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My Name is Windy and I’m a Stumbling Block

So often I sit down to write on this blog, but I don’t know how to eloquently capture my thoughts with my keyboard.  I sit, ponder, and hope that God will give me the words, flawless and powerful, to capture your attention and give you a sense of what I’m feeling.

My writing comes across as chunky, clunky, and even uneducated.  It comes across as raw; a writing that has yet to find its editor, one who can turn it into the beautifully written words I intended.  My words are raw because my brain is raw.  My brain and mouth work together like an old team of mules, relying on each other without much thought.  In a normal mind the brain has a thought process. It has a thought, carefully weighs the words, and then sends those words to a normal mouth.  But I’m not normal.  My brain isn’t normal.  Unedited, unrefined thoughts spew from my mouth like water trapped behind a dam. Most people suffer with this same issue but their thoughts are like a trickle out of a tiny whole in the dam but not me.  My thoughts, good and bad, literally explode from my mouth.  My dam doesn’t have a tiny hole that produces a trickle.  My dam has a gaping, splintered crack right down the middle and, with one single thought, can explode leaving devastation in its wake. A devastation in which houses are leveled and cars are floating away, trees uprooted and hopes dashed.

It all starts with a single thought.  This thought originates in the brain, bypasses the part of my brain that would suggest that it needs some refining, and quickly plants itself square in my mouth.  My mouth blurts it out, assuming that the brain has done its due diligence in filtering this thought.  As soon as the words reach the tip of my tongue, my heart senses something is wrong.  Maybe my heart is psychic, knowing my words are harsh and will offend, or maybe it can see the look on the poor person’s face (I’m going to go with the latter). Either way, my heart pleads with my brain to stop talking but instead, it starts backtracking.  Spitting out more words in a failed attempt to explain.  My brain begins desperately trying to rework the words so they don’t come across as harshly, but still creating new words, new thoughts, and sending them to my mouth as fast as it can. Maybe my mouth bears some responsibility because I know it can hear the conversation between my heart and my brain, yet continues with business as usual.  I’m mortified and the person I’m talking with has a look somewhere in between “you need medicine” and “what just happened?”  I know a lot of direct people and even most of them would consider my ability to rudely state a compliment as a talent- I’m that good at it.

Once my friend Jo and I were just chitchatting, two friends talking about homeschooling, husbands, and our kids. During this discussion I noted how similar we are although we have different religions and upbringings. Jo is a Mennonite and I am a Baptist.  We have similar fundamental beliefs but in general, Mennonite women are much more reserved than the “progressive” Christian women of today.  She’s direct (like me) but in a kind, sincere, and measured way (unlike me).  The conversation was going well and I guess, since my brain isn’t normal and obviously doesn’t appreciate normal conversation, it kicks in. (You might wonder how one rudely states a compliment but hang on, I’m about to show you.)  For some reason, unbeknownst to me and my heart, I blurted out, “Jo, you’re the Mennonite version of me and I’m the normal version of you”. Gulp.  Double gulp.  I felt like I had slapped my sweet friend in the face. Normal version? Are Mennonites not normal?  My heart is screaming at my brain, having a full blown meltdown.  My brain lackadaisically replies with a simple, “Hey, chill out. You know what I meant”.  My heart knew what my brain meant, but that didn’t mean Jo knew what my brain meant.  She only heard what my mouth said.  I’m having multiple conversations at this point.  One with Jo (because I’m trying to pretend I didn’t realize I had diarrhea of the mouth), one with my brain (begging it to come up with something non-tacky to say), and another conversation with my heart (reassuring it I would fix it, make it better by apologizing).  Jo pretended not to notice and truly don’t think she took it to heart but that didn’t make me feel better.  Instead I felt even guiltier.

Later, I called my generously merciful friend to apologize.  I tried so hard to explain what I intended to say but my words fell flat.  My sweet friend reassured me that she knew what I meant and that she didn’t take it to heart. Even though I had opened my heart to her in my apology I didn’t feel any better, and I still, over a year later, hope that I didn’t truly offend her.

All my life I’ve been blunt.  People have either loved or hated me because of it and I’ve always accepted that it’s just who I am.  But it’s not.  God calls me to use my words wisely.  Proverbs 12:18 states plainly “The words of the reckless pierce like swords, but the tongue of the wise brings healing.” (NIV).  What if insinuating that my friend wasn’t normal made her question her faith? What if it made her rebel against what made her different from me? Rebelling against what made her different from me would cause problems with her walk with God, within her family, and within her circle of friends.  Had she not been strongly rooted in her faith and her relationship with God, I could’ve been a stumbling block for her. 2nd Corinthians 8:9 tells us not to be a stumbling block for others so that the ministry of God will not be discredited.  So, by not measuring my words, by blurting out what my brain thought was acceptable, I wasn’t being a good example of a Christian.  I didn’t cause Jo to stumble, but not because I didn’t throw the stumbling block in her path.  She saw it and chose to step over it.

I’m working on myself now.  Thanks to the wise counsel of some friends, I’m learning to measure my words.  I’m learning that even though it is hard to fully think through what I’m about to say, I must do so or else I’m throwing stumbling blocks out there for everyone I speak to.  It’s hard to rewire your brain at 35 years old especially in a society where being loud, opinionated, and downright rude is acceptable, often praised.  Although it may be acceptable to everyone else, it’s not acceptable to God and I know this because of His holy word.  And y’all, if it isn’t acceptable to Him it can’t be acceptable to me- not if I am truly trying to follow Him… and I am.

 

 

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