(Photo courtesy of buildfaith.org)
“The good person out of the good treasure of his heart produces good,
and the evil person out of his evil treasure produces evil,
for out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.”
One of my biggest struggles is my mouth. I find it, sadly, too easy to use a nasty tone with my husband and children. I am so easily annoyed by whining children, and my mouth spouts off angry, hurtful things so often. It is extremely difficult for me to hold my tongue when I am upset about something.
It isn’t until after I have hurt someone feelings or said things I regret that I realize how big a jerk I can be. And then I have to find some humility and go ask for forgiveness….another huge struggle! I do not like to admit I am wrong; I would rather just be right all the time. 🙂 But, I am learning to ask my kids for forgiveness. They have never said no, but I wonder what they are thinking when I ask.
“Again?! Man, mom messes up a lot!” or “Is she ever gonna get this right?”
I can only imagine how annoyed they get with me being so mean or hurtful when things don’t go my way!
So, I have been really considering Luke 6:45 and how I can work on what comes out of my mouth. I understand it is related to my heart, which makes me more upset….my heart must be full of anger or discontentment for me to sound like that with my family!
Working on my heart is going to be a lifelong challenge, I know. But, I decided to work on filling my mind and my day with things that will help me focus on Christ, in addition to my Bible reading and prayer. I want my focus to be on the Christian God has asked me to be, the wife I should be, and the mom my kids need me to be.
I noticed a few months ago we had a lot of time with no background sound during our day. (Other than the screams and giggles that come with having five kids or the TV when I cave and give in to their screen time requests.) When I was talking about getting in some quiet time with the ladies at my moms’ group table at church, some suggestions that came up had to do with what music or radio we listen to. They all seemed to listen to their own music, not just the kids’ music. I always seem to have a kid music cd or Veggie Tales story cd going in the car…even though half the time they aren’t even paying attention to it!
So, I came up with a few ideas for things to listen to that have REALLY helped me throughout the day. Things to listen to at any time in order to help me stay focused on Christ and how I am acting toward those around me. I do not get to listen to something every moment of the day, but while I am in the car or typing blog posts or during nap time or even while cooking dinner I can turn on something just for me. I am not always able to sit down and read through my Bible (besides in my morning quiet time) to help me focus, so having something I can listen to is important.
Here are some helpful audio ideas:
- Moody radio – Moody Bible Institute in Chicago has a local station, but they also have an app and a website you can use to hear their current programs. They have preacher after preacher all day long, just teaching from the Bible about different topics of passages of Scripture. And they are not boring, at all (in case you were thinking they’d be these old guys droning on and on about Leviticus, like I always thought when I was a kid and had to listen to it in people’s cars. Ugh…it was so boring to me as a child.). Tony Evans, John Piper, John MacArthur, and a bunch of other pastors are all on Moody. I love to have it on in the car and while I am cooking dinner. And my husband even listens on his way to/from work, so we can chat about what we heard and discuss!
- Spotify – I recently discovered Spotify, even though it has probably been around for a while. You can listen to different albums or songs of a TON of artists and add them to your own playlists. I have added many albums of different Christian singers/groups to play on the computer while I work or cook or whatever. I do not buy many cd’s or iTunes songs/albums, so Spotify is great because it is FREE!
- YouTube– I don’t necessarily use YouTube for the video part of it, but I enjoy listening to different pastors’ sermons via YouTube. Matt Chandler (amazing guy!), Tim Keller, John Piper, James MacDonald, and so many more.
- Podcasts – I am fairly new to podcasts as well. (Go head, call me old. It’s fine. Really.) But, I have really enjoyed all the mom and/or homeschooling podcasts I have found. They are all Bible-based, which was so important to me. The men and women that share on the podcasts have really encouraged me so much to be more committed to my ministry here at home. I really want my children to love Jesus, and a lot of the podcasts give lots of great ideas for changing my attitude and ways to start my day well. A few I have found and loved are Sally Clarkson (love, love, LOVE her), Revive our Hearts (they have an app with all their podcasts, too), Inspired to Action– Kat Lee, Cultivating the Lovely – MacKenzie Monroe, and the God-Centered Mom Podcast. And one thing about the last one, God-Centered Mom…I absolutely LOVE the latest podcast about anger triggers. I have listened to it twice now. 🙂 I also really love episode 69 with Kirk Martin; he talks about the strong-willed child and handling them well. I have (I think) 3 strong-willed kiddos. One is a girl, and she and I can usually handle the difficulty together pretty smoothly (not always, but usually we can work it out ok) now that she is a little older and we can talk more in-depth. But, both of my boys are strong-willed, I believe. Going out in public is such a challenge any more. I really appreciated how Kirk Martin explains in a Bible-focused way to show them the love and correction they need. I do not believe either or my boys has any serious issues, but they definitely have strong wills and do not just go with the flow or change their minds instantly. I absorbed a lot of information in that podcast episode with how to change MY action/reaction and diffuse or alter situations. Very encouraging and helpful!
Those are a few things that help keep my mind on the things of Christ throughout the day. Now, I don’t want you to believe my days are 100% awesome because of what I am listening to. 🙂 BUT, constantly filling my mind with Bible truths in my morning quiet time and listening to pastors preach the things I need to hear definitely helps me stay on track more often. I still respond with angry words some times, but I am noticing how much quicker I am with confessing and repenting. Baby steps! 🙂
Do you have anything you use throughout the day to help you keep your focus on Christ?