Want to hear a secret?? (too bad...I don't do that anymore)

I started back at school today. We didn't have kids in the classroom, just meetings and our Open House this evening. Five of my eleven kids showed up, which was exactly how many I guessed would be there. All of the parents I talked to were nice, and I'm excited to get started with the new kids. The beginning of school is like pulling off a band-aid...excruciating as you get ready to do it, but not so bad once you just rip it off. Huh?? Haha. What I mean is that during the build up all I can do is mourn summer, but once the kids start coming in I'm excited.

Another good thing today was getting to see some of my "alumni". I love seeing the kiddos who've been in my class in the past. I was really close to a lot of them because I had many of them for two years in a row. This class is the first First Grade class I haven't had as kindergarteners, too. It's a little sad. I really enjoy getting to spend two years with the kids (most of them, anyway. Haha) and being able to build relationships with them and their families. My former students aren't the only ones hugging me in the halls. I got quite a few hugs from parents, as well. Nice. :)

All of the above is basically to say that we started school today...AND thus I was back with my friends and colleagues again. In my walk to become a better Christian (and my exploration of what that means), one of the things I have come to realize is how UNChristian it is to gossip...and so I'm trying to stop that habit. Of course, when you work with people, and especially when you work with a bunch of women, a large percentage of the conversation is gossip.

I will readily admit that I LOVE to gossip. I'm not a malicious person, and I don't spread rumors to hurt others or make them look bad, BUT I like to hear about what's going on. And I like to talk about people, so eliminating gossip is a real challenge for me. I also know, though, that gossip can hurt others.

It's a struggle to quit, let me tell you. Not least of the reasons is that fact that now I'm constantly thinking, Is this gossip? Is this OK to say? There were times today when I just stayed quiet in conversation, and there were other times when, rather than feed into a negative conversation about a person, I said something more positive about them. And I'm sure there were times when I slipped. As my friend tells me often, "It's a process." :)

I was thinking about writing about the gossip issue as I drove home tonight, and when I checked my email this evening, the topic of today's daily devotion, by Melanie Chitwood from http://www.proverbs31.org, was gossip. She speaks on a friend of hers who has been a good example regarding gossip. Some quotes from there...
The second lesson about godly words from Debbie has been the way she talks about her husband and her marriage. We’ve had many honest conversations about our marital challenges. Once again, Debbie has never gossiped about her husband. Even at times when she’s been angry or frustrated with her husband, she doesn’t berate him or share details that would embarrass him.

Finally, one of the keys to Debbie’s godly words is in the amount she speaks. She is neither overly quiet nor overly talkative. The words she says are wise and point me to God. Her example in the amount she speaks teaches me to ask myself: Do I really need to say anything in this situation, or do I just want to hear myself talk?

That last sentence is a good one for me. I think that I often talk to hear myself talk. I joke that it takes me three sentences to tell something that could be said in four words, and there are times that I am thinking more about what I'm going to say next rather than really listening to the person who talks.

So, once again, God is providing me with information and encouragement on something that I'm working on to get closer to what He wants me to be. I really want to focus on avoiding gossip and not getting sucked into negative talk and attitudes about others. I'm going to use this devotion to help me focus on what TO do as well as what NOT to do.

Below are the verses she highlighted from the Bible which deal with gossip.

“Tell the older women to behave as those who love the Lord should.
They must not gossip about others or be slaves of wine.
They must teach what is proper.” Titus 2:3 (CEV)

Teach what is proper...set a good example for those around me. Rob Singleton recently blogged an interesting take on gossip, the way it feeds on itself, and not being a person who fuels it.

Proverbs 6:16, 19, “There are six things which the Lord hates … a false witness who utters lies, and one who spreads strife among brothers.” (NAS)

Mmm..."spreads strife among brothers"...that hits home. While I don't lie, I have been known to grouse and gossip to family members about other family members, particularly when the things I'm discussing aren't very flattering. I've been working for a while to stop this.

Proverbs 13:3, “Careful words make for a careful life; careless talk may ruin everything.” (Message)


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