, transgression is unavoidable…” Proverbs 10:19a
2. Talk more with Him. Before anything else, I should approach God when my heart is weary. And by talking with God, I mean listening too. “Hear my cry, O God; Give heed to my prayer. From the end of the earth I call to You when my heart is faint; Lead me to the rock that higher than I. For You have been a refuge to me, a tower of strength against the enemy.” Psalm 61:1-3
“Cease striving and know that I am God.” Psalm 46:10
3. Talk more to myself. When my children are misbehaving, I find myself wanting to quickly tell my children what to do. When what I should really be doing is telling myself what to do. I should be speaking to my heart about patience and love first. “…But he who restrains his lips is wise.” Proverbs 10:19b
For example, my child is pouting and throwing a fit. The first thing I want to do? Make it stop! While stopping the whining is still one of the goals of our interaction, I have other goals too, larger than that moment. But, in the moment, I often forget those. I need first to speak to my heart, “Be patient, be loving, teach life.” While God reminds me, “You don’t just want her to stop pouting. You want her to learn gratitude and contentment. Remember you whine, too. She can’t change anymore than you can change yourself. Tell her about me. Love her like I love you.” It is so much more important for my heart and mind to be right before I speak to her. Otherwise, I find myself stopping the behavior, but not loving or guiding. And in that way, I’m misdirecting her.
4. Let my behavior speak. Many lessons can be taught with fewer words and more example. When my child needs to learn patience, I can first be patient with him. I’m not going to point my littles to Christ by telling them to act right, but rather by how I love them. “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.” John 13:34-35
I sometimes find it funny (or pitiful?) that I need God to directly teach me a lesson that is clearly outlined in the Bible. But, He does it. Isn’t He wonderful?
I hope this is making sense outside of my own mind. It’s been quite the lesson for my life and I’m so grateful God is teaching me.