“Those who guard their mouths and their tongues keep themselves from calamity.” (Proverbs 21:23)
How many of us remember the last family roadtrip where the kids were driving you crazy with the repetitive question of “are we there yet?” Then what follows that question? Another question. What is it? Come on you know it …. “How much longer?”
When our kids were younger they would start this 1 hour into a 19 hour drive to the beach. Soon the “are we there yet” would turn into “she’s touching me” and “he took my headphones.” And you know what would happen next? Daddy would pull that car over! Then the sentence comes from your mouth you swore you would never say … “I’ll give you something to complain about!” Now you sound just like your mother! As if a 19 hour drive wasn’t long enough, now we’re stopped on the side of the road to adjust some attitudes. Complaining creates delay.
Kids just want to be there already. It doesn’t matter where they’re going, let’s just get there. It’s all about the destination for them.
And aren’t we much the same? We’ve now moved up to the front seat, sometimes even the driver’s seat, but we still fail to enjoy the journey as we should and become hyper focused on the destination. We too just want to get there already. And all the waiting brings out the worst in us and we start complaining. I gotta wonder if Jesus has pulled the car over on us! “Girl, you will straighten yourself up before we drive one more mile!”
But you just want to get there already … and I’m not talking about roadtrips to ski in the mountains or lay on a white sandy beach. I’m talking about life. We want to “arrive”. Arrive at our goal weight. Arrive at that happily ever after state. Arrive at that stage where little people aren’t fully dependent on you. Then we get our little people all grown and out of the house and what are we wanting … when will they come home to visit … when will they bring us the grandbabies.
Think about it, we’re on a perpetual really long trip of wondering how much longer.
And when the answer comes that it’s still a long ways away, we start complaining. AND COMPLAINING CREATES DELAY.
Are you enjoying this journey?
Your entire life is one big journey. You reach those milestones and destinations only to find there’s now something else to worry about and somewhere else to go. And if you’re not careful, you will never enjoy a darn bit of it. And what’s worse is, you complain about it. We’re now one month into this brand new year of life, and some of us have already decided the journey to being happier, healthier, and debt free is just too dang long, so we’ve settled back into our easy chair of little life living and opted to let those stupidly ambitious people to keep going, because you’re NOT!
If you’ve been listening to the BIG Life Devotionals for long, you know I love to study the story of the Israelites traveling from Egypt where they were slaves, to their Promised Land flowing with milk and honey. What was between slavery and the promised land … desert. Lots and lots of desert. Oh the same is true for you and I. Our journeys take us through our fair amount of deserts. It is in the desert we are tested. It is in the desert we are reliant upon the provision of God. It is in the desert our God proves himself faithful to provide in ways only he can. Just as he rained down manna from heaven (manna is bread) to feed the Israelites, He will provide for you in unspeakable ways.
Unspeakable ways sometimes means a you find a $20 bill in your coat pocket just when you were out of gas money.
And sometimes unspeakable ways means doing things you just didn’t imagine you would need to do to get by.
That $20 bill doesn’t always magically show up in your coat pocket now does it? Sometimes you gotta go to extreme measures and be humbled in ways you have never been humbled before. Sometimes you gotta take the job you’re totally overqualified for, just to make ends meet. Sometimes you gotta shut down the cable. Sometimes you gotta accept some help. Sometimes you gotta dig in the couch cushions and go back seat diving for change in your own car. (Penny, penny, nickel … oh jackpot, there’s a QUARTER!!!!)
Is that still God’s provision?
I have a friend who told me she had negative dollars. Now it’s one thing to be broke, but when all the spare change has been cashed in and your account still says negative $4, you’re officially broke. But you don’t have to be broken.
Did you get that … you can be broke but you don’t have to be broken.
God showed up for this family with their negative $4 in unspeakable ways. Ways they didn’t imagine God providing. This mama had bought herself some face cream, still unopened. She swallowed her pride and returned the face cream to buy diapers for the baby. Now, don’t miss it. That’s God’s provision. That is God saying, here use what I have given you, be creative, do what you can do, and I’m going to take care of the rest. AND STAY GRATEFUL.
This is the key my friends. Stay grateful.
Often times in our deserts of life, where everything is taking longer than we imagined and harder than we were prepared for, we lose our gratitude. We become hyper focused on what some refer to as “reality” and we miss the miracle in it all. You’re alive aren’t you? You’ve made it another day, right? You didn’t starve yesterday. God has been faithful and he will be faithful again today. Enjoy the journey.
What ties us up and delays us quicker than anything is an ungrateful, complaining spirit.
Proverbs 21:23 – “Those who guard their mouths and their tongues keep themselves from calamity.” Meaning the opposite is also true – those who DON’T guard their mouth CREATE calamity. Calamity is defined as damage, distress and disaster. Girl, look around … if you’re surrounded by damage, distress or disaster, you better check your mouth! Has it been unguarded? Has your tongue been unkept? Have you been whining and complaining because Jesus may have just pulled the car over on you!
The Israelites were stuck in the dessert searching for their Promised Land for 40 years. It should have only been an 11 day journey. They were delayed because of their complaining. Are you being delayed because of your complaining? Maybe you are closer than you ever imagined, but an ungrateful spirit and entitled attitude has you tied up and stuck. Entitled attitude … whew, deep down we all struggle with that, don’t we. I’m a good person so good things should happen for me. That’s entitlement. Check yo self before you wreck yoself!
Anytime we start to complain, let us suck that complaint right back up in reverse and replace it with gratitude. The manna God gives you today may not be your favorite, but it will be enough. It will be provision for today. And provision may show up in a step of action you felt you were above taking … that’s still provision. So we, God’s girls, won’t complain about it. We won’t complain about the sand in the dessert, the heat of the hot sun, the long walk ahead, or the people we’re traveling with. We will refuse to complain.
Our prayer today is Psalm 19:14 – So, Lord “let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in Your sight, O Lord, my strength and my Redeemer.”