You must understand this, my beloved: let everyone be quick to listen, slow to speak, slow to become angry. James 1:19
I have read that it takes 21 days to break a habit. I have never tested that theory. I have always been a “quit cold turkey to break a habit” kind of girl. So, I guess with this 30 day challenge (The Tickle), I will be putting that theory to the test. Eight days in…breathe…here I go.
This past week on this challenge was AMAZING! Not because things were easy. Not because my kids were perfect. Not because I didn’t experience any challenges. Not because I didn’t fail. It was AMAZING because I was standing strong through my Savior. In my weakness, He made me strong.
When I was faced with the temptation to become irritated, quick to speak, or slow to listen, I prayed James 1:19 and I was filled. I can’t tell you how powerful it is to speak the Word of God over your life especially in the heat of the moment. It gave me the chance to step back, refocus, and put my heart in the right place.
In the middle of juggling multiple things, I stopped to listen to my 5-year old when he was showing me a special picture he colored for me. Usually I would glance over and say “Oh, how nice!” as I continued to wash dishes. But I took time to smile, look at the colors, the shapes, how he spelled “Mom” and drew a heart all by himself, how he colored inside the lines, and the big smile on his face as I complimented him. Honestly, it took maybe a minute of my time and it was worth every second of it.
On another occasion, it was evening time. I was at the end of my day, tired, beat up and just done. Some of my kiddos wanted more mommy time. Normally, I would send up my hubby. But I stopped and listened to them. I spent time listening to my daughter sing her favorite Jamie Grace songs (she made me get all teary eyed). I spent time listening my oldest son talk about airsoft guns. I sang songs to my 3-year old while snuggling my 2 other boys. I was so blessed.
There were many times I was stirred up, knocked down, beat up, and irritated. Times when everything in the day was going wrong. Times when I had to repeat myself over and over again. But I tried not to react, but rather respond. I didn’t say what I wanted to say, but rather what God would have me say. I didn’t act the way I wanted to act, but how God would want me to act.
I realized that by the time it was Friday, I was not as worn out as I usually am. Practicing James 1:19 has helped me to be more aware of what I bring to the table in my relationships with others. I can build strong relationships with people in my life by stopping and listening to them, speaking with love, and refraining from reacting to every word or behavior that is thrown at me. Some things just aren’t worth getting upset about. The less I react to things, the more I am blessed.
This next week, I will also add another challenge. I felt “The Tingle” again as I was reading through a couple blogs (“The Road” and “How to Homeschool and Keep Your Sanity”). I know God was speaking to my heart to laugh and smile MORE. I need to be MORE intentional about doing it in the midst of my crazy, chaotic, can’t stop for a second kind of days.
A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a broken spirit saps a person’s strength. Proverbs 17:22.
Do I have it all figured out? Not at all. Did I make mistakes? Absolutely! But in eight days, I can already see the work God has begun in me and He will see me through to the end. I am a work in progress. I am being molded. I am blessed.
You have the opportunity to change the dynamics of the relationships in your life. It isn’t easy to be the one who has to change, but sometimes that is what it takes to move to the next level in restoring and building strong relationships, strong families, and strong marriages. It takes time (21 days????) to break a habit, so be easy on yourself. Be patient. Things may get worse before they get better. Let God work in you and through you and watch Him do a mighty work in you.
Do you notice that when you have a cheerful heart, you have more energy? Do you think you laugh enough? Smile enough? Laughter is good medicine and an powerful stress reliever. Can you remember a specific time you used laughter to get you through a difficult time? If you joined me on this challenge, how have you seen a change in your life over the past week? It is not too late to join the challenge. Jump on board and share your experience. I would LOVE to hear from you!