I’m an Immature Agitator with a Questionable Heart

Okay, so that might sound a bit harsh. So let me explain.

Sometimes you can hear something over and over and nod your head in agreement, and then forget about it before the sun sets on the day. Or maybe you hear it, agree to do something about it, but never really get your heart behind it. Same result – any change is only short-lived.

Then there are times where something smacks you in the face so hard, that the imprint is left for weeks afterwards. And you hope and pray that it stays with you. Because that smack in the face was pretty painful.

Yeah – see that big fat red imprint on my face? I think I have had such an encounter.

When I come on this blog each day, I have edited and rewritten any words that I post. I can put my best face forward for all of you to appreciate and applaud for any fine thoughts I might have. I can sound so sweet and flowery – the picture of calm and together-ness.

But I’ve got to level with you.

At the same time I am sounding sweet and flowery, I have probably just turned from yelling at my 2 year old, rolling my eyes at my 5 year old and kicked the cat. Okay – maybe not that last part. (But isn’t that a sad commentary, that we all probably gasped harder about that last bit than the bit about the yelling and eye-rolling directed at the kids?)

The truth is, I am not always nice with my tongue. My tongue has spewed out some hurtful things in the past. I have said things that if someone were recording my every word, I would hide in shame during the playback. Words spoken to my husband, an ugly tone to my children…

I say things to my children at home that I would never say when others were around.

This is hard and painful to admit, but it’s the truth. And I don’t want to pretend that I am someone that I am not.

And yesterday I was convicted of this issue. Even though it is something that I have been aware of, I hadn’t forced myself to make the change. Because of the depression that I have long suffered from, it was easy to hold on to that as a reason. “Ooooh, someone hasn’t taken their meds today. (chuckle chuckle chuckle…)”

But frankly, it’s not a worthy excuse anymore. (not that it ever was).

Our pastor just started a series on James 3, 4 and 5. The series is entitled Faith in Action. Sunday’s sermon was on chapter 3, which focuses on the tongue.

Three things are shown about the tongue in this chapter of James:

Verses 1 -2 show that the tongue reveals our maturity, or lack thereof.
The Greek word used for perfect in this verse actually means mature.
The words we choose and speak reveal our maturity. Were you to walk around and listen to others as they speak, you’d be able to get a sense of that persons maturity.

Last week, I threw a temper tantrum at my kids. I apologized and put myself in the naughty spot when we got back home. It was humbling and, I dare say, embarrassing, but a lesson for us all.

So, I openly admit that I am immature. Temper tantrums don’t sit well with the mature crowd.

Verses 3 -8 reveal that the tongue is an agitator in relationships
Eye rolls, tone of voice, sarcastic and biting comebacks etc. — all are agitators and forms of verbal abuse (though, I recognize that eye rolls are not verbal… they convey a lot).

This type of abuse is prevalent in our world. James’ advice is to not be that person. Don’t go there.

Verses 9 – 12 show that the tongue reveals our heart.
From good, flows good. If I am filled with good (the Holy Spirit), then through that, good can flow forth. If I read scripture and memorize it and fill my heart with the fragrant and good that comes from the Lord, then that will show up in my words and actions.

The good person brings good things (words) out of the good that is stored up within him. (Matthew 12:35a)

(*to read the sermon in its entirety, click here)

So, there you have it. ME. But hopefully, God-willing, I can soon say that this was the Past Me, not the Present Me. I want my words to build up and not tear down.

Now where’s that cat? (I’m KIDDING!!!!)


  1. http://Anonymous says

    Your post today really touched me because I can connect in so many ways. There is nothing like the book of James to do some serious convicting! My boys are grown now, but there were times when they were little that I wanted to cut my tongue out at the end of the day. Mean words (not swearing) that I would never say to anyone else, I used on the ones I loved the most. My boys and husband still joke about the way my mood and speech would change the minute I got on the phone with someone. How embarassing! I think with age and less stress you will gain more patience. Good luck with the struggle!BTW I enjoy your blog.

  2. http://Beck says

    Brave, brave post, Karla. I saw way too much of myself in it, too.

  3. http://mer says

    Great post, Karla. Thanks for sharing. I posted something similar the other day, and about how difficult it can be to navigate this bloggy world. We have the ability to create something that is a bit rosier than reality on these blogs, but as for me…I always, always appreciate honesty, and yours was refreshing today. Thank you.

  4. http://amyanne says

    Oh Karla…thank you for allowing me to guest post on your blog today. :) I could have written this…I can hide my frustrations (read SIN) behind my sarcasm…I can be so biting and hard hitting and arrogant and snarky with those I love the most. Of course it’s passed off as “joking” And it’s really not hidden is it? :)

    Thanks for this post!

    Love ya!

  5. http://Sister%20Honey%20Bunch says

    Wonderful, wonderful. I’m in a bible study that just focused on how potent your words really are.

  6. http://Darlene%20R. says

    I can relate to this post 100%.

    I am constantly finding myself wishing that kindness to my kids came more naturally. It’s so easy to get frustrated with them and fly off the handle. I’m not like that with anyone else.
    It’s a true battle.
    I’m fighting it daily, thankfully with the Lord on my side.

  7. http://Beth says

    This post definitely hit home with me.

    My kids know how to push all of my buttons and many times I don’t know how to react and usually end up saying things that aren’t very motherly – and certainly not very Godly.

    I have been praying and will continue to pray that God helps me keep my tongue in check. It is a daily battle in my life but with God – all things are possible!

  8. http://Angelika says

    I’m an immature agitator too.

    But I’m ok with that, LOL.

    Thanks for stopping by my blog. :-)

  9. http://Gloria says

    Everyone says things in anger and frustration that later they wish they could take back. At least you are honest enough with yourself to admit it. Many people can’t.

    This is an issue I need to work on also….

  10. http://Missy%20@%20It's%20Almost%20Naptime says

    Sanctified minds think alike Karla.

    A while back I wrote this devotional for CWO on taming the tongue


    Last week God impressed upon me that I had to expand this to the way I speak to my kids as well. For they are the ones I MOST do not want my religion to be useless toward.

    So I am feeling the sting of conviction right along with you, sister.

  11. http://Amy says

    I appreciate your candidness, Karla! I think we all struggle with this and if our blog fits our day-to-day life. I recently shared about my difficulties with my son and how I have not been proud of the mommy I have been. It was hard for me, but admitting that I needed to work on my parenting was important to me. No secret double-lives here, but it is hard sometimes to bring the two together and still feel like you have your privacy.

  12. http://Wecare4much says

    Thanks for being so real Karla. I needed that big red mark on my own face today. Blessings to you for your obedience.

  13. http://jubilee says

    I needed to hear this today, thanks. I get impatient and am not always kind with my words, especially with my children. Yikes!
    Isn’t there a verse in Proverbs that talks about the tongue having the power of life or of death?

  14. http://His%20Girl says

    wouldn’t it be nice if we could polish up all the words we say out loud the way we can on our blogs?

    this is a fabulous post… glad you decided to share it today :)

    ((ps I sent an email to your design email about a friend’s wedding invitations… did you get it?))

  15. http://Susanne says

    I think pretty much most of us can confess to this, Karla. Thanks for being vulnerable and admitting it. With the Word ans prayer hopefully we can all say that was he past us.

  16. http://Megan%20(FriedOkra) says

    :) HUG. Great post – touched a lot of hearts!

  17. http://Kimmy says

    Thanks for your honesty, Karla. I too, can relate all too well to what you shared. ((HUGS))

  18. http://Fran says

    Every single one of us is in that post. Thanks for being so brave but reminding us to build up…not tear down. Not so easy though.


  19. http://~Telah says

    Great post! Definitely hits home here too. Thanks for the reminder of something I know I need to work on. Glad that I’m not alone.

  20. I told you to stop kicking that cat!

  21. http://Cassie%20-%20Homeschooling%20Four says

    Well, it looks like you are not alone in this struggle.
    I would have to agree with the comments above and say that I do the same things.
    I’ve told my friends and family and they don’t believe me because I would NEVER yell or speak hurtful words to my children IN FRONT of anyone!
    Pride is my struggle and when no one is looking, that is when the wrath is unleashed.
    I know spending time in the Word and staying connected with Jesus changes the way I handle everything (including my children).
    I never knew I could be so ugly until I had kids. Isn’t is amazing how God uses them to reveal things about us we never knew before?

  22. http://Cmommy says

    Karla, the preschool director gave us our self-evaluations today and one of the questions deals with “mouth maturity”. I’m happy to say that I’m eons better about this than I was as a young teacher, but it involves daily vigilance.

    Ditto on my side regarding the children and computer work—-maybe the definition of integrity should be altered to read “Integrity=Who we are with our children when no one is looking.”


  23. http://Sonya says

    I think we could all do better in this area. I do the same thing with my kids. I get angry and instead of thinking before I speak, I go on to say things that I later regret. I’ve found that I’m realizing it more and more and I’m going to my children to apologize. Like you, I want my words to build up. I think I behave this way because that’s how I grew up. It’s time to break that cycle though. No more excuses for me!

  24. http://Jenn says

    I am not sure how I missed this post, I had it saved in my blog reader I guess to go back and read later. I am so glad I found it today. You are very courageous and inspiring.

    My tongue with my boys has been an issue. There have been many times that I would be so ashamed and embarrassed if I was overheard. I was convicted back in the Fall that I must make some changes – so I have tried to change the tone, volume and choice of words I use with them. I am doing much better but when I fail – it is BIG! Then I have to apologize to them (& God) and pray they do not remember it.

    Why is it easier at times to treat strangers better than those you love?

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