This time of year I drive multiple rental cars each month. Once I’ve adjusted the seat, mirrors, and air conditioning I reach for the radio. I’ve learned something basic (but significant) about tuning a radio: if I tune into one station, I can’t tune into another at the same time. This is especially true if the stations are at opposite ends of the dial.
This reminds me of my attempts to control my tongue. While I wish my heart was always dialed into the Holy Spirit, I find often I’m more tuned in to how people or situations are frustrating me.
If I chose to broadcast that frustration to others, it actually magnifies the problem. Far from “letting off steam,” venting builds up the pressure even more because I’m reminding myself (and any unfortunate listeners) of things that are unloving, sad, disturbing, impatient, unkind, bad, faithless, harsh, and self-indulgent. (Galatians 5.22-23 reversed)
There is a place for intentionally explaining my problems to someone who is in a position to help solve the problem or to help me know how to Biblically respond. Of course, solving problems may take away a major subject to speak about, but there are other stations worth broadcasting.
Lately, I’ve been wondering, when my family, friends, and co-workers “tune in” to the Esther-station via phone or face-to-face conversation, are they more likely to hear me vent about a frustration or hear me expressing gratitude?
If I focus on the good that God and others are up to, there are thousands of things I can broadcast that will build up both those who listen as well as build up those who are the topic of conversation.
I don’t think I’ve ever picked up a rental car that was broadcasting a station that I loved so much I kept the dial on that station. Nope. I have to intentionally change the dial to hunt for a station I want to listen to.
Here’s 3 ways I’m trying (with God’s help) to intentionally change the Esther-station.
- Focus on God in the morning through His Word. Not only does it help to read or listen to Scripture, but I like to journal about what God shows me of Himself. In the evening I like to use my journal to praise the Lord for specific things He has given.
- Write (AND SEND) a gratitude note to someone every week. Once I master this on the weekly level, I’d like to start doing it daily. I’m carrying around a thank you card and stamps in my planner so I have one at the ready. If I don’t send one during the week, Sunday afternoon is my time to make sure I’ve written and sent one. I’m working to keep a stack of thank you cards close to my desk and in my suit case.
- (This one may be the hardest, but it truly re-sets the heart.) Go to God and to the other people who have heard me complaining and asking them to forgive me. In fact, I want my friends to stop me if I start broadcasting crud again.
Those three are a great start—but I’m sure there are even more ideas. What has worked for you when it comes broadcasting from your gratitude channel?