Venting
Lysa TerKeurst

"A fool vents all his feelings, but a wise man holds them back." Proverbs 29:11 (NKJV)

Yesterday, I was just mindlessly looking out the window of an airport watching a few seagulls dart about overhead while airline workers were busy loading bags. Nothing about the scene outside the airport window spoke of danger. But then suddenly I remembered the flight from New York just a few weeks ago that was brought down by a few geese. That seagull that faded into the background just moments before became a point of extreme interest to me. What if?

It's amazing if you stop to think about it that a huge airplane could be brought down by just a few birds. Birds. Who would have thought? It makes me think about other seemingly small things that can cause great destruction as well … especially when it comes to my marriage.

Words vented in frustration can seem so small.

Slightly disrespectful attitudes can seem so small.

Complaining about lack of finances can seem so small.

Brushing off his desires can seem so small.

Making mental lists of things you wish were different about him can seem so small.

But each one of these seemingly small things can so easily and tragically wedge itself into the core of a marriage and send it screaming toward destruction. Entire families have been ripped apart by things that once seemed so small.

Listen to the heartbreak in this note that was anonymously posted on my blog the other day:

"Girls...I know this seems small...but, it's really not. Take it from someone who has blown it more times in marriage than not. Now I have blown it enough to make myself a single mom. It's too late for me. But, it's not for you. Please be aware of the little things. I wouldn't have you join me for anything in the world. Be on your guard and protect your marriage."
-Anonymous

I am challenged by this. I can't just mindlessly assume that my marriage is coasting along okay and that little problems can't topple even the most seemingly stable of legacies. I can't get complacent. I can't get prideful. I can't get lazy. I can't take the gift of my marriage for granted.

I have a great marriage but sometimes I slip into automatic and stop getting as intentional as I should about investing richly and deeply into our relationship. So, I've decided to declare this my get intentional week. Today I'll focus on my words. I'm praying for God to interrupt my mouth at every turn today. I am going to hold my tongue against saying anything careless. I am going to intentionally use my words as gifts to my husband today and nothing else.

Not that one day of doing this can protect my marriage forever - but it sure is a good start. Care to join me? Oh you know there will be challenges ahead sweet sister, but I'm up for it. What about you?

Dear Lord, help me to realize that with each word I speak, I am making the choice to bless or to curse. Please help me to speak words that are pleasing to You - even when my emotions run high and my feelings beg me to betray this commitment. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

Related Resources:
Visit Lysa’s blog to see a list of more helpful Scriptures about stopping careless words.

Capture His Heart by Lysa TerKeurst

The Bathtub is Overflowing but I Feel Drained by Lysa TerKeurst

Application Steps:
Identify the areas of your marriage you may be struggling with – complacency, pride, laziness. Look up verses in God's Word that address each.

Spend intentional time in prayer this week for your marriage and your husband.

Reflections:
What have I said recently to my spouse that seemed so small initially?

What have I done recently to my spouse that seemed so small initially?

What have I thought recently about my spouse that seemed so small initially?

Power Verses:
Proverbs 15:1, A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger." (NIV)

Psalm 19:14, "May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, O LORD, my Rock and my Redeemer." (NIV)

Philippians 4:13, "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me." (NIV)

© 2009 by Lysa TerKeurst. All rights reserved.

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16 Comments:

Blogger DOakley said...

Thank you, Lysa, for this challenge. My temper has been a little rocky the last couple of days because of the struggle of getting my 12-year-old mildly autistic child out of bed to go somewhere. Happens every morning.

But, I also have felt the Lord 'take over' in those moments where I knew I just wanted to blast him, but the words that came out weren't the ones I had planned! Since that didn't happen, yesterday, I know I need to refocus, today.

Your prayer today reminds me of the statement I have on my e-mail signature: "Your words have the power to change a life for the good or bad. What will your words do." Someone pointed out to me that that's a pretty good paraphrase of a verse in Ephesians 4.

Thank you, again, for the challenge.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

In searching for women's online devotionals, I found your's this morning. It's a keeper I believe. In reading this I was not only struck by the little things which affect my marriage but (and perhaps more importantly) how they affect my child. Think of these things in regards to them and we have a double challenge.

Thanks so much for this. I believe for me it hit the mark.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I also was touched by this message i always seem to have an excuse for why his desires aren't important or there isn't time. Thank you for pointing out this aspect of a marriage. Most people in the church would hide from this. It was refreshing for me to see this along with the rest of the message. Thank you

What a great post and a timely reminder to all of us - I'm off to share it :)

Anonymous Missie said...

Thank you so much for this beautiful reminder! My fiancee and I had a bit of a hiccup in our relationship the other day because I let the small thing become big. My words were hurtful and my attitude disrespectful. I prayed over the situation and worked through my emotions with our sweet Lord. Today, reading your words, I was touched to my very heart and soul. Thank you for reminding me that my fiancee is a gift from God -- treasure him always! Thank you!

Anonymous Anonymous said...

This devotion was definitely a great one to read. I made a statement on Sunday that this week I would do things intentionally and that I would consider my words and do/say things that would build and not tear down my family. I have had some challenges but by His grace I have kept my composure. It is such a delight to live intentionally. I have had more joy in doing this than I have had in a long time. Thank you for your devotion, it's definitely a keeper.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Lord knew what I was to read for my devotions today. This one as well as RBC's Our Daily Bread. He reminded me that I've been 'testy' towards my husband lately, with an underlining of selfishness in my remarks. He had convicted my heart in that I ought to confess it to the Lord as well as to my husband before entering into his presence.
I am glad that I have come clean. And I know that I've done right by the Lord, as my husband also confessed about his testy remarks. My husband was surprised that I was apologising, thinking I had nothing to apologize for. But I explained to him that it was the Lord that was convicting my heart. And you were right about addressing the seamingly small things before they amount to big things.

Anonymous Ruth said...

Thank you so much Lysa for these reminders of how little things that are said, done, or thought about, will escalate to bigger things, whether good or bad. All I know is that I want to focus on the good things.

I just want to thank God because I know if He was not in the center of my marriage, I know I would not be married today to a man that I have loved in good times and in bad times for almost 24 years(next week, thank you Jesus!).

Thank you once again. Many blessings always

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for this beautifully written and prepared devotional. It was a specific answer to my prayer and petition to God yesterday. The daily frustrations of life have been building, and I have allowed these frustrations to creep into my marriage in an unproductive way. Thank you for shining His light where I had allowed darkness to enter!

Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's a good one. It not only works for marriage but also is a reminder for keeping good relationships with friends. Thanks.

Anonymous Nicole Terrell said...

I got married about 6 months ago after knowing my new husband for a short time. 2 months after we married, he left. I am so confused because we both went before the Lord before we married and asked if it was what He wanted for us. We both felt the answer was yes. During the time he has been gone the Lord has reaffirmed to many many times to "fight for" my husband (not with or against) in various ways. I have been discouraged a few times because of the rejection I feel. Last night I had had it. I vented to God. There was no one else to vent to. I told God that I would follow through with my husband's wishes and agree with him to end this marraige. But once again I feel God's Spirit leading me to Stand Firm in the promises he has given me. In my heart I know God is working in my situation and certainly in my heart. He has changed many of my perceptions in the last 4 months. I struggle because I don't "see" anything changing. But I am going to stand on the Word of God for my marraige. I am going to fight for my husband everyday on my knees. I would be honored for any who wish to fight with me through prayer. Satan is the enemy. not my husband.
This ministry truly blesses me.

Anonymous Ruth said...

This is a comment for Nicole Terrell

I'm getting ready to lead a ladies bible study tonight and I just want to let you know that I will offer up a prayer for you with the ladies. I will be asking that God continue to give you the strength and encouragement that you need.
Please don't forget that no matter what the enemy made to look bad, God will surely make good.
Things may not seem clear right now but keep on trusting and searching after Christ with your whole heart and He'll see you through.
Blessings always

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Today is the first time I've been to your website & I'm glad I came! What a profound message about marriage! I've been married for 26 years to a wonderful man, but I know how complacent we can get after so many years together. What a good reminder to 'be careful little mouth what you say'. I tried to print the devotion & my printer will only print the first part (1 page) and not the rest. Is it o.k. to print them?

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks again for another timely message. When stress starts to make my emotions run wild and pull me in the wrong direction, I know I need to stand strong on the promises and Word of God. I needed this reminder about being intentional.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

My venting doesn't pretain to my husband, but my 18yr old daughter. There are many times she very nasty in her words to the family if she is tried or irritated. WE ALL KNOW SHE REALLY DOESN;T MEAN THE THINGS SHE SAYS. SHE IS HONESTLY HURTFUL SOMETIMES. She is most hurtful to those who love her the most. My daughter is probably the most spiritual teenager i've known. When she is hurtful I tend to say things I shouldn't. Thank you for these words. I will try to look at things a different way.

Anonymous Nicole Terrell said...

Thank you Ruth. It means so much to me that you have taken my request to your Bible study. i have been encouraged this week. Again, thank you so much!

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