I talk… a lot. Probably more than the average person, though I can’t say I’m proud of that. I am constantly thinking of things I want to share or know: I love the connection that can happen in conversation. Talking a lot isn’t totally a bad thing: it’s a clear indicator that I am an open book, and it demonstrates my wildly active thought process. However, with all this talking, there are bound to be things said that shouldn’t be. And that is what brings me to this place.
Now, I am not talking about cuss words or even mean things, which I mainly don’t struggle with too badly. But, there are things that slip easily into conversation, in the guise of venting or “observing,” that reveal the darker parts of our heart. I talk with a dear friend every couple of days, checking in on kids and husbands and just plain news. This sweet girl gets the brunt of my talking habit, with me dashing off on random tangents throughout our conversation. She has heard lots of my frustrations vented over time, and she is very gracious with me. Many times after we hang up, though, I think back on the things I have said, and I’m ashamed. Did I really need to rehash what that other friend did to me? Did I need to chalk up all of the difficult little things of my day? How was that helpful? What does it say about my attitude? I’ll tell you what it says: it says I am self-absorbed and ungrateful. The bible has SO much to say about our words. James 1:26 says:
“If you claim to be religious but don’t control your tongue, you are fooling yourself, and your religion is worthless.”
Matthew 12:36 says:
“I tell you, on the day of judgment people will give an account for every thoughtless word they have uttered.”
Whoa…heavy words about the consequences of our words. Worthless? An account for my thoughtless words? How many things have I said without thinking about what I am really saying? Matthew 15:18a says:
“But the things that proceed out of the mouth come from the heart.”
This is such a painful truth. I think back on the things that I say and realize they reveal my insecurity, my pride, my selfishness. And for that knowledge, I am thankful for my chatterbox ways. Seeing that ugliness and dealing with it, changing it, is the only way to find growth. Phillipians 4:8 says:
“Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.”
If I can keep putting that into practice, I imagine there will be big changes in the words that come off of my tongue and the attitudes that are hidden in my heart. Thank you, Lord, for the opportunities you give us to grow. Please help me to tame my tongue, that it might only be used for encouragement and truth.