I am going to share something about myself...brace yourself as this is deep.
~*~ I am an emotional person. ~*~
I know, I know. For some of you, this is a shocking confession (ok, shocking might be a stretch)...but for most who read this blog, you are just nodding as you read along because hiding who I really am is no longer my strong suit. But, believe you me, there was a time when it was!
I have actually spent a massive amount in time in my life trying to pretend that I'm not emotional...that nothing can really get to me...that I am strong enough to take on the world without even flinching. For reasons I won't go into here, I saw emotion as a negative...a weakness...a flaw in my heart...an error in God's creation of my character. The really scary part is that I was delusional enough to believe it!
(**Now praise be to God for His work in me... He has shown me that emotion it is not weakness...but rather a strength, when used by His hand and Spirit. Buuut that is a whole other blog in itself!)
Ok, so I was doing my reading the other night just before turning off the light for bed. My brain was winding down, my eyelids were getting heavy...and then it happened. I came across a set of verses in Jeremiah that made my breath catch in my throat because I could swear to you that they were written just for me.
I have blogged some about my struggle in the class How To Bite Your Tongue 101...but I have found that it is almost easier to refrain from saying everything I think than it is to understand that sometimes it still goes wrong. The issues I try to avoid by closing my mouth still pop up: miscommunications, hurt feelings, complete & total misunderstandings... And while I haven't ever thought that it would be easy to tame this tongue of mine, I have struggled with what to do with the emotions that are seething within when I can't vent them out loud. In those moments of near melt-down, I have turned to God and said, in essence, an exact replica of Jeremiah's words in the 15th Chapter of his book:
"LORD, you know I am suffering for Your sake. Punish my persecutors! Don't let them kill me! Be merciful to me and give them what they deserve! Your words are what sustain me. They bring me great joy and are my heart's delight, for I bear Your name, O LORD God Almighty. I never joined the people in their merry feasts. I sat alone because Your hand was on me. I burst with indignation at their sins. Why then does my suffering continue? Why is my wound so incurable? Your help seems as uncertain as a seasonal brook. It is like a spring that has gone dry." (empahsis mine)
I too have prayed for God to "get busy" on the people that are twisting my words or my lack of them. I have questioned His defense of me when I have done as He has asked of me in regard to popping off at the mouth, only to be met with negative emotions thrown back up in my face. I have withheld my own negative thoughts at His urging only to find myself thrown into a pit of strong emotions within my own mind. I also have said "Where is the certainty of your help, Lord?"
As I read Jeremiah's emotionally honest prayer to God, I could actually hear my own voice uttering the words he did. I could relate to what forced the words from his throat and I could feel the complete frustration that burdened him. And then, as my eyes scrolled down to His reply to this broken servant, my heart jumped in my chest and then seemed to halt as He spoke:
"The LORD replied, 'If you return to Me, I will restore you so you can continue to serve Me. If you speak words that are worthy, you will be My spokesman. You are to influence them; do not let them influence you! They will fight against you like an attacking army, but I will make you as secure as a fortified wall. They will not conquer you, for I will protect and deliver you. I, the LORD, have spoken! Yes, I will certainly keep you safe from these wicked men. I will rescue you from their cruel hands.' " (emphasis mine)
In this reply, God instructs us to keep our "eye on the ball"...to remember that we are to please God, not man, when we do His will. That if we are looking up and we use words that are worthy (and choke back the ones that aren't), He will keep us secured even in the face of what seems to be a heated attack.
And (most importantly for me at this point in my life) He reminds us that when we are doing what He asks us to do, He is using us as a spokesman for Him...just as He used Jeremiah to speak to His people. Christian or not, people won't always like what we say (or don't say) and they may very well try to go to war even as we beg for peace...but here He asks us to remember that we are not to be influenced by our feelings!! We are there to be an influence for God's glory...NOT to be influenced by the circumstances that we find ourselves facing down. The only thing we can control is ourselves...and if we play by the rules God gives us, we are guaranteed His hands to be present in the game.
It can be a hard thing...not telling someone where to get off. But as I keep moving down this path, I find it gets a little easier as wisdom sheds His light on what once was dark as night.
Looking up as always...