If you follow me on Instagram, you know that I have an awesome friend, Courtney Dimmitt, who creates #WriteTheWord challenges to help us in our walk with the Lord. For the month of May, I participated in her #GospelNotGossip write-the-Word challenge, and I absolutely needed it.
When I first started this plan, I honestly wanted help to stop gossiping. It’s a behavior I struggle with and I knew I needed to get to the heart of the matter. I needed God to work on me. I’ve done a lot of reflection the last few years over why I struggle with gossip. Here’s what I’ve come up with:
- I love story. I’m an avid reader and gossip is a form of storytelling.
- I am nosey. I like to know what’s up with everyone I know. It makes me feel connected to them even when I can’t be with them.
- I like constant stimulation. I can see the effects of being a technology addict. It’s hard to be still and slow down. My brain seeks to be fed new information constantly.
That’s me. When looking over the first two reasons, they aren’t bad qualities. So upon further reflection, I realized that there is a fine line between storytelling and gossip.
Gossip is negative. It includes comparison and character judgments that we as human beings should not discuss among ourselves. It can easily become mean and dirty. It involves a heart of malice, jealousy, anger, and competition. It’s about feeling better about myself while making someone else seem less than I am.
Storytelling on the other hand, is sharing someone’s story that they have authored, that they approved being shared. For example, a testimony. A testimony shares how God has redeemed a person through their trials. However, even that can become gossipy with the wrong heart condition. Storytelling in the right heart condition glorifies God for the teller, the subject and the listener.
When in doubt, don’t share. It’s that simple–though easier said than done. If you feel the need to tell someone, tell God. He already knows and He’d rather you work out your feelings and heart with Him. With open communication, He can change your heart. That’s what I’m doing these days. I journal it all out to Him. I get it off my chest and try to move on with His help.
God truly convicted me in this area through these verses. He directed me to specific people and situations that I needed to bring to Him rather than take to other people. He made me reflect on this question, “Have you prayed about it as much as you’ve talked about it?” He helped me see that I can rely on Him with this sin struggle. He helped me see that when I take it to other people, I’m seeking comfort outside of Him. Comfort outside of God is futile and at most, temporary. I know this. I’ve lived this. Learn from my mistakes.
I began this challenge focused solely on gossip–hello, it’s the topic–but what surprised me is that it went beyond gossip. The verses I wrote each day also impacted my words in general. I became more self-aware of how the things I said in any situation could be perceived by my listeners and readers. It made me more intentional in an area that I often am thoughtless. I am the person who regularly puts her foot in her mouth. I don’t always think before I speak. I’m often surprised by the things that come out until I do some further reflecting–which often leads to a discovery of a heart problem that needs to be left at the feet of Jesus.
I loved how God met me each day with these verses. If you struggle with gossip, I highly recommend this write the Word challenge. I was surprised and how much I have seen God work on my heart in these 30 days. All glory to God who makes everything possible!
Did you participate in this challenge too? Let me know your reflections in the comments!
If you want to join me in June (can you believe it’s June 1st today????), I am participating in Courtney’s #AbideInHim challenge explained in her recent blog post. You can follow along with her on Instagram as well as with me. I simply write it on my prayer journal page. Some people journal it in their Bible, others get fancy with lettering. Do whatever works for you! Are you in? Let me know in the comments!