A Place for All Women

Posts tagged ‘Gossip’

Worn Out on Words

          The rooster doesn’t seem to know the difference in daylight and dark.  He crows in the morning, he crows at night, and Rooster edgeat high noon, sun shining, or rain clouds forming, he perches somewhere near and wears us out with his cock-a-doodle-doo’ing.  Likewise, his harem of chickens cackle on all day, boasting of their latest egg laying experience, while those of us at the horse barn get caught up in the chaotic cacophony.

            It’s not unlike the commotion of constant chitchat, which seems to ensue at work, home, or any other event where co-workers, family or friends flock together.  Someone doesn’t meet our expectations and we assume justification in trash talking them to anyone willing to listen.  We are overworked, under-appreciated, taken advantage of, and now we feel we have a green light for gossip. chickens at barn edge

         A family member decides to ditch a once-in-a-lifetime event, and we feel we have every right to replay what they’ve done, long after they’ve forgotten it themselves.   A friend makes a foolish choice and they are fodder for tantalizing talk at the dinner table.  Someone is rude to us for no reason and the gloves come all the way off.  A boss places unreasonable demands on us and we just have to let off steam.  Venting is therapeutic.  Or, so it seems.  In reality, it’s one of the easiest traps to slip into, and one of the hardest to escape.  While we are fanning the flames, we’re the ones getting burned.  It wears us down mentally, physically, and anyone with half a conscious begins to feel guilty.  But we continue to convince ourselves it’s our duty to rake the “really guilty ones” over the coals.

 Proverbs 26:20 Without wood a fire goes out; without a gossip a quarrel dies down. 

     The words are right there.  We see.  We know.  We’ve done this before.  After all, there’s nothing quite like the righteous indignation of thinking we are the ones who are right. Even if our self-focused opinions lead to anger, stress and frustration — for some insanely repetitive reason — we keep signing up for the scenic route around the same old mountain. 

          I recently found myself in more than one situation with no shortage of words.  The Holy Spirit reminded me to keep quiet.  My late father-in-law’s wisdom reworked its way through my mind, The less I say, the less I have to give account for.  And yet I ran into the fray, stumbling over everyone else’s words to hurry and get in my own.

          Chicken edgeAnd now, I am worn out on words.  I am worn out on my own words, and I am worn out on the words of others.  I feel frustrated, angry and stressed about all that has been discussed.  I’m certain nothing that was said changed any of the situations.  But every word I spoke contributed to the “dis-ease” of all that was happening.

           In the book of Titus, Chapter 3 verses 1-7, it says: “Remind the people to be subject to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready to do whatever is good, to slander no one, to be peaceable and considerate, and always to be gentle toward everyone.  

           Trust me, I’m not climbing up on a self-righteous soapbox.  In fact, this is more of a confession.  I’ve been doing a lot of  “fence-sitting” next to that rowdy old rooster.  The more I flap my mouth, the harder it is for me to hear from God.  The louder my voice, the quieter His becomes.  It causes me the greatest stress. It causes me to stop and look around; and when I recognize the same old path I’m on again, I realize it’s time to turn back.  I need His direction.  I need to hear His words, not my own.

           So, I crank up some contemporary Christian music to drown out the sounds of those crazy chickens.  Music can change our moods quicker than most anything.  Then, I stop long enough to sit down and look  for some answers to this age-old problem of talking too much.

           I get more words. 

           But these will never wear us out.

“And the words of the Lord are flawless, like silver purified in a crucible, like gold refined seven times.” Psalm 12:6

The words of the reckless pierce like swords, but the tongue of the wise brings healing Proverbs 12:18

 Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.  Philippians 4:8

 What are you spending your time thinking about?

Who are you talking about?

Have they done something far worse than the things you have done?

Sometimes it’s so hard to extend our mercy.

But mercy has been given to us, over and over and over again.

Barn edge

© Copyright 2013, KeziahCarrie.  All Rights Reserved 

A Restless Evil

            The sounds of chicken frying and potatoes boiling, mixed in with the smell of biscuits baking, made for a most pleasant and secure feeling that night.  My mom was busy in the kitchen while I sat cross-legged on the counter watching her every move.

             Then the shrill sound of the old rotary wall phone changed it all in an instant.  I could tell by the worried look on my mother’s face and the irritated tone in her voice that this was not good.  She looked at me as she hung up the phone and said “Your Dad and I have been called to a Parent/Teacher Conference.” 

             My security slid right out the door and my appetite tanked.  My older sisters found great joy in the moment, dancing around the kitchen, singing in unison, “You’re in trouble, you’re in trouble.”  They were right.  I was in trouble with my parents, but not necessarily in trouble at school.

             I was in the 4th grade and my increasingly concerned teacher told my parents at their meeting that I didn’t get into trouble; I just laughed at those who did.  My husband jokes that it was a pre-requisite for my career as a news reporter.  But what was really happening was I had found my first excuse to talk about people.  They were in trouble.  They had done something wrong.  I not only thought it was funny that they were being judged for their actions, but I was anxious to tell other people what had happened.

     In some ways, it was a sport I had learned while watching grownups gossip at all sorts of gatherings.  In fact, I discovered it was not only okay to talk about people; it seemed to be an acceptable sin even at church.  I remember my mom getting to a point where she no longer wanted to get us all dressed up on Easter Sunday.  It made her feel uncomfortable how some people talked more about what others were wearing, and how much they were spending, than the word they were supposed to be hearing.

             I don’t know why it’s so hard to tame the tongue.  We are warned many times in the Bible about its destructive powers.  Although I know men who can slice and dice with a quick slash of their tongue, it’s usually women who get the worst rap when it comes to spreading gossip.

             The older I get the more I recognize the temptations of that old trap.  I’m far better than I was in the 4th grade, but still find that I have not yet mastered my mouth.

              It’s not as bad as it once was, back when my tongue might have gotten me all tangled in a web of my own making.  But I do get that little twinge of a spiritual reminder when I talk too much.  It’s that gut feeling that I should stop.  If I don’t, it either makes me feel really sick inside or I walk away feeling stressed and strangely justified, but sad and sorry all the same.

            I did it again today.  The conversation started innocently enough then one thing led to another and I quenched the voice of the Holy Spirit so I could have my say.  It felt just like I knew it would. 

“All kinds of animals, birds, reptiles and sea creatures are being tamed and have been tamed by mankind, but no human being can tame the tongue.  It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison.”  

James 3:7-8  

            It’s true!  Sometimes we can’t stop it; and we certainly can’t tame it.  But it’s not really up to us.  God knows our weaknesses and he’s got us covered.

Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”  Matthew 19:26

          Tomorrow is a new day and our God of second chances will let us try again to walk away or remain silent.  A friend at work frequently uses the phrase, “Stay in your lane.” It’s good advice.  If we concentrate on what we’re supposed to be doing, the temptation to talk about others won’t be so tantalizing.  If you think about it, it’s ironic in a way, when we are talking about someone else we are the ones who are wrong.

Until we meet again, I pray we all keep our hands on the wheel and our judgemental and critical tongues tucked safety behind our teeth.  

          I don’t remember if I got a reprieve, was grounded or maybe even spanked after my parents found out what I was doing.  But I suspect my sisters have a few memories they might be willing to share.   

© Copyright 2011, KeziahCarrie.  All Rights Reserved

It’s Time to Leave

            There is a place I like to travel.  The first leg of the journey is sort of  fun.  It seems exciting.  And it gets my blood pumping.  It makes me feel better in the beginning because I never travel alone.   In order to take this trip, I must convince someone to come along with me.  Often times, I will have two or three travelers and we will take turns discussing all that we see.    

           It begins by packing the necessary supplies.  A little injustice goes in the luggage first.  Someone who has mistreated, taken advantage of, or manipulated me in some way becomes the primary target of the trip.  We “rake them over the coals,” then “sift them like wheat,” and if there is anything left we may “preach their funeral.”  It all seems somewhat safe at the time, because, as one of my friends jokes, “It’s okay to judge other people if you are right!”

            It happened again this week.  I wasn’t planning to travel, but I also wasn’t planning to be interrupted, inconvenienced and then imposed upon.  So, I set my sights on another trip…around The Mountain.

            You can read in the Old Testament Book of Exodus about Moses leading the Israelites around a mountain as they trekked through the desert on their way to the Promised Land.  When I hear that story, I always seem to paint myself into that picture with Moses and his wandering tribe as the one who would surely have known better than to turn an eleven day trip into a 40 year fiasco. 

            But here I am loaded down with luggage my fellow travelers and I will inevitably unpack all along the way.  And we’ve done it over and over and over again.                                                                                    

        We start with what the person did, what they said and how they were wrong.  Then we move on to how we feel, what they should have done or what they should have said.  And the further we travel, the angrier we become, the more justified we feel with our multitude of words. 

            But eventually, what some might call a conscience and others might recognize as the Holy Spirit starts to make me feel a little sick inside.  I forge forward more determined than ever to “beat this dead horse” before I have to accept it and move on.  I try to let go of the part of this trip that “no longer serves me”, but I keep on track until bedtime. 

            I get up the next day still burdened by the weight of leftover luggage.  And then I convince another person to help me unpack a little more.  But by mid-morning, there seems to be a transformation underway as my heart starts to soften, and I realize with a familiarity of sadness what I have done, AGAIN!  It brings tears to my eyes as I finally admit I have been down around this judgmental, critical, condemning, gossiping, slandering mountain one too many times.

            I want to take the next exit ramp.  I want to find the road less travelled.  I ask God to help lead me off this WILDERNESS TRAIL!  I ask for forgiveness, again, for enticing others to come along with me on this miserable journey.           

            I can’t change what happened, what was said or what was done.  But I feel certain this is no longer a place I want to travel.

Psalm 19:14 NASB

“Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O LORD, my rock, and my Redeemer.”  

“You can tell you’ve created God in your own image

when it turns out that God hates all the same people you do.”

               -Anne Lamott

 

We are escaping for a little Spring Break renewal.

A much-needed time of refreshing.

If you need a getaway but can’t seem to find the time,

I highly recommend Even God Rested by author Kim Thomas

I try to read it a couple of times a year as a reminder,

and a permission slip,

for the people pleasing person that I am, to take time for rest.

  It’s available on Amazon.    

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