Do you have trouble taming the unruly tongue? Learn one secret to avoid spouting words from your irritation and frustration.
“The one who offers thanksgiving as his sacrifice glorifies me.”
Psalm 50:23a ESV
Does this ever happen to you? Your spouse does something, you have a thought about it that makes you super annoyed and irritated, and as much as you try to keep it in, words come spewing out. Useless words. Nagging words. Life-taking words.
For me it’s my spouse not chewing the right way, switching lanes without using a blinker, driving over (or under!) the speed limit, or not putting the toothpaste back in the medicine cabinet where there is a designated spot. Actually, there are a multitude of examples.
It’s really awful. And embarrassing to admit.
I want to stop being annoyed. And even if I do get annoyed, I want to NOT say anything and instead be a loving, encouraging wife. But it seems like words just come out of my mouth. It seems like I can’t control my tongue.
So what do I do?
I just finished One Thousand Gifts Devotional by Ann Voskamp where she talks about “giving thanks.” In the back of the devotional, there’s a place to keep track of 1000 gifts of the “endless and matchless graces of an overflowing God.” I’m on 330.
Eucharisteo means “to give thanks.” It’s a verb. We are called to actively give thanks.
Psalm 50:23 says our sacrifice of thanksgiving honors God.
I’m also reading my Bible using the Navigator’s 5-5-5 New Testament Reading Plan, which I highly recommend. Today I read James 3, where James talks about our tongue.
I’m feeling real conviction on this very topic of getting irritated and blurting out words.
The bit in a horse’s mouth
James shares that without a bit, the horse is wild and unpredictable. With a bit in the horse’s mouth, the horse can be controlled.
Like a small rudder can control a big ship and a supervised campfire can keep a whole forest from burning down, we need to manage our tongues.
With our tongues, we bless God our Father and with the same tongue we curse the very men and women he made in his image (in my case, my spouse).
This got me thinking.
Eucharisteo can be the bit.
If we direct our mind to Eucharisteo, the giving of thanks, in the midst of our irritation, we can manage our tongues and the words that come out of our mouths.
We can choose destruction OR we can choose life through Eucharisteo.
In the moment of irritation, when I want to spout off something rude and negative, I stop. I imagine myself putting a bridle on my horse, Ruby. I remember when I trained her in the ring in middle school, teaching her to obey the commands of the reins and the bit in her mouth. She and I won the State 4-H Western Pleasure class because of this training. She got really good at giving in to the direction of the bit.
I too can practice taming the unruly tongue.
- Pause. Go to God.
- Choose to give thanks. See his wonder all around me. Name things to give thanks for at that moment.
- By giving thanks, I speak life-giving words to God first. He controls my tongue.
This Eucharisteo is my bit.
As I begin to practice giving in to this “bit” and learning to obey it, I allow God to control my tongue. As my heart fills with thanksgiving, I honor God. Naturally, my words overflow from the abundance of my heart and I am able to speak life-giving words to those around me. I will experience more joy and see the miracles of God everywhere I look including the toothpaste on the counter.
Will you join me? Will you pause and choose Eucharisteo, the giving of thanks, over spouting words from your irritation and frustration?
In His Word
Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruits. Proverbs 18:21 ESV
If we put bits into the mouths of horses so that they obey us, we guide their whole bodies as well. James 3:3 ESV
In Your Life
What about you? Is there an area of your life where your words are less than life-giving? How could you pause, put in the “bit” of Eucharisteo, and give thanks instead?
To help me be thankful instead of spouting out something else, I’m studying, One Thousand Gifts Devotional: Reflections on Finding Everyday Graces by Ann Voskamp.