Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Looking Back At Yesterday

First of all, if anyone at all read yesterday's blog entry, let me apologize profusely. What was I thinking? Well, actually I think I was delusional when I wrote the post. You see, I have since realized that I had the beginning of a stomach bug yesterday which is still lingering with me today. That is why I had so many issues with food - loving it, hating it, shopping for it, not wanting to prepare it, etc. Who cares! For Pete's sake, I am so sorry if anyone actually read that post!

But yesterday's craziness only got me to thinking about deeper matters today (praise the Lord! Get us out of the shallow end, please!). As I've continued to feel less than great today, I've realized that yesterday my behavior was a direct result of an inner sickness, a physical one. I didn't know I was ill yesterday; I just thought I was having some strange food issues. But today I recognize that I am and indeed was ill. Thus, my thoughts, attitudes, behaviors, and words were a reflection of that illness yesterday.

Perhaps this still isn't a pleasant subject for a blog post and not much better than yesterday's delirious ramblings about food, but stay with me if you can stomach it (pun intended, I must confess). I think I've stumbled across something here. You see, it occurs to me that we often act out of our inner illnesses, and indeed we always act out of our inner condition whether that be healthiness or sickness. In fact Jesus taught this in Matthew 12:33-37 where He said that good trees produce good fruit and bad trees produce bad fruit. The inner condition of the tree determines the fruit.

Now many of us grasp this equation and it even makes sense to us. But my realization today is that often I have already thought, spoken, and acted before I realize what is on the inside producing my symptomatic thoughts, words, and behaviors. By then it is too late to do anything about it beyond apologizing and doing my best to mop up the mess I've left behind me.

I had an experience like that last week. I yelled at my husband and stomped up the stairs and locked myself in my bedroom. (Completely unjustified, I assure you!) Later I yelled at my friend on the phone and insisted on getting off the phone in a huff, coming just short of hanging up on her. (Also unjustified and childish) Now I'd like to blame all of this on a major PMS week. I do have some crazy symptoms during this time of the month and these behaviors do seem to pique on this week like clockwork, but I refuse to cling to this excuse any longer. I don't believe I have to live in bondage to even a medically excused syndrome. I'll accept the terrible cramps, the hot flashes, the digestive issues, and the cravings for chocolate, but I refuse to blame my bad behavior on a biological occurrence that I've dealt with for over 30 years.

Folks, the truth is, what is inside comes out on the outside for all to see eventually. And if it's not on the inside to begin with it can't come out. Yesterday I was sickly and delirious and, so, a delirious and sickly blog post came out. No big deal. I was ill and I didn't really post anything offensive or hurtful or damaging. But what about when the sickness of my heart comes out in the form of hateful words, a bitter tone, slammed doors, rude facial expressions, or haughty body language? That's a big deal. In fact, Jesus said in Matthew 12:36, "And I say to you, that every careless word that men shall speak, they shall render account for it in the day of judgment." Now I may get a pass on the day of judgment because of the grace of Jesus my Lord, but I don't want my speech even to be "judge-worthy", if you know what I mean. Jesus takes my words and behavior seriously, and I do too.

If you've noticed like I have that sometimes your behavior and words are less than desirable, maybe you need to consider the source. What's going on inside that eventually produces such bad fruit? For me, I know I have some poor-mouthing self-talk going on that needs to stop. I also need to be more consistent about forgiving other people and keeping a clean slate in my relationships instead of allowing bitterness and resentment to build like a cancer in my heart. Then perhaps I'll show a little more patience and grace when push comes to shove, or when my hormones are pushing all my buttons.

Today, while I'm still on the mend from a yucky stomach bug, I'm thankful for God gently using a little illness to show me a bigger truth about myself. Is God showing you things every day too? He wants to. He wants to speak to you through His Word, through your interactions with others, through nature, through the simple words of your children, and so much more. So even if you're a little under the weather today, take the time to ask God to speak to you. He will. Even through a stomach virus.

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