A few months back, I had a terrible habit of forgetting to release my parking brake. I would get just a tiny bit out of the driveway and realize my car was moving too slow. I would back out of a parking place at the grocery store, start to pull forward and realize my brake was still on.
The worst times were when I didn't realize my car was driving sluggish until I went a few blocks.
Driving with a parking brake on is bad for a car. It not only slows the car's speed, damage can be done to the car.
You can't put words back in your mouth once they come out.
Recently, I've heard this truth portrayed a variety of ways.
- When you pull a tooth, you can't put it back in your mouth.
- When you pull all of the leaves off a branch, you cannot put them back on. Even if you tape them, the leaves aren't really a part of the branch any more.
- If you squeeze all of the toothpaste out of the tube, you cannot put it back in.
These simple illustrations have reminded me to be slow to speak.
My heart cries:
"May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, O Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer." Psalm 19:14.
But what about when I'm hurt by words from others?
Often enough, I go through my days sluggishly with the hurtful words (or my perceived opinion) of another weighing me down.
I know so many people that are hurting due to the actions or words of others.
The flip side of the "watch what you say" admonishment is: "watch what you take to heart."
When I let the words of others tear my self esteem down or hurt my feelings, I fail to appreciate the goodness in my life. I cannot see past the pain and be thankful.
When I accept hurtful words from someone else, I essentially lift up a brake and slow myself down emotionally, mentally and spiritually. I may just seem to be having a hard time having a good attitude, but in truth, I am taking on a weight that is doing internal damage.
It's so easy to let other people affect me.
I had to encourage my son tonight after some other kids said hurtful things to him. I wanted him to realize that pressing on without taking the words to heart is what's best. But, the words hurt. Kids can be so mean...
And so can adults.
I want to submerge myself in this practice- even when other people don't know there's an issue:
"Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against each other. Forgive as the Lord forgave you." Colossians 3:13
I want to live without the unnecessary weight of unkind words. I want to live as if I am driving and I don't have to put on the parking brake when unkind words and actions fly at me.
I'm not sure I will ever fully achieve this. I do believe the more I can do this, the less anxiety I will feel. The less I take harmful words to heart, the more I can cultivate a thankful spirit.
"Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God." Phillippians 4:6