This has been a frustrating season and I’m bothered by how often my mouth has run away from me. I wish I’d spoken differently. Used kinder words. Been more patient.
I take comfort in knowing I am not alone. It is hard to control your tongue. James says only a perfect person could control their speech perfectly. We all slip up from time to time. The frustration boils over and the words spew out.
I don’t want to be that mom. I don’t want to be a yeller. I don’t want the messages my kids hear most, the ones they internalize, to say they are too time consuming, too needy, too demanding. I want to affirm them. I want them to know they bring me joy. We all do.
Jesus pointed out that our words come out of our hearts. Out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks.
So when nasty retorts fly, when mean spirited sarcasm is on the tip of my tongue, I have to ask what is going on in my heart.
Jesus said your heart will follow your treasure. Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. This is an observation. He is explaining the way your heart works. Yours, and everyone else’s.
The thing you value highly is your treasure. And that is where you invest your time, energy, talents, money, brain power. Your heart will follow your investment.
- You put in your 10,000 hours in an area of expertise, there your heart will be also.
- You invest your life savings into a business opportunity, there your heart will be also.
- You’ve taken years to intentionally build a reputation, there your heart will be also.
- You’ve campaigned and written letters and worked for a cause, there your heart will be also.
- You set aside other pursuits to completely focus on raising your family, there your heart will be also.
You invest in the thing that you treasure, and your heart becomes invested in the same thing. whether a cause, project, skill, business, goal, people group, ideal, or individual.
This was percolating in my mind when our home church talked about James 3. No one can control the tongue. Indeed.
Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
Out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks.
I invest in the things I value most. My heart follows my investment. And my mouth follows my heart.
When my speech is negative and short tempered, it’s time to step back and figure out what is going on at a heart level.
What is so important to me that this interruption elicits such a nasty response? Why can’t I assert my boundaries in a calm, kind, gracious manner? What am I valuing right now, in this moment?
- Am I valuing my own control over God’s plans?
- Am I valuing my project over the lonely person who is taking up too much of my time?
- Am I valuing a stranger’s perception of my parenting over my child’s heart
And when I asked these questions, I found I had replaced what I say I value most – God and people –with personal goals and ideas about good boundaries and productivity.
So, I offer you the same questions for reflection today. What are you valuing in this moment? Is it the thing that you want to invest in or have you drifted from your stated values?
Write down your values in a prominent place so you can be reminded of what is actually most important.