If you have been snared with the words of your mouth,
Have been caught with the words of your mouth,
Do this then, my son, and deliver yourself;
Since you have come into the hand of your neighbor,
Go, humble yourself, and importune your neighbor.
Have you ever awaken to a fire? I learned this morning that I really have a tendency to overreact. (This would not be a news flash for my children, mind you!) For some strange reason I immediately jump to conclusions. Does anyone else do this? I’m running late to class--my students will give me bad evals. My kids are flapping their wings--they will soon be miles from the nest. She snapped at me--I'm on her hit list. And from these unchecked conclusions, I'd better be on guard.
The funny thing is that I don’t consider myself pessimistic. Is it worry? Is it fear? Whether the thoughts are simmering over a long haul or microwaved in seconds, my overreaction isn’t always pretty.
So now that we have identified the problem, what’s a woman to do? Well, we don’t find the words “overreact, exaggerate, make a big deal, or react excessively” in the Bible. But we do find passages that encourage and admonish us to check our words at the gate of our mouths and to take captive every thought and make it obedient to Christ.
We first need to make sure we are dressed and ready for fires. What fire fighter would rush into a burning building wearing street clothes? We ready ourselves through prayer and reading the Word. Second, we must take action by arresting those thoughts that bombard us. Often this means we say nothing in the heat of the moment because we have learned so many times before that taking thoughts captive requires a shift in mental energy, not a release. Spending my mental energy responding and giving full vent to the thought instead of taking it captive is like talking to a cat in a tree trying to coerce it to come down verbally instead of grabbing the cat and pulling it to safety. In this scenario words simply don’t work. And if the cat is too high to reach? Words still don’t help. So figuratively, I must learn to remain silent and rely fully on God to lead me.
Does this sound like mental gymnastics? You bet it does. And it’s absolutely exhausting. It may also be called warfare. The trick here is to battle fiercely without overreacting. The challenge is to find conclusions that are in line with God’s Truth. Our job? Come dressed for a fire. Come ready to respond, not react. Consider saying nothing when you feel the heat, and remember that there is no “cat” beyond God’s reach.
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