Saturday, March 14, 2009

back to grace

Before we left for CA, I published this post and this post about grace. Based on the comments and emails I received about them, I decided to share some more of my study on this topic.

Why I started studying about grace:
At the beginning of the new year I had a few conversations with a friend that left my heart feeling a little heavy. Replaying the discussions in my head, I realized that the problem was my speech. Oh, it wasn't that I had been gossiping or cussing or slandering or even throwing down a bunch of "yo mama" jokes (I save those for my convos with Scott...just kidding, Grandma!). Yet even though those things were absent, nothing about my words was edifying. My speech lacked purpose (other than just trying to use up some of my 30,000 words for the day) and reeked of the world.

We know that our speech is just an outpouring of what is in our hearts (Luke 6:46), but I'll focus on the speech in this post...because the heart surgery is taking longer than expected. Scalpel...scalpel.

God's words about a Christian's speech are pretty cut and dry:
Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers.- Eph 4:29

[Let] your speech always [be] with grace, seasoned with salt, that you may know how you ought to answer each one.- Col 4:6

Do all things without complaining and disputing, - Phl 2:14

In the multitude of words sin is not lacking, But he who restrains his lips [is] wise.- Prov 10:19

The lips of the righteous know what is acceptable, But the mouth of the wicked [what is] perverse. - Prov 10:32

A fool has no delight in understanding, But in expressing his own heart. - Prov 18:2

As I studied, God revealed more ways that my speech was in need of an overhaul. I'm going to give you an example because, if you were writing this post, I would be like "What exactly is she talking about?" and then I would email you and ask, "What exactly are you talking about?" To which you would respond, "Away with you, blog stalker!" and set your blog to private. But, since I like examples, I will provide one.

So...for example, (I think I could use up my 30,000 words just with "example") every night as Scott would walk in the door, out of my mouth spewed an ugly laundry list of everything frustrating M had done that day. Why? Was I trying to get sympathy? Was I trying to relay how challenging it can be as a SAHM? That it's not all about eating chocolate covered strawberries while watching Spanish novellas? At least not ALL of it. NOTE: Scott NEVER questions my role, so it's not like I had to defend myself.

Nope, there was no purpose other than a selfish one. Scroll up and re-read Proverbs 18:2 while inserting "Tish" for "a fool." NOTE: I'm not saying that I should never discuss M's behavior issues with Scott or that it's not human to vent now and then. I'm only saying that God has called me on the carpet for a sinful habit I had developed.

This is what God says about Jesus' speech:
You are fairer than the sons of men; Grace is poured upon Your lips; Therefore God has blessed You forever.- Psalm 45:2

So all bore witness to Him, and marveled at the gracious words which proceeded out of His mouth. - Luke 4:22

I want my speech to lift the spirits of encourage, to comfort, to edify. I want God to be blessed by the words of my mouth even if His name doesn't pass my lips. I want to speak with purpose...this doesn't mean I never want to chit chat and small talk and gab. I mean, afterall, I have like 30,000 words a day that I just HAVE to get out!

But here's the thing...
My Savior spoke with grace.
His Spirit dwells within me.
By His power I, too, can speak with grace.

I'm confident of this.

Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart Be acceptable in Your sight, O LORD, my strength and my Redeemer. Psalm 19:14

BTW, if Scott has written this post, it would be 1/4 of it's current size...because guys only use like 25 words a day.


Jenna said...

I'm thinking you should write a devotional book. I come here and truly it's like God says...."I need to talk to you about something.....".

Nothing like starting out Sunday with a healthy dose of conviction. And, guess what sermon series our pastor is starting! I'm thinking I better listen closely.

In all seriousness, this was for me today. Yesterday was NOT a banner day for me in the "grace-filled speech" department. In fact, I completely blew it. I spent all day reciting Phil 2:14 (actually I was singing the Steve Green "Hide 'Em in Your Heart version to myself), not that it contributed to my success at all.

I'm printing this post out too, and so if you DON'T write a devotional, I'm making my own! :)

Thanks, Tish. Really. I need to be reminded of all this is a very real way.

Lisa said...

Oh Tish, I just hope you do realize that for so many of us your words do lift and inspire!! AND I so appreciate and welcome ALL of your posts....the reflective, the purposeful, the fun & the banter filled....appreciate and am thankful for them!

Considering what we say before speaking is a gift....the proverbs confirm that and certainly as one who has wedged her own foot into her own mouth with frequency ( doesn't "taste" good either!), the sanctity of quiet or meaningful thought BEFORE speaking is a blessing in its own right....both as the "speakie" and listener. And when words are chosen to uplift, teach, inspire & yes, grace us, then the gift is even more pure.

Thanks for this....cuz, sometimes I feel like both Scott and I rush to babble out our respective days from the moment he steps across the threshhold....each of us competing with one another to do be heard over the munchkins,dog and each other! Foolish certainly...and stressful too!

P.S. The Easter pics were adorable...that was one massive lollipop and one darling little man!

Shannon said...

i'm holding mallory in one arm - so typing 1 handed - otherwise, i'd write even more about how great i think your words are! thank you for being real and honest and challenging the rest of us. needed to hear this post.

Melissa May said...

And here I was just about to start deleting people from my google reader b/c I can't keep up with them all and I thought I'd just stick with blogs of people I actually "know" because the blogging and blogreading time seems to have EVAPORATED.

Well, since your blog starts with a number, you were first, but of course I had to read your last 14 posts first (that I've missed b/c of the time evaporation) and you were talking about grace WHICH I just spoke about at our church's women's retreat last month and so now I just can't delete your blog from my list because I enjoyed reading what you wrote so much. It also made me want SO BADLY to write more about all the amazing stuff God gave me to share... (Lord show me when!!!)

Hmmm... when He gives me the grace to do it. : )

ellie said...

Hi Tish,

I was checking out the Mamarazzi blog and somehow ended up here - I just have to say how much I appreciate your blog post. I understand EXACTLY what you are talking about! I will be stalking your blog more in the future :)