It was late. I was tired and pregnant-sick and tired of being pregnant-sick. The text was a last-straw kind of deal and I snapped, in the way you’re able when it’s ‘just’ keys and screen. Our friendship hasn’t been the same since.
The meeting took a turn I hadn’t expected. I felt undermined and not listened to and small. I raised my tone and said I disagreed in no uncertain terms. Her eyes rolled and her tone went up a notch to match mine, and the meeting ended with a frosty handshake.
I’ve been thinking a lot about my tongue, the power it has over things and feelings and problems. It’s a tiny muscle with a wieldy weight of strength. We can choose to use it for good, for encouragement, for uplifting and joy-giving and empowering. We can also choose it to harm, like a barbed wire to the heart. With it we can pierce and break a good friendship. And we can do both in the span of a week, a day, even a few minutes.
Indeed, we all make many mistakes. For if we could control our tongues, we would be perfect and could also control ourselves in every other way.
In the same way, the tongue is a small thing that makes grand speeches. But a tiny spark can set a great forest on fire.
I’ve spent my life assessing the situation and, much like standing in front of my closet to select a sweater, I scan the demeanors in my being and select the appropriate one. This has been easier than practicing truth, and I’ve never been much for practicing. My mother and former piano teacher can attest to that. But the taming of an honest tongue takes practice, to develop a tone of grace and kindness while maintaining ones truth, and I do believe it’s one of the most powerful legacies I can hand my children.
I wanted to yell. My eyes were flashing and my tongue was twitching and heat crawled up my face. Since having babies I’ve become a mama bear with a minimal to non-existent filter on my mouth. But I breathed deep and dug deeper and chose to speak kindness. It wasn’t as bitter as I thought it’d be – it was mellow, aged, like a dark red wine from an oak barrel, and it made me feel like a grown up. Practice won’t make perfect but it will make me better, and He’s working on me too.
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Anna, I love your honesty and openness so much. This is such and important thing and your words are just the encouragement I needed. I seriously pray every day about this and it’s still soooo hard. But practice does help and so do new mercies every morning. <3
Oh yes! Me too!! A dear friend told me recently that she knows, when she comes to me, she has to expect truth…even when it is hard to hear…but sometimes she just wants kindness. I know this to be true (the good part about being a truth-teller is that it makes it easier to hear truths, because you’ve likely already told yourself the same!). Sadly, I agreed with her, but I know what I see as kindness and what she sees as kindness are different. Often, in lieu of truth, my kindness is silence (and that is REALLY a precious gift!), where she wants agreement (because I know her and her heart craves agreement and approval). So I am praying for LOVE. 🙂
He’s working on me, too. 🙂 Thank you for sharing this, Anna.