This post is part of the series His Encouragement
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Welcome! Welcome, dearest friends, to His Encouragement: Biblical Inspiration for Your Thursday. Every week, I join a few blogging friends to bring you a Bible passage and a little hope-filled discussion. We pray that these devotionals help you end your week strong in God’s love and purpose for you.
Gracious words are like a honeycomb, sweetness to the soul and health to the body.Proverbs 16:24, ESV
I used to think I was a patient person. Then I had children of my own and discovered that it is easy to be patient when you are well-rested and stress-free.
The real test comes when facing a challenging situation and you are sleep-deprived, stressed out, overwhelmed, grieved, anxious, or in pain.
Starting after my second son, Pickle, was born, my patience wore so thin, sometimes it was non-existent. I suspect it was an unfortunate trifecta of grief regarding my mother’s diagnosis, work-related stress, and sleep-deprivation induced postpartum depression.
I meekly admit that some of my symptoms included irritability, unexpected and sudden bouts of rage/anger, and the occasional throwing of things. These reactions are not who I am. I never, ever in my wildest imaginings thought I would become that type of person. But sometimes, after going through various challenges, we can find ourselves in a place like that.
But there is good news!
The Lord can and will help if we but ask of Him! (James 1:5) And sometimes He does so through professionals counselors who are trained to recognize such behaviors, provide guidance on proper coping techniques, and other treatment options. There is nothing shameful about reaching out to your doctor or another professional for help.Patience is truly tested when you are sleep-deprived, stressed out, overwhelmed, grieved, anxious, or in pain. Click To Tweet
How to respond with gracious words
Now when faced with a difficult situation, I try to not respond with my immediate, innate reaction. While we may not be able to completely stop our natural reaction (the fight or flight response), pausing to take a deep breath can help to reset our mind.
This pause also provides a much-needed opportunity to ask the Lord for guidance through prayer. (Matthew 7:7) To bring us back to our senses. To calm us down. To grant us patience.
Then we can respond to the situation properly with a clear head and all our God-given reasoning and discernment faculties available.
Why am I talking about patience today? Because “gracious” or “pleasant” words, as it says in Proverbs 16:24, do not come naturally when we are in a state of heightened stress, anxiety, or pain. No, often our natural response are cutting, hurtful words intended to attack what the selfish mind considers a “threat”.
But our Lord expects and helps us to raise above our natural inclinations. (Philippians 4:13) He wants us to respond with “gracious” words.
Strong’s Concordance says that original Hebrew word used in today’s Scripture is noam, meaning: “kindness, pleasantness, delightfulness, beauty, favour”. Imagine, if you will, words filled with kindness. Words imbuing pleasantness. Words filled with delight and beauty. These are the type of words we are to be using — even during the challenging moments of life.
Why is it important?
Notice the importance of such patient, gracious responses. The end of Proverbs 16:24 says such words are “…sweetness to the soul and health to the body”. This means that the opposite is true as well: cutting, impatient words sour the soul and damage the body.
Our words matter. The tone in which we say words also matters. Words can cause sourness or bring sweetness. Words can cause damage and bring healing.
I don’t know about you, but often the people were are most impatient with are those we care the most about: our closest family and friends. The last thing I want is to hurt my loved ones, my children.
I want my children to grow up in a home built on love. When toddlers throw temper tantrums after a long, sleepless night and a stress-filled work day, it is not always easy to respond with gracious and pleasant words. However, this is when our true character is being tested!
I want my character to be reflective of Jesus and filled with “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control”. (Galatians 5:22-23) Don’t you?
Perhaps, like me, you need to work on pausing, taking a deep breath, saying a prayer, and responding with gracious words. If so, I want you to know that the Lord will give you the strength you need to reset your calm, find the right words, and the courage to seek professional help if you need it.
Be sure to also visit my fellow bloggers and read their encouragement for your Thursday as well:
What verse has touched your heart this week? Share in the comments below!
- Trisha of Joy of Reading
- Nicole of The Christian Fiction Girl
- Jessica of A Baker’s Perspective
- Becca of The Becca Files
- Gina of Stories by Gina
- Rev. Rebecca Writes
- Andi of Radiant Light
- Leslie of Words of Hope
- Claudia of By Claudia Moser
- Keneesha of Women Loving God’s Way
Continue reading this series:
Find meaning in the mundane (His Encouragement)