There are storms in life. We were told by Jesus that we would face trials and tribulations. Yet, when the winds blow, we always seem to be like the disciples in the boat during the storm. Recent events swirling around me had me going to God in prayer for those in the storm and guidance on what I should do. My prayers included a plea that there should be some answer I could use in God’s Word. I had already completed my reading plan for the day, but I was prompted during my prayers to open my Bible app again.
There I found the verse of the day – Colossians 3:15, “And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to which also you were called in one body; and be thankful.” The verse of the day on the following day was James 1:19, “So then, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, and slow to wrath.“
I had my answer. This also led me to recall a submission from Jo Ann Whitaker that seemed to apply. Given our break this week in our life group studies, it seemed like a good time to share. Sometimes we need to remember that we are not in the boat alone. In our silence, we can hear the Master’s reply – “Peace, be still.”
Well, Shut My Mouth! by Jo Ann Whitaker
Lately, I’ve felt the need to be much quieter, reflective and thoughtful. Maybe this is the result of all the noise we hear every single day in the public and “even the private” forum.
Seems that everyone has a very loud opinion about everything! Seems no one is discussing to understand or even looking for facts or considering they could, just possibly, be wrong. We want our own way and we loudly and proudly present our opinions with no regard for the damage we may be doing or the message we’re sending.
Maybe it’s our snippet mentality. Most of what we see in our news, friends, politics, social media is fast moving, shallow and lacking in understanding or depth. We’re quickly moving on to the next thing. Maybe it’s the speed at which were operating.
Almost without fail, comments on public posts offer little worth the time it took to read. More common than not, the comments are mostly about being snarky, opinionated and mean and prove that the article they’re attached to wasn’t even read.
The loud, angry voices always seem to draw the most attention. But, rarely are they the actual majority.
So, how do those of us that want to make a true difference move forward in a good way? Here’s some things I’m working on:
- Reducing social media time.
- Thinking twice before posting or speaking. What is my purpose in sharing this? Will it help or hurt?
- Finding reasons to laugh!
- Cutting off the steady flow of news.
- Unfollowing, unliking, and hiding sites and people who increase my stress level.
- Adding more positive, hope-filled sites and people.
- Making “that’s not my story to tell” a part of my thinking and stating it to reduce gossip.
- Educating myself on the truth of a topic or cause that affects, bothers or interests me in an effort to understand better.
- Letting things go. Refusing to be offended as quickly as possible when I find it building.
- Practicing agree to disagree and giving up proving a point when it harms relationships.
- Thinking about the impact my words and actions may have on others.
- Praying for my mouth and the mouths of others.
- Trying to take my thoughts captive sooner.
- Weighing my opinions against scripture and the character of Jesus. (Thus, “Shut my Mouth!”)
- Doing word searches on the Bible app to check myself. Example – stirring “strife” is one of the things God hates. Looking through scripture about the words we speak and use is very convicting.
- Stepping away from those who constantly stir up strife.
- Cultivating personal relationships and meeting in person for coffee, lunch, dinner.
- Read more. Talk less.
- Noticing good and commenting on it.
- Encouraging others, including strangers.
- Having conversations with those who provide customer service in stores, restaurants and businesses in a positive and thankful way.
- Looking for the good in any situation.
- Smiling more!
Maybe it’s time we were all known more for what we love and less for what we hate! Maybe we can take our lives back and shine more light in a dark world. What can we do TODAY to help?
I’m working on it!
Things to Know:
- Information on our church and available studies can be found on our website: forestville.org
- If you are not involved in a Life Group you can find a complete listing of our Life Groups by clicking HERE