Everybody loves Adeline.
My third grader has always been my easiest child. She is sweet and smart, responsible and continually willing to help.
However, we always laugh because as sweet as she is, when she is over-tired and something happens that really upsets her, she will register her grievance about the present problem and then continue: “And by the way…” at which point she will launch into a lengthy tirade of complaints, going back years, to every possible injustice that she has ever endured in the history of her young life.
It is so completely out of her normal character that it is like watching an alien invasion.
All of a sudden, my mostly composed child is hot with anger, sobbing tears of misery while loudly expressing her feelings of neglect and unreasonable treatment.
“And by the way,” she will wail, “when I was four you made me eat three bites of salmon and you know I hate salmon.”
It is as predictable as it is hysterical to watch unfold.
It also tells us something about the condition of her heart- like all of ours, it needs some spiritual work.
In Luke 6:45, Jesus said: “A good person produces good out of the good stored up in his heart. An evil person produces evil out of the evil stored up in his heart, for his mouth speaks from the overflow of the heart.”
If you are like me, you have learned politeness. Most of the time, we keep our tongues under control. But its in those times of stress and/or exhaustion that we are squeezed so hard that what is really inside of us finally comes flowing out of our mouths. It’s often not pretty.
In those moments we don’t need to work to muster up better behavior, we need to confess the condition of our heart to God and ask the Holy Spirit to fill us with His gifts: patience, gentleness, self-control…so that what comes out the next time that life squeezes us sounds more like Jesus.