In the multitude of words there wanteth not sin: but he that refraineth his lips is wise.
There is some controversy over who uses more words in a day. Historically it has been reported that women use around 20,000 words and men use about 13,000. Statistics are all over the place now. What isn’t controversial is that we use A LOT of words in a day. I feel stressed already thinking about 20,000 opportunities to mess up, just today!
Right after Cliff died, I was given a job at Seffner Christian School by my friends Roger and Jody Duncan. They knew I needed help and there was a HS teaching position open. They allowed me to work part-time and all three of the boys were on campus with me. It was such a blessing.
About 3 weeks into school, one of the Smelly Monster’s teacher asked me to stop by during lunch. There was a problem. Uggg. Just what I needed, more problems! I got all worked up and stressed out as I walked to see the teacher. I had prepared a speech for the teacher explaining why the Smelly Monster was having issues adjusting. My Smelly Monster’s first-year teacher asked me to sit down and she took the chair behind the desk and I had to sit in one of the tiny kid seats on the other side of the desk. Not a fun seat to occupy as many of you know. She proceeded to share with me how disappointed she was in my Smelly Monster because of the really bad language he used. I was mortified. We called the offending Smelly Monster into the conversation and I asked him what was going on.
His excuse was that I used that bad word all the time at home! I thought I would die right there. I was so embarrassed and knew the Smelly Monster was just making that up. I didn’t use curse words at home. I was the Pastor’s wife for Heaven’s sake! After further conversation and a lot of coaxing, I was able to get my Smelly Monster to whisper the bad word so we could figure out what was going on. If I thought I was embarrassed earlier, I really wanted to die after he told me the word that has caused him to move his bumble bee all the way down the behavior chart and get sent to the principal’s office!
Crap. The word was crap. The problem was that I really did say that word all the time at home! (Probably still do. Don’t tell my mom!) We both apologized to the indignant first-year teacher and walked out with our heads hung low.
I learned a very valuable lesson that day about my words. Even though crap is only a level 2 bad word, it still caused hurt and held consequences for both me and my Smelly Monster. As a side note, here are the bad word levels created by Smelly Monster #3. He is a trip!
Level 1 – Words that are mean that we can’t say. (Stupid, shut-up, idiot…)
Level 2 – Gross words that we aren’t allowed to say. (Fart, Crap, poop,)
Level 3 – Words that are bad but are used in the Bible. (Hell, damn, ass)
Level 4 – Really bad words that we can’t even list and don’t even spell when someone else says them.
Here are some lessons I have learned due to my propensity to get myself in trouble with my words:
- Take a deep breath. I KNOW that I use that for #1 on every issue. However, it works! It is scientifically proven that deep breathing brings more oxygen into your bloodstream and helps all of your organs function better, especially your brain! Psalm 46:10 reminds us to stop and be still and let God remind us who is in charge.
- Let it go. This is one of my goals this year. I don’t have to have my say. I don’t have to have the last word. I don’t have to share my opinion. I rarely regret NOT saying something. Daily I regret words I did say. Proverbs 10:19 reminds us that sin lives in the midst of many words. The fewer words we say when there is an issue, the better off we will be. (Ecc. 5:3, Prov. 6:2)
- Don’t jump to conclusions. So many times, I don’t hear the entire matter out and jump directly to the conclusion. I allow my emotions to take over and say hurtful and uninformed things that don’t lift up others. One of the Smelly Monsters recently told me that I never let him finish when he is explaining a situation. I felt so bad. This is an area I need to change. Proverbs 18:13 says that those of us that answer a matter before we hear it bring hurt and shame to ourselves and others.
My dad died several years ago but I can still see him in my mind and hear his voice as he would try to get me to think before I would say things. He would say, “Evona, Proverbs 17:28. Even a fool is counted wise when they just keep their mouth closed.” I’m still working on that!