8.30.2012 |

james 3:2-9
as the sun rose, i walked to the campus starbucks with my head hung exceptionally low.  they say that joy comes with the morning, but all i felt on this morning was shame and guilt from events that occurred only hours before.  acting on emotions has never boded well with me, yet i constantly choose to engage in opening my mouth before i think to speak.

why did i open my mouth? why did i say the words i did?  what caused my initial anger? why did i respond in such a defensive and hatful manner? why do i let jealousy invade my heart?

have you ever opened you mouth and with your last words instantly regret everything you just uttered?  have you ever sent a hasty text and with the a punch of the "send" button regret boils in your blood?    have you ever written a letter with what you thought were justified comments and with the dropping off of that stamped envelope you wish you could reach your hand back into the mailbox and retrieve it but instead it now belongs to the post office and your intended sender?

WAIT!  let's hit the rewind button you didn't hear that.  WAIT! let's quickly break into their house and steal their phone so they never even see it.  WAIT! let's wait outside their house for days to intercept the letter.

no, that is not how it works.  

we've all said words, done things, sent messages we knew we would obviously regret; yet, we still carry out our intended function because (let's be honest) it feels good (momentarily) to have the last word, to feel justified, to get revenge, to "show them."

maybe i'm speaking a foreign language to you and you have never ever once in your whole entire life never offended any one nor have you ever done anything you regret.

but that's not the case for me.

seeing the intended hurt, the obvious pain, and sheer brokenness on the face of someone you say you care about is one of the most convicting and repulsive sights.  we can all play the he-said, she-said game. we can all say, "well if _________ didn't do this, then i wouldn't have done that!"  we can all point fingers of blame, but what has that ever solved for you? you got more bitter? your friendship ended? you felt unending shame? you start reacting that way every time?

we have to get to the root of the problem.

the root that gives rise to all the poisonous fruit (which kills those who ingest) in our lives is our mouths.

since the time you learned your right from wrong, you have been constantly modifying your behavior and words to accommodate certain groups of people.  if you are like me, your mom started washing your mouth out with soap the minute you learned your ABC's: talking back, name-calling, rude comments, etc.  apparently the basic formula of soap didn't do the trick. (looks like classical conditioning just didn't prove effective on me, sorry pavlov!) it's not just what we say, but it's how we say it.  what we say is determined by what is in our hearts.  so it may be more accurate to say that the real root of our problem is not so much the mouth but the condition of our hearts.
a good person produces good thing fro the treasury of a good heart, and an evil person produced evil things from the treasury of an evil heart.  why you say flows from what is in your heart.  –luke 6:45
we are the fundamental problem to our problems.

i am reading the book "unglued" by lysa terkeurst.  this book describes real emotions that we face in our every day lives and what we, as imperfect humans, tend to do with those emotions.  what makes us become unglued? she explains that we either stuff emotions deep inside or we explode on other people, neither of which are healthy or godly.  if you are like me, you are both an exploder and a stuffer depending on from where and from whom the emotion came.

i feel like such a hypocrite reading this book, raving about the book to others, and then when it comes time to apply the lessons learned in the book, i fail....and not just fail, i fail miserably.

last night, i hit the grand slam of emotional explosions which left me nothing but needing to go to the heart hospital for a transplant and a dose of godly medicine.  i stuffed my feelings of regret and shame deep inside and let my words personally wound me.  my words left obvious poignant scars on the affected one which caused my inner entropy to increase exponentially in a matter of seconds.

the only thing i could do was apologize and let this be added to the long list of learning experiences.  this is not only a learning experience that opened my eyes to how capable i am to hurting others, but how powerful words of any nature can become.  i was in the wrong and there is no beating around the bush on that.  plain and simple, wrong.  if you're in this boat with me, there is nothing that we can do to change what has been said, done, or written; all we can do is apologize (which is a biblical necessity) and react differently in the future.  our relationship with the ones we've hurt may be completely altered or severed, but as the author of proverbs iterates countless times that what we say has the power to sustain or end life, build or destroy. we are all familiar with the fruits of our words.
"death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruits." –proverbs 18:21 (ESV)
when life gets out of our control, let's not act out of control. 

there is a God who is bigger than the shame and guilt that comes from our foolish and brash wordage.  his grace is sufficient and his mercy is new each day.  he keeps absolutely no record of wrongs. this is no excuse to keep traveling down the explosive path and injuring those with ears to hear but an opportunity to be more humbled than we've ever been before)  he is so very patient and kind with us.  he is Love.  falling victim to shame and guilt is a ploy to divert our wholehearted attention away from the One who came to give us life.  don't endorse that lie or make others believe it.  we are sons and daughters of the King on High.  Christ can cover even our worst moments and most hurtful words.  it does not make living with the undeniably real consequences of our actions any easier, but knowing we can be eternally at peace with God in the situation is satisfying.

we all have that song that takes us back to a moment.  for me, it is the song "forever reign"

tonight, i was humbled and reminded of God's infinitely powerful grace as shane & shane sung this song. tear stained checks and hands lifted to the sky as if God was about to hug me, i could not contain my gratefulness for his grace. i was overwhelmed and filled.

shane & shane concert
you are good, you are good, when there's nothing good in me
you are love, you are love, on display for all to see
you are light, you are light when the darkness closes in
you are hope, you are hope you have covered all my sin
you are peace, you are peace, when my fear is crippling
you are true, you are true, even in my wondering
you are joy, you are joy, you're the reason that i sing
you are life, you are life, even death has lost it's sting
you are more, you are more, than my words will ever say
you are lord, you are lord, all creation will proclaim
you are here, you are here, in your presence im made whole
you are god, you are god, of all else i'm letting go
i'm running to your arms

hi, i am renee and i messed up but that doesn't make me messed up. 


  1. Love this! Thank you for sharing and can 100 % relate !

    1. :) you're welcome. the real pain of these scenarios is scary, but we gotta learn to control our tongues by first changing what is in our hearts.


  2. Oh boy have I been in this situation oh too many times this year, it seems!
    We all make mistakes. We apologize, move on, and grow from it. I am proud of you for recognizing that :)
    You are awesome Renee. Love you

    1. it's a choice we all have to make before we open our mouths, the only question we have to answer is: do i want to make a extraneous and unnecessary point at the expense of someone else's fragile heart only to immediately myself feel the burden of my mistakes?

      no. when it boils down to it, we don't want to do that.

      thanks for the comment hay. <3

  3. I admire your realness.. It's refreshing. We all can relate!! xo.

    1. thanks brandi ;) i appreciate your words. <3 you sis!

  4. Hi, I am Shelby and I am also messed up, but that also doesn't make me messed up.

    I can totally relate. I've found myself in the same spot, caught in a pattern (which in turn becomes a lifestyle) of sin that because it went unchecked for so long has allowed the devil himself to ingrain that very way of acting/speaking to flourish in my heart. So I totally agree, it is a heart condition and a very serious one at that. But I thank GOD and praise Him right now (i’m literally falling out of my chair, at my work) that He is speaking to you, BREAKING those chains and freeing you from the lies of the enemy! We all fall short of the glory of God (Rom 3:23), but because of the Spirit's reproof in your life you are now aware of the battle that is taking place for your heart.. and God is WINNING!

    While we still stumble and fall, God loves us and he will bring this work in you to completion (Phil 1:6). He is growing and cultivating righteous fruit in you Renee, and the verdict is YES, I'm NOT perfect, because I will NEVER be perfect (back to Rom 3:23). YET God loves us and isn't that the best, the most marvelous part of the Gospel? Isn't that what Jesus on the cross is all about? Something I wish to leave you with: "May integrity and uprightness preserve me, for I wait for you." Ps 25:21- We will WAIT on the Lord! That while we wait He would preserve us with integrity and uprightness for it is not by anything we do, but because we chose He who first chose to call us out into his grace and mercy that we can experience the sanctifying work of the Spirit (2 Thess 2:13). It is not ourselves that sanctifies us, it is the SPIRIT that sanctifies and restores us in all of our complete and utter inability! I love you my sister, and it’s true about what they say, there is freedom in surrender :)

    1. amen amen amen thank you shelby for this. i'm so blessed to have you as a sister in christ, as someone who can share my struggles, fears, and failures, who lifts me up when i am down, and reminds me of the wonderful truth of the gospel. thank you so much for that.

      it was so great to worship with you last night at the concert.



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