I’m not feeling very Christian today.

I want to be crass.

I want to shake someone or maybe knock some sense into them.

I want to lay hands on someone, and not the holy kind.

I want to grumble and complain.

I feel it festering up from deep inside.

I doubt that I am the only Christian to feel this way. That is how I feel today and I’m not proud of it.   The Bible says that out of the mouth flows the abundance of the heart. I haven’t let it reach my lips, but it does make me pause because I can see what is in my heart.  Worse, I know that God knows it is there too.

I have to pause and allow God’s presence to surround me.  I have to allow His mercy and grace to flood my soul.  I realize despite the way I am feeling today, God has done a mighty work in my life.  For His work, I am thankful.

There was a time not even too long ago, I would have allowed that feeling to manifest in my life.  I would have let the comments role from my tongue, cutting others to the core of their being – even if they were not the object of my feeling.  I would have reacted to how I was feeling on anyone in my path.  I have never been a violent person, but my words could kill.  Eventually the feelings would pass.  I would feel deep remorse.  I would apologize and repent.  Until the next time.

It went from daily, to frequently, to infrequently.  The feelings still come from time to time.  I remember the first time I realize that I had a choice in how I responded.  I was sparring with my husband.  Things were getting heated, as they usually would when I would start to lash out verbally.  The one thing about spending over a decade with someone – you really learn what buttons to push for the greatest reaction. I rounded the corner into the entryway and heard that still small voice.  “Shut your mouth, Jackie.”

It has been a long process, one that is still in progress.  Learning to silence yourself when you want to strike back takes self-control.  It is the fruit of the Spirit I feel least in touch with; but today in the midst of my feelings I realize it is the one most active.  I wasn’t feeling love, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness – but I was responding with self-control.  Yes, I still needed the gentle prodding of the Lord, but I listened before it hit my lips.  I know if He is changing the outward action, He is changing the inward being.

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