Yesterday turned into somewhat of a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day. I let it. I let the weight of the world weigh heavy on my shoulders. I let things that don’t concern me consume my mind. I let words and opinions fly out of my mouth and swirl around in my head too freely. I won’t get in to details or I would just be adding fuel to yesterday’s fire, which wasn’t extinguished until after I told all of the things to my hubby, he said, “you can’t change people.” At first I wasn’t happy with this answer. I wanted him to join me in my anger against injustice. But after a short amount of time passed, I realized he was right. The funny thing is, I already knew this, but in the moment, in the many moments, I forgot. I forgot what was important. I made something small into something very big. And in the end, it was a waste of my precious time. I got caught up in a moment and it affected my knowledge of the truth. The truth is this… When there are many words, sin is unavoidable, but the one who controls his lips is prudent. Proverbs 10:19. Without wood, fire goes out; without a gossip, conflict dies down. Proverbs 26:20. The one who guards his mouth and his tongue keeps himself out of trouble. Proverbs 21:23. So too, though the tongue is a small part of the body, it boasts great things. Consider how a small fire sets ablaze a large forest. And the tongue is a fire. The tongue, a world of unrighteousness, is placed among our members. It stains the whole body, sets the course of life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell. Every kind of animal, bird, reptile, and fish is tamed and has been tamed by humankind, but no one can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison. With the tongue we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse people who are made in God’s likeness. James 3:5-8. You will keep the mind that is dependent on you in perfect peace, for it is trusting in you. Isiah 26:3. The mind of the righteous person thinks before answering, but the mouth of the wicked blurts out evil things. Proverbs 15:28. Teach me your way Lord, and I will live by your truth. Give me an undivided mind to fear your name. Psalms 86:11. Listen closely, pay attention to the words of the wise, and apply your mind to knowledge. Proverbs 22:17. To seek to lead a quiet life, to mind your own business, and to work with your hands, as we commanded you, 1 Thessalonians 4:11. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. Colossians 3:2. Do not be conformed to this age, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may discern what is the good. Romans 12:2. Finally brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable-if there is any moral excellence and if there is anything praiseworthy-dwell on these things. Philippians 4:8. When I remembered what was true, my anxiety shrunk and my peace grew and washed over me. And then at the end of the day, when I was ready to call it quits, I declared, “I’m done with this day, I’m going to watch Winnie the Pooh!

When Christopher was little, he once asked me to write a book of useful things. I’ve been thinking about this concept a lot lately and decided that this is the project that I wanted to spend my time on. I’m going to share a few with you today.

  1. Hurt people hurt people.
  2. Kindness counts. You won’t like everyone you meet, nor will they like you, but be kind. You never know what someone else is going through.
  3. If you don’t have anything nice to say… Find something nice to say. Bless someone with your words or your actions. You can’t take back unkind words, but you will never regret being nice.
  4. Surround yourself with good friends. Good friends are friends who that cheer you on and encourage you. They are friends you can laugh and cry with.
  5. Decide for yourself what is “cool” and don’t like the world dictate it for you. Be a person who doesn’t go with the “cool” crowd. Talk to the kid at lunch who is lonely. Respect your teachers. Listen and follow your parents rules. Some kids think it’s “cool” to drink, smoke, vape, have sex, and do tik tok challeneges-no matter the cost. These things are not “cool” they are destructive and can lead you down a dangerous path.
  6. A good friend won’t ask you to do stupid things.
  7. Some people get upset more easily than others. The good news, is that you can decide to control your emotions instead of letting your emotions control you. (This takes work).
  8. Don’t be peer pressured. Not everyone else does “it.” “It” won’t make you look cool. People who peer pressure you aren’t concerned with your well being. Be confident in who you are and don’t fall for that line of thinking.
  9. This world has bullies. Don’t be one. Be courageous in the face of a bully. Stand up to them if you can. If you can’t-get help. Don’t let people target you or push you around. You deserve better!
  10. Actions have consequences. If they don’t, then you are missing out on growth opportunities. We all make mistakes. But if we don’t learn from them, they are for nothing. We can’t learn and grow properly if our actions don’t have consequences.
  11. Don’t judge a book by its cover. Similarly-don’t judge people by their appearance. That kid in the hallway may not have money for new clothes, likewise that kid across the hallway may be wearing designed clothes from head to toe. Get to know the person and don’t make assumptions based on how they look. Along the same lines-we were all made different. Our eyes, hair, skin tone. Some people are tall, some are short. Some have big noses. Some have long chins. Some have wide foreheads. Some have big feet. Some have crooked teeth. Some are overweight. Some are underweight. Some people are perfectly proportionate. Some people have invisible disorders or diseases that you wouldn’t know by looking at them. Everyone has something at some point they don’t like about themselves. Don’t judge people based on their appearance and don’t talk about how people look-they already know!
  12. Look up at the stars. We don’t look up often enough. So just look and be amazed. This is a good reminded of how small we are in this big, wide world.

As I reflect on this list that I’m making, I think of the life experience I needed to have in order to be able to write these things. And yet, I’m not perfect, nor will I ever be, nor will anyone else. We were not made to be perfect. Only Jesus was made to be perfect and that is excellent news. A life of perfection is impossible in this broken world. Do you have a personal relationship with God? If not, maybe today is the day to surrender yourself to the one who made you and loves you.