Pause

14:21


Like a city that is broken down without walls is a man whose spirit is without restraint -Proverbs 2:28

        In the heat of the moment, it is a foreign concept to pause, assess, process and get perspective about a situation. Because the blood is boiling; the responses are piling up on your tongue, and they are ready to fly out like sharpshooters toward their target. No doubt your aim is accurate; but the results are disastrous. Emotions give you a false sense of accurately attacking your target. With emotions, everything is a target; even the point that wasn't a point of contention becomes contentious. Proverbs 27:17-18 says: the one who has knowledge uses words with restraint, and whoever has understanding is even-tempered. Even fools are thought wise if they keep silent, and discerning if they hold their tongues.  I do not always have a restraint on my emotions. The moments that I do, I pray that God gives me wisdom to respond, help me not respond emotionally. And I say it enough times until I feel myself stabilize to a normal heart rate. It takes patience to wait for a divine mystery to manifest the prayer; it takes patience to detach from my emotions and return to an equilibrium with the rest of my body.
It takes patience.

Admittedly I fail at exercising that patience, because sometimes, during that prayer, the outrage is enormous that it feels irrational to be rational about the moment. The knowledge and understanding that proverbs 27 talks about is rendered lifeless. And passion prevails. It prevails because it is all consuming; passion in and of itself is without restraint. But I must have restraint, so that it will not filter through my mind all willy nilly. And that takes practice. It means I have to be vigilant at the height of my emotional trigger; in the heat of that moment my spirit must overcome my soul and its passions and detach in order to be in control. 

I am in a battle with my feelings all day long. This is not to say every emotion is negative.  But I need to build strong gates, with strong Durawalls that allow the positive through and the negative ones to be arrested. I'm praying for floods of patience, and equal portions of humility to receive this patience. Because this pride cannot be subdued with deep breaths and counting backwards. I must decide to humble myself to receive the divine empowerment I need to exercise patience. And as psalm 27, says having knowledge and understanding allows for the exercise of restraint and even-tempered-ness.
 Evidently, this is a test of self-control, of self-mastery. I found a quote by Josh Billings, that states: the best time for you to hold your tongue is the time you feel you must say something or bust.  And I find this quote relate-able. I'm familiar with that feeling, of having to absolutely let words be said otherwise they are not impactful, or I won't be heard, or I won't get my feelings or point across, and oh-my-gosh-it is of absolute importance to convey how I'm feeling. But those words come, and they are like perpetual vomit, and just as acrid. Evidently, I lack restraint. I am without knowledge or understanding when I behave like this. And a disaster is awaiting me at the end of that harangue. I can only hope that in these interactions, the other person has greater restraint, otherwise I am to brace myself for a deluge of equal or greater venomous response. To what end, though? I cannot control how the other person responds, neither can I expect them to be self- controlled. I can only control myself and my emotions, and prayerfully ask that I not allow myself to be provoked by someone's lack of self control either.

So, what am I to do? Pause. In the midst of a tumultuous storm of emotions battling my heart, I have to learn to pause, and command this deluge to be still. And I must practice this until I become better at it.  And one day soon, the fruit of my lips shall bring me great satisfaction.           
Until then I shall plead with the Lord to set a guard over my mouth; keep watch over the door of my lips! Psalm 141:3     
**
Chenai Mbanga
~SoulTea~

pics from @romeoshagba/@graobe_noelle

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