Put a Lid On It

 (Beginning August 1, the content of my blog will be completely different from the Girlfriends in God devotions. So if you are not signed up for my blog at www.localhost/sjold, please do it today…and invite all your friends. We’re going to have more give-a-ways, more personal interaction, and more inspiration than ever before! Now, on to today’s story!)

“… tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts. Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark,” (James 3:5 NIV).

From the time I could hold a crayon in my chubby little hand, I’ve enjoyed creating various works of art. For my family and friends, my annual endeavors usually found their way under the Christmas tree and into their hands. One year it was macramé hanging plant holders, woven with wooden beads. Another, it was a menagerie of decoupage wooden boxes. Then there were the years of framed cross-stitch, ceramic Nativity sets, and quilted pig and chicken pillows.

When I was 17, it was the year of the candle. Everyone from Grandma Edwards to my best girlfriends received praying hands candles. For weeks I slaved over a hot stove, stirring melted wax, meticulously centering the ten-inch wicks, and then slowly pouring the red, green, or yellow molten material into an inverted mold in the shape of praying hands. When the wax hardened, I burped the rubber mold and plopped the hands onto the counter. My kitchen looked like a prostheses laboratory with hands littering the counters.

I was just cooking up my last batch of wax when the doorbell rang. I was having so much fun that I had forgotten the time. I had a date at 7:30, and here I was in pink curlers and a paraffin-covered sweatshirt. I rushed through the kitchen, leaped over my dad, who had fallen asleep on the den floor in front of the television, and threw open the door.

“Hi, Jim. Come on in,” I said, out of breath. “I’m not ready.”

“So I noticed,” he said with a grin.

“I was cooking candles and lost track of time.”

“You were what?”

“Oh, never mind. Just come on in and have a seat on the couch. I’ll be ready in a minute.”

I dashed to my room to change clothes, take out the curlers and run a brush through my hair, swipe mascara through my lashes, and place a hint of gloss on my lips. Jim sat uncomfortably on the sofa, listening to my dad snore and Jackie Gleason yell at Ralph Kramden.

After about 15 minutes Jim smelled something burning from the kitchen. He didn’t want to call me for fear of waking up my dad. (Teenage boys don’t like to wake up their date’s dad if they can help it.) Instead, he tiptoed into the kitchen and discovered a pot on the stove with flames shooting up about 18 inches in the air.

Sleeping dad or no sleeping dad, Jim yelled, “Sharon! Whatever you were cooking is on fire!”

“Oh my goodness!” I exclaimed. “I forgot to turn off the stove!”

Just as I burst into the kitchen, Jim threw a cup of water into the flaming wax. Rather than extinguish the flames, the fire exploded upward. The flames shot up the wall, across the ceiling, and down the other side of the room.

Our screams alerted my father, who woke to see his baby girl standing in a room surrounded by flames. With the agility of Superman, Dad sprang to his feet, ran to the kitchen faster than a speeding bullet, grabbed the lid of the pot, and clamped it down on the source of the flames. Just as quickly as the fire had erupted, it seemed to recede back into the pot like a genie returning to his bottle.

This all happened in a matter of seconds. We stood in the middle of the room like three stunned deer. I never did tell my dad that it was Jim who threw the water on the burning wax. Teenage boys have two strikes against them just by walking through the doors to pick up a man’s baby girl.

After the shock of the incident wore off, I had time to reflect on the speed at which the flames blazed around the room, the feeling of fire licking against my skin, the terrifying sound the fire made.

It made me think about my words and how easily they can explode and singe those around me. I saw and understood the destructive power of our words and the speed at which that destruction can spread. But you know what else I learned? I learned just how easy it is to stop the blaze…put a lid on it. As soon as my father placed a lid on the pot and removed the flames’ source of oxygen, the fire went out.

And so it is with our words. God gave us two ears and one mouth. Therefore, we need to spend more time listening and less time talking. And when we get ready to speak those words that have the potential to start a fire…what do we need to do? Put a lid on it. That’s right. Zip the lip.

Here’s an idea. Get a pot lid and place it on the kitchen counter as a reminder to “put a lid” on any destructive words that might try to slip past those pretty lips of your today.

Just for fun, send me a picture of you pot lid on the counter and I’ll post it! Or if you’re not tech savvy with posting pics, simply leave  me a comment that you did it.

Want More?

If you’d like to learn more about how to control your tongue, check out my book, The Power of a Woman’s Words. It is a life changer! And if you are looking for a new Bible study for your women’s group, this one has been a big hit in churches everywhere. It also has an accompanying Bible study guide and a DVD. You can find both on my website.

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31 Responses to Put a Lid On It

  1. Mariana King July 9, 2013 at 11:26 am #

    I put my red lid on the counter 🙂 Thank You for being the vessel GOD uses to get through to me !!!!

  2. Cathy B July 9, 2013 at 11:28 am #

    I put a lid on it today. I love the visual of the pot lid. I also enjoyed the story very much and could relate to how my words could start a raging fire if I fail to keep a lid on it.
    Thanks for your story.
    Cathy B

  3. Kim Brillhart July 9, 2013 at 11:53 am #

    I’m fasting and praying for 3 days and you just gave me another reason! To put a lid on it! Amen!

  4. Nanci Martin July 9, 2013 at 12:07 pm #

    Thanks for “putting a lid on it”.I needed that today. Love Nanci

  5. Roxanne July 9, 2013 at 12:12 pm #

    Hi Sharon,
    I read your book many years ago about the power of words. It impacts me to this day. I pray daily that God guides me in this area…my meditation Psalm is “May the meditation of my mind and the words from my mouth be pleasing in your sight oh LORD, my Rock and my Redeemer.” I like your red pot picture… It reminds me of my mothers famous red pot! Everything she cooks in it is good! Lord, I pray my words will be like that red pot!

  6. Nancy Beneteau July 9, 2013 at 12:19 pm #

    I just emailed a picture of my pot with a lid. I do my best but sometimes my mouth can work faster than my brain and words come out that maybe I should have zipped up.
    Thanks for today’s reminder.
    and I can picture the wax splatter along with the fire. I once blew a candle so hard I had purple wax up my newly painted wall
    Have a great day Sharon and all my Sister in Christ!
    Nancy

  7. Lynn July 9, 2013 at 12:36 pm #

    Sharon,

    Thank you so much for the wonderful Bible study! I love the metaphor of a lid stopping the source of a flame. Even when we mess up, we can apologize, then shut our mouth until we have more productive or honoring words to say.
    Have a wonderful day!

  8. Sally July 9, 2013 at 1:20 pm #

    I love this! Such a great illustration, especially in light of the fact I had a stove fire a few weeks ago. I did remember to “put a lid on it,” but I forgot to turn the eye of the stove off, so the flame shot up each time I took the lid off. Moral of my story? I got a picture of what happens when you don’t remove the fuel that causes the flame of the tongue to re-ignite!

  9. Regina Templeman July 9, 2013 at 1:38 pm #

    Great Devo, thanks for the great reminder on just how hurtful our words can be. God Bless

    Regina

  10. Lavon July 9, 2013 at 1:50 pm #

    Hi Sharon!
    I love this vision of “put a lid on it”! I’m going to take an old lid and paint “Put A Lid On It” at the top, and the scripture of Psalm 19:14 along the bottom half. It will make a cute wall hanging in my kitchen. Thanks for the great devotion and an idea for a wonderful craft project too! Have a blessed day! Lavon

  11. Terri July 9, 2013 at 2:17 pm #

    we put the large, clear lid from our electric fry pan on the counter….

  12. c.moore July 9, 2013 at 4:03 pm #

    Hey Sharon,

    Loved the visual of “put a lid on it”…I had been under conviction for something that came out of mouth while visiting with a friend….I repented. After reading your post for today, I went into the kitchen digging out the biggest lid I could find (for my big mouth). Loved the red one your posted, as I viewed it the word “danger” flashed before my mind’s eye. Thank you for addressing everyday life issues.
    “Let the words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart be acceptable in your sight, LORD.”

  13. Stacey July 9, 2013 at 4:15 pm #

    I love reading your stories so much. I can relate to all of them. I ‘am going to put a lid on it today for sure! God Bless….

  14. Eleanor Biehl July 9, 2013 at 4:50 pm #

    I have tried two times to order “Listening to God Day by Day” and can’t do it. The message says I have to select a different debit or credit card. I only have the one I’ve submitted and still cannot get past your system. I use this card for everything. Is your devotional in a Christian book store? Thank you, Eleanor Biehl

  15. Brenda Salcido July 9, 2013 at 4:50 pm #

    I drew a picture of a lid and taped it to the dash of my vehicle. That I where I have problems with my mouth a lot of times. It is a good reminder. Some one borrowed my vehicle and laughed asking what that was all about.

  16. Sheree Link July 9, 2013 at 4:55 pm #

    Put a lid on it is excellent! However, I would like to hear some ways that my fellow GinG have handled the situations when “I” / “You” are the receiving end of those words that singe our very being. Yes, we can put a lid on it but how do you handle receiving?

  17. Tammy July 9, 2013 at 4:58 pm #

    WOW! This gives whole new meaning to “put a lid on it”. This really hit home to me as I am working hard to control my tongue which tends to quickly lash out like a whip. The visual you gave is perfect – the flames of our tongue singe those we lash out upon, whether they deserve it or not. Really, whether they deserve it or not is not my decision. I should only speak words which glorify God, lift up my brothers and sisters and show kindness and love. Hmm… two revelations today. Praise Jesus!!!!! As another reader said above, “Thank you, Sharon, for being the vessel GOD uses to speak to me!”

  18. Sharon July 9, 2013 at 5:14 pm #

    Thanks for the great message and other’s responding to God’s shoulder tap. It reminds me that emails, texts and posts can hurt equally, sometimes more, as the receiver can’t see the sender. No matter how hard I try to articilate things, the passion of the moment risks misunderstanding.. So before hitting send I’m learning to wait, a struggle at times, and allowi the Holy Spirit to take care of delivery – either mine or the situation’s. Sometimes I am the only reader – saves adding fuel to.the fire and gives me peace.

  19. Sharon July 9, 2013 at 5:18 pm #

    Moderator – sorry about the typos in my previous message – small cell phone screen – another reason to wait before hitting send… lol. Please correct them if you can.

  20. Diane July 9, 2013 at 5:47 pm #

    POW! Right on the noggin! I really needed this. I recently opened my mouth about something to someone about something that offended me without thought to how it hurt the others involved. I’m realizing I do this more than I care to admit. I need to really pray about this.

    I put the BIGGEST lid I have on the counter.

  21. Jeannette July 9, 2013 at 8:51 pm #

    What a great analogy! Thanks.

  22. carola cordova July 9, 2013 at 8:55 pm #

    gracias po recordae se uque el poder de nuestras palabras son totatel y le pido dia a dia a dios que me ayude a controlar mi lengua

  23. Marlene July 9, 2013 at 10:03 pm #

    Sooooooooooooooo what I needed to read. :):):) Thank you. I will defintely share this with my daughters and friends. And YES I will put a pot out as a reminder. God is Good :):):) Another character defect brought ti light :):):) Yupper !!!! my God Wink for the Day !!!!!
    God bless you and all the lives you touch.

  24. Pam July 9, 2013 at 11:29 pm #

    Thank u for the reminder, I have a lid on my counter for a reminder to watch my words… The wax fire happened to me once , while I had a room full of cub scouts making candles for their moms for Christmas.. I put water on it also, then my brain kicked in & I put the lid on the pot… It was a wonderful time & the boys learned a lot of what not to do… Some of them have let me know that I was the best den mother they ever had… That was over 30 yrs ago… I will keep the lid on the counter for a long time to come… God bless u…..

  25. Betty July 10, 2013 at 12:41 am #

    I need to put a lid on my lips……thank you

  26. Julia R July 10, 2013 at 11:33 am #

    WOW … this really hit home for me!! I am constantly losing my cool with my kids … I yell and then I feel terrible about it … I really needed this today!! I put my lid on the counter but I also printed out your photo of the red pot & lid and posted it several places in my home. THANKS!!!!

  27. Karen July 10, 2013 at 3:24 pm #

    Wish I had brought a lid to work with me today!! I read this last night and truly have meditated on this all morning. We have our own business, so that means I work with my husband. I have already blown it today. I truly believe the tongue is the hardest thing to control, especially when I know I am right. I am prayfully going to try and hold my tongue the rest of the day. Thanks for this reminder.

  28. Sallee Bonham July 10, 2013 at 3:30 pm #

    Thanks for the picture that your words created for me. It is so hard to keep such a small part of the body, from causing a big fire. (sigh)
    Bill, my husband, says,” Don’t get hung by your tongue.” lol…lol

  29. cindy July 14, 2013 at 3:24 am #

    I needed to hear that will do to remind me.think I need duct tape as well,seem to say the wrong thing too often,love your illustrations of how our lives can change for the better.

  30. Lorraine July 22, 2013 at 5:19 pm #

    Hello and thank you for that story and illustration of the lid. We are going over Chapter 7 tonight and I am going to place a pot with a lid on the table. I think I will ask the girls to write something they want to stop saying and we will place those words in our pot then put a lid on it. Maybe I will have then take turns to get the full effect. Thank you for your study.
    God bless you from the home study group in Hesperia.

  31. Rebecca September 9, 2013 at 6:56 am #

    I am reading this devtion a little behind your schedule – but exactly when God intended me to! I homeschool my litlte ones and therefore must be VERY careful with my words. Thank you so much, am putting a pot lid on my counter AND in our classroom today! 🙂

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