Sunday, October 12, 2008

Oh Give Me a Home, with shining stars, sans buffalo chips

Day #1 of the Love Dare book was "for the next day, resolve to demonstrate patience and to say nothing negative to your spouse at all. If the temptation arises, choose not to say anything. It's better to hold your tongue than to say something you'll regret."

I took it to mean when DH did something that rubbed me the wrong way, I would keep my lips sealed. No clever come-back, or correcting him, etc.

It took me another five days, five days when the stock market went totally crazy and DH came home more discouraged and overwhelmed, to realize the dare might mean not say anything negative....about anything!

I'm a full-personality female with chatty people genes. DH is quiet and shy. Most days I think he enjoys the contrast between us, since he's stuck with me 27 years. But as I reflected on this Love Dare more, I became aware not only of how much I talk, but what I talk about. Just like I've sometimes wished my brown eyes were green, and rather than being tall, I'd like to be 5'5" so I could wear a size 6 shoe instead of a 10, I've sometimes wished I was more shy, reflective, quiet, gentle, and less talkative. I wanted to be born that way, rather than work on changing.

So here's how to cut by at least half how much you or I talk. Really, it's a piece of cake. All we have to do is only say positive things. Even if DH is saying something negative about, say, the economy or the price of stocks, or whether he might ever retire after all, or his boss is difficult, or the neighbor never rakes his leaves, or the work of caring for this house is never done..., we just listen with a tone of support, but we don't dump gas on the fire! Alas, for me it's all too easy to grab the gas can and pour away. I hate for anyone to be alone at a pity party or gripe session or the business of people bashing.

I'm somewhere between depressed and convicted and amazed to realize just how much of my conversation is less than edifying.

"Oh give me a home where the buffalo roam, where the deer and antelope play. Where seldom is heard a discouraging word, and the skies are not cloudy all day."

Times haven't changed that much. Years ago they sang of plenty, and peace and good weather. I don't really want to scoop buffalo chips from the lawn, but I do want our home to be a refuge from the storm. I can't do anything at all about the price of stocks, or what the Dow closes at. I can light a candle, make sure our home is clean and cheery, supper is simmering on the stove, and the words coming out of my mouth are uplifting rather than discouraging. I can also put before the Lord this desire of my heart because without His help it's hopeless. I'm confident He's more than willing to equip me with what it takes to improve in this area. I don't want the words I speak to leave behind an odor that could be traced to a herd of buffalo, rather I want them to be a pleasing aroma to the Lord, DH and anyone else who spends time with me.

Do everything without complaining or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine like stars in the universe as you hold out the word of life... Phil. 2:14

Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. Ephesians 4:19


Renna said...

Several months ago, our pastor issued a challenge to the congregation. We were to try and go 30 days, one month, without saying anything negative.

I began each morning with gusto, only to find myself slipping by noon or sooner. When you do that, exactly what you said in your post, you really do see just how many idle and unnecessary words are spoken each day. I say that, and I'm not even an extrovert, or particularly chatty person (dh is!).

Michelle said...

Beautifully written! I am also very convicted in this area and working on myself. Hubby just deployed, so I am hoping that God will really refine me during his time away. Deployments are great for that!

Elisabeth Elliot also spoke on this very issue in the archives of her gateway to joy program. Her thoughts were very similar to yours when she spoke of the 30 day marriage challenge:
1. No criticism to your husband for 30 days.
2. No criticism about your husband to ANYONE for 30 days. (does God count I wonder? If so I'm in big trouble on this one)
3. Tell your husband something you are grateful for for 30 days.

I also heard once of the "gratitude jar". You get a jar and write something you are grateful for once or twice a day then put the slip of paper inside. When someone is "in a mood", you take out a paper each and read it aloud. I think that's a great idea, especially for my wee ones!

Thanks for the meat to chew on. Have a wonderful Sunday!

Kelly said...

This is such good stuff, Bev!!

I'm going to remember to "not throw gas on the fire" when my husband just needs a chance to vent. Your words spoke to me there, and just so clearly articulated what I do... good for me to think on.

Phil 2:4 is the verse God recently placed on my heart as the goal for my girls. I want them to be different and stand out among their generation. A good verse for me to apply to myself, though, as well!

Barb said...

You do talk a lot but you know what? That's one of the things I love best about you. And I'm serious, I've never thought you were discouraging or negative when you talk.

Of course I'm just your sister and we don't talk about the stock market.

When I talk to you, I smile and laugh a lot because I think you're funny and have a crazy wit.

Still, there's a lot to think about in this post. Goodness, this house may soon become totally silent. LOL

Barb said...

I should clarify that. MY house may become totally silent. Not yours. :-)

Elizabeth - Scrappygolden said...

Well let me just say that I am so happy that I recently found your blog. Your words truly are words that I need and want to hear.

We've also been married for 28 years and sometimes we just get so comfortable about 'venting' in the evenings and then I lay in bed and think how it was basically a negative overall feel, even though we were united in our thoughts.

Thank you.

Sarah said...

If it makes you feel better, I'm only 5'6, but I wear a size 9-9 1/2 shoe. If you were shorter, you'd just have to eat less. :)

See, that's positive, right? And I can fully identify with this post, since I got the same genes!!

Diane@Diane's Place said...

Boy, you can't tiptoe around and talk about the easy stuff, can you? I have to confess that I have a real problem with my mouth too. I need to keep it shut more and deliberate more before I do speak. I've been really convicted about it for a long time, and God has brought me a long way, but I still have a loooooong way to go.

Great devotion, Bev. Hope you had a great weekend, and have a great new week ahead. :o)

Love and hugs,


Susie said...

These were pretty much the first two scriptures I put to memory when I first got married 16 years ago. They have served me well, when I remember them that is.

Michelle said...

how nicely written.Bev. I've tagged you btw..

Gretchen said...

I'm positively convicted about this positive piece. Please get your foot off my mouth. ;)

So true. And...I find I can be quite encouraging with friends (whether bloggy or otherwise), yet I save some negativity for those who love me most.


Lura said...

Thanks for the reminder/conviction! :) Great post. I really want to read The Love Dare.