Shut My Mouth

“Today, I just shut my mouth…and it hurt,” she said from the back seat.  “I wanted to keep talking, but I just didn’t.  It was so hard.”  At school she engaged a person about an interpretation of the Bible that she fully disagreed with.  It is no secret that we enjoy a good theology discussion and/or debate in our tent. It’s just what we do.  Being the wise teenager in the family, she realized her view of the conversation and the other person’s view were so different, that it was necessary that she just shut her mouth.  And she did. But it wasn’t easy. Impressive.

After we listened to the whole story, she had our attention.  We responded with affirmations like, “Wow, we are proud of you,” and “How did it feel?”  Then we wondered about all the conversations we experienced that day.   Did we miss a few opportunities to shut our mouth? Probably. Then I remembered why I often don’t shut my mouth…anxiety.

Anxiety is a funny friend. It comes when I least expect it and takes up residence within the empty spaces of my mind.  Then, some way it drops into my mouth and comes out in strong words.  The lucky (unlucky) recipient of these words does not appreciate them.  But words from anxiety do not have a return policy. Once they leave the mouth, we own them.  Forever. A side effect of sharing our anxiety with others through words is that their anxiety increases as well.  A never-ending cycle.  Unless…I shut my mouth!

One way I gently manage my anxiety is to fill my mind with positive thoughts so there is no room for anxiety.  Here are a few mantras that often do the trick.  We chose one a day this week as we headed out the door into the big wonderful world.  See if you can use one.

  • Be a warrior, not a worrier.
  • Be still and know that I am God.
  • This is where I end and they begin.
  • I am loved. I am safe.
  • Wag more, bark less.
  • Don’t believe everything you think.
  • Always choose joy.
  • Let go of what you cannot control.

As we head into the holidays, we can purposely not invite anxiety to the party and fill our tents with positive mantras, sacred scripture and the Holy Spirit.  With all three of these friends at the table, we are sure to have a day full of thankfulness and love.

Kind words are like honey, sweet to the soul and healthy for the body. Proverbs 16:24

Dear God, help me to just shut my mouth…even if it hurts.

From our Happy tent to yours,

Meredith Bell

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