A recent event of pot stirring came up and it has reminded me of things in the past. In order to maintain the current relationship, I won’t dwell on this recent event, but I want to mention what I learned a few years ago.
You see, a few years ago I was in a bad mood. A bad mood that lasted a year… or more. It happened during and after my lyme disease era. I felt abandoned by God (I wasn’t truly abandoned but I did truly feel that way), sick of feeling sick, and generally sorry for myself all around. [Side bar: a few of my acquaintances have been really ill recently, and what a testimony it is to me that they remain positive and faithful throughout the whole thing. I’m sure I disappointed the Lord a lot throughout my illness, and I am sorry for that. But thankfully He is faithful even when I am not!]
Back to the bad mood. Here’s the thing, my mood didn’t stop with my health. It carried over to my family. To my kids. To my husband. To homeschooling. To my church. To my relatives. Everything was wrong, nothing was right. My kids were bad and I hated homeschooling. My house was never clean. My husband never understood me or sympathized with me. And there was no one in my church that I could relate to. My pastor didn’t understand where my family was coming from or what was important to me.
Just typing that brings a flood of shame, but I felt that way.
Poor MM tried to cheer me up by saying things like, “Count your blessings.” “Don’t dwell on the negative.” “Think about all the positives in your life.” [Which by the way, MM, I currently challenge YOU to do that. It’s much harder when things are not peachy-keen, right???]
I have since told him that these are NOT the things to say when I get in a mood like that. Instead, I’ve told him to say things like, “You are letting the devil get the best of you.” “Resist the devil. You can do it!” “Don’t let the devil steal your joy.”
Why so much devil? Because when I get in that mood, I really am just letting him have his way with me. And that is NOT what I ever want to do. Remembering that he is the king of negativity helps free me when I start going that way. And MM reminding me of that makes me determined NOT to let him get the best of me. It reminds me to resist the devil and he will flee from me.
So during my year of “Poor me” and “This sucks,” someone called me out for some things I said. And they called me out in a kind of harsh way. In a very harsh way, actually. And then things got bad because of other stuff that happened. And I was angry and sad. And then other things happened that were bad.
And I can see where some of the bad things were the result of the devil working in other people, too.
But for the person that called me out, I see it now.
Because although I felt like a lot of stuff was crappy, I was still committed to them.
Did I feel like I truly disliked my family? Yes. Was I going to leave them? No. Did I feel like I truly wanted to give up homeschooling? Yes. Was I still committed to it? Yes. Were things at church perfect? No. Was I going to leave or try to get others to leave the church and come to a new one with me? Of course not.
And that is where I’m just now understanding the harsh call out. Because what the other person saw was that there are those people out there who are black holes. They see negativity and they cling to it and magnify it and try to get others to be part of it, too. And my actions were stirring the pot. In some ways, I thought a dialogue would be good (and a constructive one may have been), but for anyone who might be just a negativity magnet, any pot stirring brings them out and now the pot overflows.
Current events are a good reminder to me not to stir the pot. By that, I mean, don’t try to point out the “wrongness” in something that is going on. (I’m not talking evil or sin or criminal behavior. I’m talking preference and emotions, here.) And if there is some way I think something is wrong or can be improved, I will NOT do it publicly, but instead, do it privately. [Hmmm…. maybe there was some wisdom in Jesus’ words from Matthew 18 where He tells us to point out a fault one-on-one.]
Maybe there are issues that demand a public outcry. But most times, they don’t.
So as for me and my mouth, we WILL NOT stir the pot!