“Whoever guards his mouth preserves his life; he who opens wide his lips comes to ruin.” Proverbs 13:3
I clench my teeth at night. I have caused a lot of damage over the years to my teeth because of the nightly clenching. Now, I wear a night guard while I sleep to avoid future trips to the dentist. There are theories as to why people do this to themselves while they sleep, but nothing is absolute.
It is very frustrating for me to know I am damaging my teeth and straining muscles in my jaw and neck. I prayed to the Lord many times asking why do I do this to myself. I decided to commit to a 3 month fast from social media and decided in that saved time to seek the Lord. I asked the Lord everyday the answer as to why I keep clenching my teeth. I did not hear or receive a word. It wasn’t until the last day of the fast did I see the above Bible verse in a daily email devotional. It was on a Sunday when I received this email. I went to church and the sermon was on being negative. There was my answer.
I struggle with being negative. Despite the necessity of giving truthful answers, I was going overboard and spilling my guts on the terror of whatever subject I was speaking on. My name should be “Debbie Downer”. I started to notice that people I associated with at church, school or social gatherings would cut their conversation short with me or avoid me. I would ask these people if I did something to offend them and they usually would say that I did nothing. But I knew something wasn’t right. One person finally said that I was very negative and it made them uncomfortable. They explained that when all you hear is negative talk and nothing positive from someone, you begin to associate that with them and want to avoid them. Ouch, but message received.
I told my husband about how I had been feeling. He said that he noticed that I couldn’t talk about anything without there being some negative tone to it. He said, “You know the saying, ‘if you have nothing nice to say, don’t say anything at all’ well maybe you should think about that once in a while.” Ouch, ouch…
I knew that I had a lot of emotional wounds in my life. Maybe I even worshipped at the altar of fear and being negative. I began to find safe places to vent and cast my frustrations. Journaling helped a lot. I prayed that the Lord show me in my conversations when I begin to take a negative turn. And when it happened, to stop me in my tracks. I asked that my negativity turn into encouragement.
The good news is that I am catching myself when I am being negative and listening more than talking. We recently got new windows and shutters for our home. And like with any home improvement project, we ran into some difficulties. I mentioned to a person how we got the new windows and shutters. She was so excited for us. I began to tell them how bad things got during the process. I saw her face turn from a smile to a frown. I stopped myself in mid sentence and said, “well it all worked out and I am very happy with them.” She smiled and said she was glad it did. Whew…I didn’t go down that lonely road.
Lesson Learned: You can unlearn unGodly behavior and be on the road of where God wants you.
“Dear Heavenly Father, forgive me for being negative about my life. I thank you for everything that you have given me. Help me in those times when I want to complain, to give you a shout of praise and thanksgiving. Have your way with me. Show me how you have carried me through all of those difficult times and that this is all temporary. In Jesus’ Name, AMEN!”