For some reason during this particular season of my life I’ve found myself a bit more frayed than usual. I’ve been a bit snappy, a bit short, a bit–shall we just say it?–grumpy.
Oh. I can thing of at least 17 million things to blame it on, but the fact of the matter is that I am feeling quite unpleasant and I’m not great company to anyone (including myself!).
wasting precious time taking a mental break and scrolling through Facebook I came upon a quote from Lysa TerKeurst. She said,
“Before reacting to a frustrating situation, I try to remember; my every day reactions testify to the kind of relationship I have with Jesus and the kind of effect He has on my heart.”
Well good morning, conviction. Nice of you to rip out my heart and expose it today.
So you can guess what my prayer is this morning. To have a heart empty of me and full of Him….so that my overflow has NOTHING to do with my emotions and EVERYTHING to do with my God.
A few years ago I wrote this post, and since it keeps replaying itself in my head today I thought I would share it. Grab a coffee (or diet coke), and thanks for reading.
When my kids get a coke
(which is a southern generic term for ANY type of carbonated beverage…)
at a “serve yourself fountain drink” kind of place
they like to fill their cups with a little bit of each available drink.
They call it a “suicide.”
I tried to convince them to call it a “kamikaze” because that’s what I called it as a kid and it doesn’t sound so bad to me. Then my eldest pointed out that “kamikazes” kill more people than “suicides’….so I gave up.
I did that as a kid.
Fun times, fun times.
Well, the other day we were sitting at lunch.
I picked up my cup to take a sip of my Diet Coke…
and just about spit a mouthful of NASTINESS across the table.
I had grabbed my kids cup instead.
After my precious offspring stopped laughing,
he asked me if I really thought it tasted that bad.
Upon consideration….I told him it most certainly did taste bad,
but probably not bad enough to warrant the spitting reaction.
Thing was….I had expected a Diet Coke taste.
Thing was….I got a weird lemony peppery funky orangey taste.
It wasn’t my favorite…but it was deal-with-able.
It just wasn’t what I was expecting.
Had I known I was going to get a “new taste sensation”
I would have been anticipating it.
But I wasn’t.
It was a minor shocker.
If perhaps the lid had been off of the cup and I could have seen the strange orange tint of the drink…
….then I might have realized it wasn’t MY drink before I took a gulp.
If you have a little opaque cardboard cup sitting in front of you…
the easiest way to figure out what’s in there
(other than chugging it)
is to figure out a way to see the contents.
Or….to see the overflow of the contents.
When some of the liquid pours out
(on the table or into your mouth)
then you can identify the drink.
Yesterday I was in the middle of paying bills.
I was really focused on trying to figure out some numbers when my 9 year old came up to ask me a random strange innocent question about atoms.
I answered the best I could,
but apparently it wasn’t good enough because he kept asking related questions.
I finally said (not yelled, but said quite firmly),
“Ethan! I said I didn’t know. I have no idea whether protons or neutrons are bigger. You’ll have to call your grandfather. Now please let me finish this!”
Later, after I was done, I found my son sitting quietly in his room.
His eyes were watery and he wouldn’t look at me.
“What’s wrong, bud?”
“You’re mad at me.”
“What?? No I’m not! Why would you think that?”
“Because you yelled at me. You told me to go away. You wanted me to talk to someone else instead of you.”
I sat down with my arm around him and tried to explain to him that I had just been concentrating on my little job.
That I truly didn’t know the answers to his questions….and that I thought it would be a fun conversation for him to have with his grandfather.
That I loved him and I loved his curious mind AND its’ questions.
He looked at me and said,
“That’s not how you sounded.”
He was right.
In my heart I adore my son.
Cherish, love, need, crave, LOVE love LoVe love.
But…as many amazing talents as my kiddo has…
Reading minds (or hearts) isn’t one of them.
The only window Ethan has to my heart….
is what comes out of my mouth.
“For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.”
The overflow of what’s in my heart trickles out of my mouth.
If someone wants to know how I feel about them…
They will pay attention to how I speak TO them.
How many times have I had a disagreement with someone…
A misunderstanding of sorts….
Only for that person (or me!) to say,
“But that’s not what I meant!”
It’s possibly and probably NOT what was meant…
But it’s what was heard.
It’s what came out.
Who can look inside a person and read their heart?
Nobody I know.
Say I hand you a styrofoam “to-go” cup…
And as you’re reaching for it boiling hot coffee sloshes over the top and all over your hand.
Then, while you nurse your scalded fingers,
I tell you that it was a crazy one-time weird occurrence.
That it couldn’t ever happen again because the cup is actually filled with cold milk.
And I try to convince you to take the cup again.
Chances are….you would tell me I was out of my ever-loving-mind and not trust me with being your beverage distributor for a long long time.
So too with what comes out of my mouth.
How can I
… profess to love someone and speak nastily to them?
…claim to love God when horrid mean things spill out of my mouth?
…tell someone I support them and constantly criticize them?
No one can see my heart.
They can only guess at its contents from observing my actions and words.
I pray daily for God to dwell with me.
For the Holy Spirit to be evident in me.
To open my eyes to the people He is putting in my path that He wants me to speak with….or help.
How will those people
(strangers, parents of kids’ classmates, friends, checkers at Walmart, cousins, people at the gym, drivers who are mad at me and giving me interesting hand gestures,)
know that I am full of God’s love?
They will know by what I do and say.
Matthew also says:
A good man out of the good treasures of his heart brings forth good things, and an evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth evil things.”
In order to be able to say and do good things…..I need some good treasure buried inside of me.
Because….I am clumsy.
What I mean is…I trip and stumble a lot.
And when I do….I want whatever “sloshes over” the top of my cup
To be good things.
When I run into bumps
(which happens every now and always)…
When I am squeezed by life
(which occurs on a daily hourly minutely basis)….
When the state of my heart overflows so that the world can see
I want my words and actions to show
that my heart-shaped cup is full of God’s love.
So I will work on acquiring good “treasure.”
I will try to fill myself with…..
I will ask God to fill me.
With His presence.
With His strength.
With His peace that passes all understanding.
my actions will be good
and my words gentle and pure.
I may not ever know whether protons are bigger than neutrons….
But I have a dad who does…
And would enjoy teaching his grandson about it.
I have a Father who MADE neutrons.
And He can see inside of cups.
And He can make sure that my cup is full of exactly what I need.
Wedding cake concretes…
But not kamikazes.