The Need To Vent

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This last Sunday my pastor spoke on the tongue.  This is not a new sermon or message to me - I've read through James many times, and it speaks pretty clearly about what kind of damage the tongue can do.
But unfortunately this is something that is all too easy to forget.

My pastor said something that stood out to me - he said the best indicator of spiritual maturity is the level of control a Christian has over their tongue.


I know I too often use my tongue to complain.  I too often use it to say negative comments about others.  

Something that I feel like the Lord was trying to tell me is that letting loose and "venting" is not a good thing (contrary to popular belief).  My perceived need to vent is not an excuse to tear others down with my words, but it's all too easy to excuse it - because don't we all just need to get our frustration out sometimes?

I know I'm not alone in this. How often do we say whatever we want and then justify it because we "just needed to vent"?  And it's not okay.  Nowhere in the Bible are we given a pass to say whatever we want when we are frustrated.

My next thought was that I'm not so bad, because I don't go venting to just anyone - I only vent to Derek or occasionally my mom, and I know they aren't going to repeat anything I say.  No harm done, right?

But that's not how God views it.  

In Numbers, an exchange between Miriam and Aaron is recorded, in which they complain about Moses.  They weren't complaining to the people or undermining his authority in a public way.  It was a private conversation.  They were just talking to each other about their frustrations.  They "just needed to vent".

But Someone was listening.  And He didn't like what He heard.

It doesn't matter if I'm only complaining to one person - that's enough for God.  And He hears everything.

I think it would be a much better thing to control my supposed need to vent, and take my frustrations with people or situations to the Lord.  When I vent to other people, I usually leave feeling justified in my frustration.  Speaking the word out loud to others somehow makes my feelings seem more valid in my own mind.  But when I take my frustrations and "vent" to God?  He usually shows me where my attitude is wrong and helps me to change it.

The end result of taking it to God is much better, and encourages me to grow spiritually (1) because I'm spending time with the Lord, and (2) because it is good practice at controlling my flesh and taming my tongue.

It is true that hearing someone vent doesn't exactly make you think "Wow, this person is really mature in their faith".  And that's because my pastor's words are true.  If you are spiritually mature, you will learn to hold your tongue.  More positive words will leave your lips than negative, even when the situation is frustrating.

I don't expect to ever be perfect at this.  But by God's grace, I hope to get better.  I needed that reminder on Sunday.


And on a completely frivolous note, here are more pictures of my new 'do!

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Happy Weekend!
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Anonymous said...

This was great! I think it's funny because I know when I start venting it usually begins with "I don't mean to sound rude..." or "I don't mean to sound mean, but I need to vent".

It's so true about what you said, tying our tongues to spiritual maturity. A very good thing to remember and I know I can always work on this (:

Unknown said...

Such a great reminder...thanks for sharing!

Felicia said...

Such a good reminder! It is so easy to just vent and say something negative, but even that can be hurtful because then the negativity is passed from one person to another. I definitely need to get better at that too.

Felicia said...

So true! Thanks for writing about this, I definitely need to get better at that. It sure is a good indicator of spiritual maturity, isn't it?

Felicia said...

PS Loving your new hair! Gorgeous ;)

Lauren said...

wow...such a great reminder. I honestly don't know if I've ever thought about venting in this way--and I can pretty much guarantee that most of my venting doesn't bring glory to God.

Brittany F said...

Thank you for this. I needed to hear it and honestly this has been on my heart lately so I'm so glad you posted about it. Also - you look fabulous!

Melanie said...

Fantastic post Callie! I'm bad to want to 'vent' to others when things arise in daily life..but I had never looked at it the way you said..its true.we should learn to take ALL things to God and not everyone else just so we feel justified! Thanks for the new insight! And love your hair too..looks great!

LeAnna said...

Ouch! Guilty! Gotta go lick my wounds, now. ;) So true about justification, sometimes we just want to hear someone tell us we're not crazy. Doesn't make it right.

Cute hair!

Natalie said...

Whew, definitely convicted. I try so hard not to gossip and 'vent', but I think the hardest one for me is with my husband. Or complaining as well. Its so easy to just get comfortable with our guys and tell them every thought going through our head, but like you said, nowhere in the Bible does God say that venting is ok. Thanks for the reminder! Love your new haircut-looks great on you!!

eliz said...

I read on another blog how they had a rule to never complain or talk negative about their husband (aka vent)....I feel like I really need help on that but it is in my priorities of a healthy marriage to really watch what I say. :-)

Jessica and Stephan said...

I think everyone can understand the need to vent. I fall into that trap too, and its something I've been working on for myself the past while.
Maybe still find a way to vent and get the frustration and anger out, but in a more positive way? For example, instead of talking about the person, do something physical to help clear your mind such as going for a walk, biking, exercising, playing a game with your babes, something that PHYSICALLY gets the mental frustration out, without you falling into the trap of venting about someone. Two birds with one stone!

and I love your new hair do, it looks fantastic, and I think very sophisticated :)

Meghan said...

THANK YOU for sharing this Callie. I needed to hear it and be reminded. I love your haircut! It looks great on you.

Rae said...

Good thoughts. Your blog has convicted me. I do the same thing....I also need to work on it.

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