Well, it has been awhile since I’ve done this, but here I am…2:30 a.m., and here I sit…me, my coffee, my Bible and my laptop. Those of you who have been with me for a while know that it is not unusual for me to have trouble sleeping for no good reason. But this time the reason is all too clear…ME!
Once again, my big mouth and my emotional overdrive have gotten the better of me.
Once again, I let my feelings trample all over my hard earned wisdom.
Last night we had a situation that was disappointing and frustrating, and though the whiny little girl inside me wanted to get huffy and blame my poor husband, the fact was deep down I knew he was trying his best, and the situation really was out of his hands.
In the moment, I felt that I handled it pretty well, all things considered. I walked away (maybe stomped a little but honestly was very intentional about appearing calm), and I talked very frankly to the Lord. I asked Him (through gritted teeth) to help me settle down and support Tim. More than anything, I just needed to be an adult about things. But that can be so stinkin’ hard when you’re just so mad!
After 5-10 minutes I was not completely ok, but I thought I was over the hump. Well, in the hour or two that followed, my frustration continued to simmer, and you can bet that at each little opportunity I got for being caty, snippy, or well, mean, it spewed out.
Thankfully, after the initial two hours, I curled up in Tim’s lap (given the fact that he is 14 inches taller than me and twice my weight this is a very accurate description), and we made amends. It was a high stress situation piled on top of some other stressful things we’ve both been dealing with, individually and together. We had both said and done things that were not the wisest course of action, but it was time to reconnect and move on.
So why can’t I sleep???
I always say my mess is my message. Everything I share stems from something the Lord has spent many hours trying to get into my thick head. In this case, to help me recover from my self-imposed drama and the ensuing guilt.
Sometimes when we are struggling the best thing to do, after taking it to the Lord and asking for His forgiveness and wisdom, is to ask yourself, what would I tell others to do? You see, it is often not that we don’t know what to do, but most often that we fail to step back and weigh our situation in light of the progress we have already made. When emotions get involved it can be so hard to be objective.
So as I sit here in the middle of the night I’m making the following observations. My prayer is that my hard knocks can save you a little time and guilt and emotional fatigue in your next fight to hold your peace.
So what should/could I have done differently? I was right to immediately take it to the Lord instead of just lashing out; however, instead of just praying, “God, I’m ticked off. Help me. Help me. Help me!” (Ok, it was a little more than that but not much.), I should have picked up my sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God. (Ephesians 6:11-17)
Don’t get me wrong…there is nothing wrong with a prayer like the one I described above, but if you’ve been walking with the Lord for a while it is time to go beyond that and use the weapons He has given you. (Weapons which you receive by spending regular time in His Word to grow up in your faith and knowledge.)
I realize now that if I had simply thought for 2 seconds about what I could use from His Word (what scripture from the Bible) to apply to my current situation I would have had no trouble using the Sword of the Spirit to win this battle. (If you don’t feel you have enough in your “arsenal” to do this I encourage you to check out my section on How to Get into the Bible and Get Something Out of It, including a 15 minute “God-time” Routine.)
So when I woke up for the fifth time (between 11 and 2) and finally decided to just get up and see what God wanted to say, this is the scripture that was on my mind…
“Set a guard, O Lord, before my mouth; keep watch at the door of my lips.” Psalm 114:3
You see, I memorized this verse a very long time ago because I am not blind to the fact that my mouth is something I personally have to keep very close reins on!
When I asked the Lord, as I made my coffee (at 2:30, mind you) what other scriptures would have been a great help to me in the heat of the moment, I barely had the thoughts formed before these two came to mind:
“…be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry.” James 1:19
“She comforts, encourages, and does him only good as long as there is life within her.” Proverbs 31:12 (AMPC)
Geez!! These sure would have been helpful in the moment. I might not have liked them at the time, but nonetheless His Word would have accomplished His desired work in my heart because He promises that it will. (Isaiah 55:11)
So what did I learn….In the heat of the moment I should learn to ask, “Lord, give me a Word for this situation.” And I know that the Holy Spirit will bring to my remembrance the things He has taught me, because that is another promise straight from Scripture! (John 14:26) But as I always say…the Holy Spirit cannot bring to mind something you’ve never given mind to! We must be regularly in the Word (reading our Bibles) if we are going to see this play out in our lives.
And one final thought, I would also tell any of you to give yourself some grace. We all make mistakes that we feel like we should be beyond. I accepted Christ nearly 30 years ago, and I’m a mess most of the time! And even the Apostle Paul said the things He didn’t want to do He kept on doing, and that was while he was in the middle of writing most of the New Testament! (Romans 7:15-25)
Sometimes we have to stop and reflect on our progress. I still have a long way to go (and that is the story of all of us who have been redeemed in our spirits but still live in this sin-ridden world). But praise God! I have come a long way too.
Ten years ago I would have vented by slamming cabinet doors and huffing very loudly. I would have been much harsher and deliberate with my tongue. Then I would have found myself crying in front of the bathroom mirror or crumpled in a pile by the toilet beating myself up (verbally, mentally, and physically) for not handling my emotions better. And in all likelihood it would have taken me a couple days instead of a couple hours to get over it all.
So I share all this because I don’t think I’m alone in this craziness. And neither are you, sister! Let’s move forward, staying in His Word and trusting that with His help we are making progress. (Habakkuk 3:19)
We may have a long way to go, but we are going. And that’s something to celebrate!
Find more encouragement along these lines in my series Holy Hormones, and find out why I say we all need a little P.M.S.!
If you found this helpful (or even just humorous) please share it. If I’m going to be this transparent I want to reach as many as possible!