Tuesday, July 12, 2011

The Overflow of the Heart

Well, the time has come. Now is the time when I take a moment to not post cutie pie pictures, but lay my heart out there a bit.  I have had a conviction here of late, and I know it is time for me to address my heart issue.  I have tried to ignore it; pray about it, though admittedly not with a heart to change.  So, now I lay it out there in hopes that you will pray along with me, learn with me, and maybe share your heart as well.

For out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks. Mathew 12:34

How many times have we heard that, taken it in, and then pushed it to the back of our minds?  Or maybe we think that verse applies to only those who are trying to hurt others with their words, rudeness or other ugliness that lives inside of other people's hearts, but never our own.  Sunday, our Pastor mentioned this Scripture in reference to speaking truth and not hurting others with gossip or slander.  And honestly,that is how I had always taken that verse as well. But something else remained with me long after we had left church.

Sunday, God gave a tug on my heart regarding this passage.  You see, my heart attitude is not one of gossip or ill intent towards others.  Not to say that I don't sin in those areas ever (sarcasm and I used to be very close friends), but the hurtful flow from my mouth came in a different form.  It was mostly directed to two precious beings that are the closest to me.

Let me explain. See these two blessings? It is to them that my mouth does not always flow with what my heart truly feels, that they are my blessings, deeply loved and a joy in my life.

God has drawn my heart and my ears to hear the sounds that actually come out of my mouth on a daily basis. And what did I hear?  Not as much love, compassion, patience and kindness as I had thought *hoped*.  Instead, the voice that flowed from my heart sounded a lot like frustration, impatience, and irritation. And not just with my words, but my tone and my body language, too.

Sometimes I justified it with, "that's the millionth time today I've said that," or "I just didn't get good rest, so I am too tired to deal with that right now."  Justification always, always equals wrong thinking!!!

Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old, he will not turn from it. Proverbs 22:6

The question I had to ask is what am I teaching them?  That is okay to be impatient and frustrated if you have a good excuse. Not a good lesson to hold onto. With all my heart, I want to teach them about love, about God's grace and mercy, and about His love that is so perfect it never messes up. But how will they hear me?

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.  1 Corinthians 13:4-8

We've all heard it. Christian or not, it has been read and recited countless times.  And how many times has that remained in our hearts?  It used to be when I started feeling frustrated, I would recite it, or pray it and it would help for a little while.  Last week, while in my quiet time, Jerry Bridges talked about this very issue in The Discipline of Grace by Jerry Bridges.  In an effort to make this passage living and active, he changed the verses to action statements (the ones I felt applied to our home are below):

I am patient with you because I love you.
I am kind to you because I love you and want to help you.
I am not rude because I love you and care about your feelings.
I am not easily angered by you because I love you and want to overlook your offenses.
I do not keep a record of your wrongs because I love you, and "love covers a multitude of sins."
Jerry Bridges, The Discipline of Grace, pg 39

That is how I want to love these boys and what I want to be the overflow from my heart. And with the Scripture from Terry, and the reminder of putting 1 Corinthians 13 into practice, I now pray with a heart that deeply desires to change, a heart that wants to please God first, and teach my children about His amazing love! It won't be easy to undo, but I know it is possible. If you see me, keep me accountable, ask how its going, or remind me I'm not alone. I will definitely need it!