I hate when I get stuck on the hook. I mean really…. I am human! So… I might not have
been totally awake yesterday as I was sitting in church. In my defense, I had just gotten out of a Sunday school class with 26 pre-schoolers that morning, so I was exhausted! As I was listening, the pastor brought up the words we use and how they can affect people. Since I am all about words, both written and spoken (a lot of them according to Mike) I make an effort to pay attention when the subject is brought up. Well he noted the verse:
It only takes a spark, remember, to set off a forest fire. A careless or wrongly placed word out of your mouth can do that. James 3:5
It is a subject I take seriously, and so I really try to use my words to encourage or challenge. And I know I still miss the mark at times, but I also know, I hold my tongue pretty well. Just for clarification…. It is not me. I am not that good! It’s a long story, but I have come to realize that in my voice being hindered for a time in my life, God has used that struggle to help me to be “slow to speak.” Not all the time mind you, but much of it.
So as I sat forward wondering what he would say next, I got a picture in my mind, not the spark, but the FUEL. You see, my son is a wildland firefighter. He winds up hiking out into forests and rural areas to fight these big fires that have been like a plague these last few years. As scary as his job is for his mama, I still like hearing about the details of his work. He talks about fuel a lot! That is the brush (poison oak) and undergrowth that grows, and then dies, in the mountains and foothills where we live. In a perfect world, the Forest Service or other agencies would do prescribed burns all year long and work to contain the large fires to the backwoods or unpopulated areas. That though doesn’t happen, and there are many reasons. Mostly they seem to do with money, or differing ideas on land management, and in the end nothing is really accomplished to solve the problem.
Anyway…. I thought about fuel, fire, words and how this all fits in my life. That’s when I
realized that I was working on keeping my tongue, but what about the fuel that was just laying around? The kind of stuff that when that word dropped, spoken by another, would set my head on fire? What was I doing about that?
So up until this point I knew what I was writing, but then I got to here. So really….what is my fuel? In a split second the word came to mind….PRIDE. My mortal nemesis! The thing with pride for me, is that it comes out in such a weird way. It is something I wrap myself up in as a shield from hurt. It doesn’t start off bad, but it always ends that way. It is my “Precious.” (Yes I saw part of Lord of the Rings last night)
I realized this morning, that some of the conversations in my head were the beginning of a fire, just waiting to get out of control. Luckily for me, I already knew I was going to write, and that gave me clarity. The fire is out, and I am feeling normal again. It is good to know that God won’t let me get away with anything! It has a tendency to give me a headache, but it’s better than burning up.
But I have a question for you…..what’s your fuel? Do you know? Do you want to know? The funny thing is, whether you take care of it or not, it’s gonna burn. But when you do a little cleaning, like a prescribed burn, the pain is controlled. Your other option is a massive, conflagration that goes beyond yourself, and has the potential to burn those around you