Tonight, the dishes are piled high and toys are all over the floor, but I needed to take a moment to breathe through writing (with some trashy TV in the background).
I am writing this just a few hours after reconciling with a friend with whom I let my anger get the best of me over the last few days. I'm reflecting on my emotions and feeling convicted about it being time to change.
In Mark chapter 7, the Pharisees were asking Jesus why His disciples ate food with unclean hands. Jesus responds by saying that what is outside of a person can't defile them, it's what's already in them that does. As usual, His disciples still didn't get it, so they asked Him to explain the parable again. Jesus responds: “It’s what comes out of a person that pollutes: obscenities, lusts, thefts, murders, adulteries, greed, depravity, deceptive dealings, carousing, mean looks, slander, arrogance, foolishness—all these are vomit from the heart. There is the source of your pollution.”
Think of a water bottle full of water. When you shake that bottle, water will come out. Not soda, not lemonade. And it's the same with us. The conditions of our heart are revealed when we are shaken, tried, and tested. As much as I'd love to say a lovely unicorn scented and golden aroma exudes from me when I'm shaken, I have to admit that it's been anger.
Over time, I have discovered that when I am sad, disappointed, or even grieving, I tend to respond with anger instead. I've actually become comfortable with my anger. How insane is that? Generally, I have no problem speaking up or speaking out, even if it may rock the boat. But when it comes to those that I love deeply, I will bury my sadness, hurt, disappointment, and anger deep inside. I am filled with anxiety at the thought of the people I love most being upset with me. So I will apologize to no end, make peace at all costs, and bury the anger deep inside. And so, when I am shaken, the anger rises back out. It is both painful and healing to share this because I'd rather continue to appear like I have it all together. But maybe I haven't been fooling anyone all along. (And if you haven't been fooled, and you've continued to tolerate me, then God bless you and thank you! I'm talking to you, Jon.)
I have learned a lot about grace and joy since marrying Jon. Ever since we started dating, I always felt like he has shown me a bit of God's character and how He loves me. And now, as I experience life through Brighton's eyes, I learn even more about grace and joy. When she doesn't get her way or when Daddy leaves in the morning her momentary affliction is immediately cured by bouncing a ball her way or singing "Do You Want to Build A Snowman?". Don't you wish it was that easy for us?
I suppose, however, it is. God gives us His truth. Proverbs 4:23 says, "Watch over your heart with all diligence, For from it flows the springs of life." We watch over our hearts when we reflect on His truth, His word. When we diligently watch over our hearts, the springs of life flow forth. Not the springs of anger, bitterness, depression, and dissension. When shaken, the springs of life will still flow forth because they flow from the heart full of truth, grace, and joy. I want joy, grace, mercy, understanding, patience, forgiveness, and love to flow out of my life into the lives of others. I want to be a wife, mother, daughter, sister, and friend who gives grace where it's undeserved, who has patience through testing, who finds joy in all circumstances, and who brings life wherever I go.
What about you? Has your life been a sweet aroma for those around you? Let's commit to being women (and men) who watch over their hearts by filling ourselves with truth, so we can give life in a world that so desperately needs it!