Monday, January 11, 2010

filtered lips

Over the weekend, Chuck and I stopped into our local cell phone store to talk with our sales guy, Frankie, about an issue Chuck was having with his cell phone. Mind you, my husband talks for a living on his cell phone. In fact, he cannot easily do his job without it. He sells to customers and communicates to our European partners about engineering specs and technical details just about every single day while he travels heavily throughout the United States, Canada and Mexico.

However, recently after upgrading to this new phone, every five or so calls Chuck would experience a garbled reception where he could not hear his caller (but the caller could still hear Chuck). Because I also own the same phone but have never experienced this problem, we were both perplexed as to what was wrong. So, as we were out-n-about the other day, I suggested we stop into the cell phone store to see if they could offer some answers.

While there, Chuck began to explain to Frankie his issue and the actions he had already taken on his own to troubleshoot the matter. He rebooted the system. He changed out the SIM card. He updated all software, etc. Still nothing seemed to fix the problem. Fortunately, Frankie had an idea that will likely resolve the issue. So this week, Chuck is testing to see if Frankie's suggestion will fix the matter. Yea. A simple story, right? Hmmmm. Well, let me tell you the part of the story that included my involvement.

You see, on Saturday, Chuck and I had decided to go out and enjoy a "date day" together. During that time, we planned to run errands, price shop for a new washer/dryer (ours is dying a slow death and will have to be replaced), enjoy some sushi at one of our favorite restaurant while watching football on their big screen TV, perhaps see a movie, etc. Although we had been hit with twelve inches of snow earlier that week (I love Chicago), the roads had already been cleared and the bright sun was inviting us to poke our heads out and enjoy a weekend about town.

Generally, I'm pretty closed lip as an individual. But this weekend, I was so excited to be with Chuck that my enthusiasm go the better of me and made me like a little kid with much to say - rambling on and on without a filter. About thirty minutes into our day together, I realized that I had turned into a chatterbox. However I could not (or would not) stop myself from commenting on any given topic, instructing him where and how to drive, interrupting him, or talking over him (because my stories seemed more important than his to share). Soon, my gracious and patient husband's eyes finally glazed over. Let's face it, the guy stood no chance to get a word in edgewise. In retrospect, I wish I had just shut up. But alas, the ramblings of a overbearing, selfish wife on her day off got the better of me.

By the time we arrived at the cell phone store, Chuck had reached his boiling point. While trying to explain his issues to Frankie, my poor hubby would have to deal with me jumping in and taking over the conversation. (Real annoying, right!?) Finally, Chuck stopped talking, put his hand on my arm, and right in front of Frankie, God and everybody simply and calmly said, "Vic, you need to stop talking. Let me handle this."

Embarrassed. Corrected. Guilty.

If I could only put a lock on my mouth. How often do I forget that my husband also has a voice and, HELLO, is in charge and perfectly capable!? How often do I selfishly rush him through his thoughts so that I can get out what I want to say? How often do I fail to just listen and actually hear this wonderful, intelligent, supportive, hard-working man rather than monopolizing, or even worse, mothering him through a conversation. Who do I think I am?

Later, after the cell phone store... after my apology... after taking a time out break and allowing me to regroup and repent, Chuck said the most profound thing to me. He shared this, "There is a big difference between listening to someone and waiting to speak." Was he ever right. I spend the first part of our day together unfiltered and unkind. I was controlling, selfish and overbearing... allowing my emotions and temporary feelings to drive my conversations, rather than allowing Jesus to rule my words, thoughts and actions.

Instead of being meek like Jesus, I was acting more like Chuck's "trippy" cell phone - forcing only my voice over the airwaves while garbling out all others. No, Jesus would not have selfishly interrupted Chuck. He would not have disrespected Chuck's capability to handle matters. He would not have monopolized or mothered him through simple conversations and trivial matters. Rather, Jesus would be gracious, attentive, loving, calm, content and interested in every word that Chuck had to share. He would have showed up ready to relate, love and help out when necessary. He would have kept a relaxed day off... well, relaxed and enjoyable.

Ladies, how often do we forget to filter our lips with Christ? How frequently do we treat those we love with unwavering respect and interest? How many times do we selfishly demand control or attention without taking care to honor another's capabilities or position? Furthermore, how many times are we too busy waiting to speak, rather than listening to what our Almighty Father is trying to say through other people He has placed into our lives? Are we so caught up in our own selves that we can't hear Him... that we can't respect His authority... that we can't let Him handle things without our meddling or two cents being volunteered?

This Saturday, Jesus reminded me about being meek and quiet. He reminded me how important it is - not only as a person, but especially as a wife. Being meek, means being kind, gentle, humble, patient. It means allowing the peace of Christ to filter your lips, your thoughts, your heart. Although it was hard to hear, I am so blessed to receive this reminder. I am equally thankful for a wise husband who is willing to lovingly help and correct me when I need it. Through him, God continues to teach me, mold me, change me. For this I am grateful.

So, as I continue to grow in Christ... I am equally charged to challenge you to think about your own life... your own tongue. Are your lips filtered with Jesus? Does your character mirror Christ's meekness? Is your spirit quiet and at peace to leave the trivial things in His capable hands? I encourage you to please think on these things.

The tongue of the wise commends knowledge, but the mouth of the fool gushes folly. (Proverbs 15:2)

But the meek will inherit the land and enjoy great peace. (Psalm 37:11)

When words are many, sin is not absent, but he who holds his tongue is wise. (Proverbs 10:19)




  1. oh man! totally busted on this one Victoria!
    thank's for the this one... coulda used it the other day.........

  2. Wow, I tend to be like this....ALOT! I start talking and can't stop. It just seems that all of what I am thinking is important, but I have to remember that others have just as important thoughts to share. Thank you for the reminder that (as Mom tells me) "seven words or less is sometimes more". I pray I will listen to Jesus and learn from His example as you have, blessfully, reminded us! Thank you, Victoria for sharing your foible.

  3. Great!!! Really needed that.