For those of you who follow An Every Day Dad, you know that I’m been absent over the past year. I took the time off to focus more on my family and to put more action behind the things that God has shown me about being a husband and father.
At least that was my intent.
But if I’m honest, last year was a rough year for me and my family. Most of my time was consumed pursuing my professional accreditation. It left precious little spare time. My family also dealt with several attacks on a spiritual level. We found ourselves running from one situation to the next. Putting out one fire only for another to spark. To say the least, we were drained, physically, spiritually and emotionally.
As the spiritual leader of my home, I was somewhat lacking. The constant trials left me in a state of constant stress and negativity. I no longer tried to find the silver lining, because I assumed there wasn’t one. While my circumstances were nowhere near the level of Job, at the time I felt like they were (this is the time when my wife would usually roll her eyes at my talent of exaggerating a bit, she keeps me straight). The point is, I wasn’t in a place to be the best that I could be for my family.
My internal pessimism eventually became external in the form of my spoken words. Instead of speaking positive things over my life and my family, I found myself speaking the opposite. Instead of waking up feeling blessed, I vocally speculated, what’s going to go wrong today? It happened so slowly that I didn’t even realize how my attitude had changed. I convinced myself that it was realism, not pessimism. But as Proverbs 18:21 tells us, death and life come from the tongue. The things that I would speak were slowly killing my spirit and that of my wife and son.
I once again had become and caused my family to become casualties of “The Law of the Garbage Truck.” The atmosphere of my home and the spirit of my wife and child had become a dumping ground for my perceived realism.
Scripture warns us of this type of behavior. Ephesians 4:29 says to, “…not let unwholesome [foul, profane, worthless, vulgar] words ever come out of your mouth, but only such speech as is good for building up others, according to the need and the occasion, so that it will be a blessing to those who hear [you speak].”
I was doing the exact opposite of what I knew I should be doing. I slowly began to comprehend that what I justified as me being realistic and just voicing my frustration was, in fact, me not being the husband or father I promised my family I would strive to be. I was allowing worthless words to come from my mouth, words that did not build up my family.
That realization was a hard pill to swallow. It hit me like a ton of bricks. MY words were having more of an effect on my family than the actual circumstances that we found ourselves surrounded by.
I felt disheartened. Like I had taken two steps back.
But sometimes our greatest lessons come during our most difficult trials. I’m thankful that God opened my eyes (even if it did take longer than He probably would have liked) to the fact that even during difficult circumstances, I have the ability to use my words to speak blessings over my family, to uplift my wife and son by reassuring them that God is always in control and that He always has our best interests in mind.
I plan on carrying this lesson with me into 2019 and the years to come.
May we always remember to speak in a way that, “…is good for building up others, according to the need and the occasion, so that it will be a blessing to those who hear [you speak].”