Her question was innocent enough, but the tone I imagined behind her text was not.
Normally, this type of question wouldn’t bother me. I would assume the best of her intentions. But not this time. This time my thoughts quickly jumped from this one occurrence with her to earlier occurrences with others like her.
Her words reopened wounds I thought had healed long ago. They brought attention to past hurts and disappointments, causing me to feel defensive. I had no idea my heart was in such a mess.
Though I’m embarrassed to admit it, my mind began gathering a storehouse of ammunition to use against her. Subconsciously, I had every intention of firing these misguided words straight at her unsuspecting heart. And the saddest part? The words weren’t even meant for her. She was merely caught in the crossfire of others who had trampled my heart in times past.
Thankfully, before those hurtful words escaped my mouth, words of caution fluttered through my mind. The Spirit of God living in me gently nudged me to keep quiet. I can’t express how grateful I am.
Had I not heard the Spirit’s prompting, the bitterness holding my heart hostage would have exploded on this guiltless bystander. Regret would have instantly become my companion. Discord would have unraveled every ounce of kindness I’d previously shown her.
I know this because I’ve been in that place. So many times I’ve failed to recognize the Spirit’s warning. Other times I’ve heard it clearly, but chosen to ignore it – handling things my own way instead. What a terrible mess it created.
While reading from the book of Psalms recently, I stumbled across this prayer offered by King David. “Let my words and my thoughts be pleasing to you, Lord, because you are my mighty rock and my protector” (Psalm 19:14).
Friend, we are no different than David. We also need to seek God’s help each day. We need to rely on His Spirit as we work toward the taming of our own words and thoughts.
By inviting God into the conversations of our day, we’ll be better prepared for the words directed to us by others. We’ll be more apt to think before we speak. To choose kindness over thoughtlessness. To exhibit love rather than hate.
That’s the only way I was able to respond as I did that day. That’s the only reason I thought to pause and pray before crafting a carefully worded response, adding a smiley face emoji at the end for good measure.
Because I allowed the Spirit to lead me, all was good between me and this casual friend. And since all was well with her, I was able to shift my focus to my true source of pain. I began sorting through the tangled web of my own heart. Uncovering past hurts. Working through forgiveness. One wound at a time. Without the worry of having hurt someone else in the process – and that’s a much better place to be.
Friend, what situations in your life could use a little pause, a little prayer, a little nudging of the Spirit? May God help you bypass regret as you seek His guidance, listening closely for the Spirit’s gentle nudge.