Words Reveal Character

Out of the Mouth, the Heart Speaks.

I’ve always loved that verse, especially that particular part; out of the mouth, the heart speaks. Below are the verses in context.

Matthew 12:33-37
33“Either make the tree good and its fruit good, or make the tree bad and its fruit bad; for the tree is known by its fruit.34“You brood of vipers, how can you, being evil, speak what is good? For the mouth speaks out of that which fills the heart.35“The good man brings out of his good treasure what is good; and the evil man brings out of his evil treasure what is evil.36“But I tell you that every careless word that people speak, they shall give an accounting for it in the day of judgment.37“For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.”

I believe one of my gifts is that I have the ability to see to the bottom of something…I can cut through the show, and see true character. If something isn’t right, I can with a clear mind, and like the memory of an elephant, articulate my point remembering everything leading up to whatever point I’m trying to make. I’d probably make a great attorney arguing my point, but I didn’t want to spend my life arguing with people, instead I became a Realtor…and decided to “negotiate” (argue nicely my point) for a living.

elephant memory

But without a tamed tongue and without a pure heart that gift to articulate a point can be abused and used to hurt, the tongue can also be used like a sword.

Psalm 64:3
They sharpen their tongues like swords and aim cruel words like deadly arrows.

Proverbs 12:18
The words of the reckless pierce like swords, but the tongue of the wise brings healing.

When I was younger and up until college, prior to my understanding what a relationship with Jesus was, I’d let whatever came to my mind fly out of my mouth and I didn’t care if it was hurtful. I’d call anyone out and bring them face to face with things they didn’t want to talk about. I don’t get uncomfortable with uncomfortable topics and I stare awkward conversations in the face…I don’t back down when my feelings are hurt. I go to you; I confront you. Confrontation was like an art form to me and I was masterful at my craft.

But as I’ve been married, and as I’ve pursued my relationship with Jesus and learned what God really wants, I’ve definitely held back in letting my mouth flap untamed. So much comes to my mind and I want to show off how well I can weave this truthful tapestry with my tongue so that your jaw is laying on the floor…but then I remember what Jesus said…You can tell if a tree is good or bad by the fruit it produces. Jesus is a genius with this analogy. It doesn’t take any smarts to realize the truth in this statement. And so instead of just releasing every single thing that comes to mind…I tame it…I try to hold back. While I won’t allow myself to be a doormat, I work really hard to convey my feelings without bringing down someone else. I’m not always successful, but it’s my guide during confrontations.

bad-fruit

If my mouth is the gateway to my heart, anyone can tell by talking to me what my heart is filled with.  If your heart is filled with angst, anxiety and hatred, your mouth will let the world know. If you feel like everything is always bad, that people are always out to get you and nobody cares about you, these are lies from the ultimate deceiver…and a clue as to what your heart is feeling.

My cousin Mary has this brilliant quote on her Instagram…

“Love chooses to believe the best about people.  It gives them the benefit of the doubt, it refuses to fill in the unknowns with negative.”
“Love chooses to believe the best about people. It gives them the benefit of the doubt, it refuses to fill in the unknowns with negative.”

And while it’s not a Bible verse, it’s got a lot of truth behind it. If your heart does not find identity in the one who created you, if you don’t know that God’s wonderful thoughts about you outnumber the sands on earth…If God’s not feeding your soul, who is? What is?

So about a month ago, when I was on the receiving end of a brutal tongue lashing in the form of several emails from someone, I wanted to puff up, and I did for a little bit, I defended myself, I wanted to right the wrong that was being put on me. But when the attacks continued, I decided to dis-engage. Who I am and what I am, is not what this person was saying. I know WHOSE I am b/c my identity is in Jesus, and he knows my heart and I know my heart. My husband knows my heart. And my heart is forgiving; my heart has forgiven those who have hurt it. And my heart doesn’t go into a situation intending to purposefully hurt someone. My heart is open for those who I love…and when your heart is exposed and it gets pulverized, it hurts a lot. I’m sure that’s why many people decide to live their lives with a wall up; a protective barrier around their heart, that way no one can see their real feelings and vulnerability is locked away, along with the real identity of that person. I’ll also say, if your heart has continually opened to a particular person and they don’t care for it, and they smack it around…eventually, a wall is built around that heart, too. And that’s how relationships suffer.

But I also realized that if someone’s words are being used to hurt me, maybe their heart is hurting…how do you engage a hurting person, who is hurting you? I don’t know.

I decided to dig into Proverbs. I love Proverbs b/c God says if you want wisdom, ask for it and it will be given to you. And Proverbs is where all the best wisdom resides.

In my Bible, Proverbs 4 is titled “Get Wisdom at Any Cost”

I love this verse…it’s so simple and matter of fact:

Proverbs 4:7 “The beginning of wisdom is this: Get wisdom.” (How profound!) And it continues, “Though it cost all you have, get understanding.”

Another verse that helped to guide me was Proverbs 5:12-14,

“A troublemaker and a villain, who goes about with a corrupt mouth, who winks maliciously with his eye, signals with his feet and motions with his fingers, who plots evil with deceit in his heart—he always stirs up conflict.”

I don’t want to stir up conflict; I don’t want the fruit of my life to be rotten. I am so glad I have a husband who encourages me, doesn’t put me down and points me toward Jesus. And not only that, I have an amazing group of girlfriends, who have known me for 10+ years that do the same thing. And all of these people know my heart.

While I might not understand why conflict is at my doorstep, I know that Proverbs 3:5-6, which is one of my life verses, is always by my side,

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding…in all your ways acknowledge him and he will make your paths straight.”

Decisions…Decisions

So much on my mind lately… I have a post about the words you say and the character that reveals, but that will come in a few weeks.  For now I just want to say that I’ve received wisdom in some unexpected places recently.

My college roommate, Sami, came to visit me the other day.  We lived together for three years in college and grew quite close during that time and have always kept in touch, even when Sami moved to Rhode Island (seriously, a FL girl can’t stay there for too long).  Sami and IWe were in each other’s weddings and went through a lot together as roommates…boyfriend break ups, cat nip adventures with our cats Six and MoJo (may they rest in peace) and lots of chatting over meals about our lives, our dreams, and anything you can think of that you’d chat about with your college roomie.

Sami is married to Sean, and mom to a gorgeous little girl named Stella.

When we lived together, I remember Sami asking me for advice and talking with me about God and all sorts of things, but this last visit, I was the one asking for advice.  She’s a great mom and her motto is “every baby is different.” She’s not a “this is THE ONLY WAY” type of person, and she gave me a lot of encouraging words.

Recently the way I make decisions for my family and for Reagan was attacked, and I didn’t quite know what to make of that or how to handle it. One thing is for sure, becoming a mom for the first time is a shock to your system, receiving a rare diagnosis for your newborn is another system shock, and then to be attacked for how I’m handling things…third shock, and I was down for the count.  I’m a new mom and I’m doing the best I can.

Sami remarked that everything is new when you become a mom, going to a restaurant with a baby the first time, is a brand new experience, and there’s so much stuff you have to bring…you navigate it the best you can.  And in our case, we navigate it by weighing the pros and cons in excruciating detail. “What if there’s not a table outside? What if it’s too hot? What if we have to sit inside? How will we handle it? Should we request to sit in that corner of the restaurant where no one is? What if she cries? What if she needs to be changed? Should we just order our food to go and ask for the check right away in case she gets fussy? Do you know if that bathroom is big enough to bring her stroller in there?  Should we change her in the car b/c public changing tables are gross!? What if it rains? What if they don’t have a cup big enough to heat her bottle up in? Should we bring what we heat her bottle up in? Maybe we should just stay home.”

And Sami wisely told me that you get more comfortable with things as you do them and that’s for ANY new parent, let alone the additional pressure of having a newborn with a rare disorder.  Sami noticed that I’ve gotten more comfortable with the diagnosis as I’ve talked about it…and talking about it and blogging about it is helpful for both Rob and I.  Getting Reagan’s diagnosis was a shock, but we have become more comfortable with it as we’ve watched her grow, learned her patterns, put her on a schedule, gone to Dr. appts., received her test results, etc.

Sami is right, you get more confident as you go along…but the confidence is not just given to you…you have to earn it by doing things. You have to overcome your fears and face every new and scary situation.  We can’t just live in a bubble, our Dr.’s have told us that over and over…they are very proud of our decisions to get out and they know we are very careful and protective, but they know and we know that we have to do this.  We have to try and get comfortable.  It’s good for us, and when she gets older, it will be good for her.  Socialization isn’t something we can refrain from doing; we have to do it, even though it’s scary.  Every. Single. Time.

This past Sunday, we took Reagan to church for the first time.  And the same questions came up…”Where should we sit? Should we bring the stroller in or just the car seat carrier? What if she cries? We shouldn’t have a goal of staying until the end…let’s agree we can leave at any time, OK? What if someone wants to hold her? What if a someone we don’t know gets too close?”

I mean, we could question ourselves to death and I feel like I do.  And right before we got to church I just told Rob, “I so desperately want to make the very best decision and I have no idea what it is.”  Have you ever felt that way before? I feel like I have those perpetual judgment weights in my lap, judging every single decision I make…so having an outsider judge my every move was not too welcoming for me. Again, I’m learning and doing the best I can…

So on Sunday, we sat in the back, and went to the church service with the least amount of people and kids. Reagan loved the praise and worship, but was tired and fussy…so Rob walked her around in the lobby while I tapped my foot nervously wondering how things were going out there.  She did pretty great…I have NO idea what the message was about and I’m pretty sure our friends that sat next to us may have been somewhat distracted by our baby girl, but it was another fear filled hurdle that we overcame.  We did it!

And look at this proud Daddy! Reagan got in the flapper spirit for church…she looked so darn cute.
And look at this proud Daddy! Reagan got in the flapper spirit for church…she looked so darn cute. And thank you to Sami for the lovely mint, ruffle dress!