Friday, June 04, 2010

Friday Focus - Take 5

I've decided to join Amanda from Amanda's Musings Friday Focus series to reflect on what God has been teaching me lately.

Recently I was having a conversation with someone when they suddenly made a remark which inwardly cut me to pieces.  Basically they were poking fun at my physical appearance, and I was so shocked I couldn't offer much of a response except to gape at them.  That night, I lay awake for hours, replaying the conversation over and over in my head so I could respond differently.  In each of my inner 'role plays', I offered a sharp rebuke, and they apologised.

I'm sure this person meant no harm, but I still wonder why they had to bring it up in the first place.  I understand the need to rebuke and correct when someone's behaviour is sinful, but they were simply ridiculing a physical attribute of mine.  It had no benefit to me and it only succeeded in making me self-conscious.  Since I felt like I'd gotten to the stage where I was reasonably comfortable and accepting of the body God has given me, this landed quite a blow.  I'm still self-conscious about it now.  So why did this person do it?  Well, I don't really want to bring it up with them again if I don't have to, but I'm wondering if they did it to take the spotlight off their own body, to inflate their own confidence and deflate mine?  Who can understand women, honestly!

The whole conversation got me thinking about the tongue.  One little organ can be used for so much good, yet so much evil.  We build up and encourage our brothers and sisters in Christ, then seconds later we use it to tear people down...people made in God's image.  It got me thinking about how I use my tongue.  I've said my fair share of dumb things over the years, things I wish I could take back.  Often God has revealed my sin to me by having others sin against me in the same way.  Then I've turned to God and said, "Ok that hurt, I think I'm STARTING to get it now."

I've started to employ a new strategy which I've called 'Take 5'.  Basically when a smart arse, belittling or sarcastic comment find its way to the tip of my tongue, I take five seconds to think about whether it would be a good idea to voice it.  Would this comment encourage or tear down?  Is it appropriate?  If it's of no benefit to anyone, then I need to learn to keep my fat mouth shut.  I've been surprised at the number of times I've used 'Take 5' that so many remarks I was planning were simply not helpful at all, and I'm grateful for the grace of God that I didn't voice them.  My tongue is sharp.  I could tear you to pieces and leave you reeling if I wanted to.  I'm beginning to realise this is not a gift of wit, but it flows from my own pride....pride in wanting to be known as a quick-witted, funny person who has all the best comeback lines, and wanting to get a cheap laugh for myself at the expense of others.  This has been hard to swallow.

Although 'Take 5' has helped me evaluate my own heart in a sense, I need more than just a stifling of unhelpful remarks before they get to my tongue.  I need a heart change.

That's a topic for another post....


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Amanda said...

Great post, thanks for joining in. I like the take 5 strategy. I've had comments made about my appearance too which made me self conscious, those comments still stick so I've learnt about how harmful they can be. Ta for sharing!

Iris Flavia said...

That´s a good strategy, I agree!