It was a normally quiet evening on day nine of quarantine. The family planned a bike ride to the town Starbucks, and since we don’t live in town it’s a ten mile round trip for us. I love it because it’s another way to get some exercise in and get the kids out of the house for a bit.
As we got closer, I thought I should order our drinks on the app. I didn’t want to show up and have to wait in a long line. Even if they weren’t allowing people into the store to sit, we could run and grab them quickly.
As we got closer to the parking lot, I saw cars in the drive-thru line that wrapped around the other stores and made its way down the street. I looked over at my husband and gave him the, “Yeah, I got you” look, as I threw up my peace signs and gave him the gangster smirk.
“Hey! Their door is locked!”
I looked over and my niece was off her bike and yanking on the Starbucks door handle. My smirk quickly faded into a frown and we all put the brakes on our bikes.
“Let’s just wait in the drive-thru line,” my husband said as he gave me the “nice try” look.
We didn’t mind. There were nine of us to keep each other company and we thought we were pretty clever waiting for our drinks while sitting on our bikes in the drive thru line.
I quickly uploaded my selfie of the whole family in line onto my Instagram stories.
And that’s when it happened! The mean Starbucks lady came out and ruined our fun.
“You can’t be in the drive-thru line on your bikes,” she yelled.
“Then what do you want us to do” my brother asked. “We used the app for our order.”
“Bring your car. We’re already stressed out enough as it is.”
She was stressed alright! She had coffee stains on her shirt, a messy bun (but not the cute kind you see on Pinterest and YouTube channels), and a scowl etched on her face like the artist of Mount Rushmore had just finished his job before grabbing a coffee.
I had zero patience with this. “We already paid for our drinks. What do you expect us to do? No one told us this was store policy. How were we supposed to know?”
I mean, I could go on, but you get it.
My husband kept saying, “Babe? Babe? Babe?” What he was really saying was, “Please calm down. You’re making a bigger deal out of this than you need to.”
She went in and got our drinks. She brought them out with the same scowl on her face and unhappily gave us our drinks after she gave one last reprieve about us going through the line.
So, I decided to say in my best and snippiest of voices, “Yeah, now that we know we’ll do it next time.”
And as we rode away, I realized my opportunity to make a difference in someone’s life rode away too. I fed the fire. I stoked the stress. My words weren’t profane but they were dirty.
If I’m honest, it’s been hard lately.
I try really hard to control my emotions because if I don’t they control my words. There’s a reason the Bible says, “Life and death are in the power of the tongue and those who love it will eat its fruit” (Prov 18:21).
We have the opportunity to bring fruitfulness with the words we speak. If I put myself in the woman’s shoes, I would have sympathized with her. I would have told her a kind word and thanked her for bringing our drinks to us. Maybe that would have changed her tone, her day, or reminded her that there are kind people in the world.
I read a lot of words on social media right now and I’m tired of it. The words do not make me feel better, lighter or less stressed. Instead, they make me want to delete Facebook from my life so I never have to read another opinion.
Do my words make people want to hit delete too?
Do your words come with a price?
Words are free. They cost us nothing. Or do they?
Words that edify, build up, and encourage others cost us nothing. In reality, we get a return from those kinds of words. The bible tells us we cannot fool ourselves because what we sew we will also reap.
When we sew words of life, we reap life. We reap life in friendships, marriage, family, and the impression we make with others.
But there are also times are words cost us. Words that kill demand a price. They can destroy reputations, friendships, marriages and all other relationships. Those are the ones that come so easy but cost more than we want to pay.
What’s at the heart of our words?
My middle son made a comment about my youngest the other day. It wasn’t nice at all. We were driving in the car and I looked at him in my rearview mirror and asked, “That wasn’t nice. Where does the Bible say our words come from?”
He tried to hide a smile and said, “From our heart.”
Jesus told His disciples that out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. Our words give us away. They reveal what our hearts are made of. When we speak life, the words of truth and life are in our hearts. When we speak evil, evil is revealed in us.
We need the words of God to transform our hearts so He can transform our speech.
I want to challenge you today to evaluate your heart and your relationships. What are they made of? What are you putting in your heart so that your words reflect them?
Out words either costs us or bring fruit into our lives. Words are powerful and they truly guide the course of our lives and our relationships.
For more on this topic, listen to “7 Ways Our Tongue Destroys Our Relationships” here. This is a wonderful and insightful episode that will help put this into perspective for you.