I did so well for about 6 months. I’ve mentioned my study of 1 John in almost every post because- well, y’all just don’t know what that study did in my life! It changed everything.
One thing I cleaned up was my mouth – that dirty little habit of gossip. I wouldn’t say I was “proud” that I now refused to indulge in petty talk, because if I’d been living right – by that golden rule my entire life – it would never have become a habit I had to change in the first place. People would have avoiding me when they wanted to have a water cooler talk.
I wasn’t one that necessarily loved to go around spreading gossip and other people’s dirty laundry, but I would inevitably find those co-workers migrate to me (out of boredom from their own lives usually) and they’d start the talk. Before I knew it, I’d find myself indulging in a conversation I never asked to be a part of in the first place – in the hamper of other people’s dirty laundry. What’s most shameful? I loved it – in the moment. It gives a small false sense of importance, I suppose.
I don’t know why I ever did these things. It never made me feel better. I always felt like I needed a soul cleansing with sage and a priest after hearing some of these misfortunate stories. It was never helpful.
Back to my point of now. I had gotten so good of redirecting people after the 1 John study that when people tried to gossip with me it was pretty pointless and it didn’t take them long to discover their time would be better spent by being more productive and going back to minding their own business.
Then I backslid. It was that “gradual slope” that I referenced in my last post. That’s what really is the threat, isn’t it? The complacency. Things start getting a sense of normalcy again, and I desensitize, and open my big mouth.
What happened recently was after my adult daughter had separated from an abusive husband and moved in with us, along with her 2 year old daughter. To say this has been a major adjustment – emotionally, physically, and financially is an understatement. While we are thrilled to be able to help them, and love them dearly, it has took a toll on not just me, but my husband, and also the 2 children still living at home. It caused chaos in our lives that was just beginning to settle. To be frank, I felt I already had maximum capacity of what I could deal with on my plate.
Then came the other day and my moment of losing my cool, resulting in “diarrhea of the mouth”.
I am ashamed to say, that during a conversation with my mother when I was angry and feeling sorry for myself, I opened mouth and inserted that foot. I was rambling about the current situation, complaining about money, complaining about my daughter and how my life feels out of control. I also mentioned that my daughter is basically doing what she wants, instead of what I think she needs, etc.
What I did not realize was that my absent- minded mother had somehow butt – dialed none other than my very own daughter, who had been listening for 3 minutes and 56 seconds. I discovered this only after my daughter texted me, telling me to have my mother look at her phone. My stomach dropped.
We apologized, but once something’s been said and been put out in the universe – it’s out there for good. I was furious at myself for not having that mirror in front of me at that time, and for not savoring the bitterness of my words before speaking them.
I realize while what I said was true, it should have been said in love, and with gentleness – instead of in the critical, hardened, bitter tone I spoke. Not to mention – I should have just had the conversation with my daughter to her face, instead of behind her back (with love, of course).
I am human. I backslid. I gossiped and betrayed my own child.
Thanks for the reminder, God. Lesson learned (again). I think I’m good for another 6 months.