Put a Lid on It

Sharon JaynesGeneral Inspiration, Power of Words 89 Comments

From the time I could hold a crayon in my chubby little hand, I’ve enjoyed creating various “works of art.” Many of those masterpieces ended up under the Christmas trees for family and friends. One year it was macramé hanging plant holders. 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 (don’t laugh).

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

One night I was cooking up a fresh batch of hands when the doorbell rang. “Oh, my word!” I cried as I glanced at the clock on the oven. “Jim’s here!”

I was having so much fun waxing and wicking that I forgot the time. I had a date at 7:30, and here I was in pink hot 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.

I let my date in and dashed to my room to 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 father snore to the bantering of Jackie Gleason and Ralph Kramden. After about 15 minutes, Jim smelled something burning. He didn’t want to yell for me for fear of waking up my dad, so he tiptoed into the kitchen and discovered a pot sitting on the stove with flames shooting up about 18 inches in the air.

Sleeping dad or no sleeping dad, Jim called out. “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 wall on the opposite side of the room. Our screams woke my father to see his daughter standing in a room surrounded by flames. With the agility of Superman, Dad sprang to his feet and ran to the kitchen faster than a speeding bullet. He 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 receded 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 already have two strikes against them when they walk through the threshold to pick up a man’s baby girl.

After the shock wore off, I had time to reflect on the incident: the speed at which the flames blazed around the room, the feeling of fire licking against my skin, the terrifying sound of the flames. I also learned just how easy it was to stop the blaze. Simply put a lid on it.

Isn’t that the way with our words? We can quickly explode with fiery words, and the destruction spreads up one wall and down the other before we even know it. Solomon wrote, “For lack of wood the fire goes out, and where there is no whisperer, quarreling ceases” (Proverbs 26:20 ESV). In other words, 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. I love what Job said after God put him in his place for questioning his actions: “I will put my hand over my mouth” (Job 40:4). It’s interesting that my hand fits perfectly over my mouth. Go ahead and give it a try. I bet yours does too. Some of us may need two hands. That’s okay! Perhaps that was God’s intentional design!

Lord, thank You for my hand that fits perfectly over my mouth. Help me to use it more often. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Today, consider setting a pot lid on your kitchen counter as a reminder to “put a lid” on any words that want to escape from your mouth that you KNOW should stay in the pot. If you do it, post a picture over on my Facebook page. Just look for today’s post.

If you’ll commit to leaving a pot lid on your kitchen counter for 1 week, leave a comment and say, “I’m doing it!”

Looking for your next Bible study? Check out Sharon’s book and Study Guide, The Power of A Woman’s Words: How the Words You Say Shape the Lives of Others. Words are one of the most powerful forces in the universe, and God has entrusted them to you! They echo in hearts and minds long after they are spoken. How will we use this gift? Your words can change the course of someone’s day…even someone’s life. Learn how to

  • exchange careless words that hurt for intentional words that help others succeed
  • recognize words that tear down confidence and replace them with words that build others up
  • overcome the negativity that pushes people away and become a well of positivity that draws others in
  • tame your tongue by practicing practical principles that help you think before you speak
  • stop being disappointed in your lack of control by taking hold of the power of the Holy Spirit
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Comments 89

  1. Thanks for this. It is so important. My father used to say that words hurt. He was unkind in early days of his life but found the Lord later on and changed his words. My husband and I often have “fires” in our home. I’m praying more for us to speak softer to each other. The lid on the counter is a great reminder! I may hang one on my wall!

  2. Well, this is a timely devotional lol. I’m listening to this same book this week! The Lord has been pricking my spirit with my use of words, so I knew it was time to read it. The Bible has a tremendous amount to say on this subject! Thank you for bringing God’s Word to us over the years, Sharon. God has used you over the years to help me grow into the woman I am today.

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    1. Thank you for that Put a lI’d on it sounds great thanks Lorraine wow I learnt something today. Praise God Amen

  3. Hallelujah!!!! I am doing it!!! I was hurt, disappointed, but never even once tried to hurt back. And your message is the confirmation from God through you to keep doing it!!! No matter how deep the hurt & disappointments are I will keep to put the lid on the pot & let God take care of it.
    Thank you 🙏 & Gbu abundantly

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  4. Dear Sharon, Thank you for giving me solutions to a touchy situation. Something that really irritates me is hearing parents yell at their children; and, I mean a big man voice, berating a two year old. All weekend it’s been on my mind as to what I could have done or said. Your point-form suggestions have given me great ideas for ‘next time’.
    I praise God for guiding me to your comforting message today.

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    2. Abuse of any kind to the weakest lives, children, the elderly, even animals, is extremely disturbing to me as well. This devotional touched my heart and I will continue to look and pray for Godly ways to address these things.

  5. Glad to see you’re back on line! I have enjoyed and been spiritually blessed by GIG. Look forward to reading your devotionals! Thanks again, Karen Johnson

  6. As I was reading this, another way that our words relate to fire came to me…we can quench the fire of Holy Spirit with our irreverent words!

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  7. Last night & this morning I asked God for wisdom on how to respond to a family member who often rants endlessly. Knowing that I need to change my response rather than flaming their emotions. Thank you for this message. It was heaven sent.
    So often we pray for God to “fix” the other person when we just need to look in the mirror & pray for ourselves. I’m putting that pot with the lid on the counter. 😉

  8. Thank you Sharon. Yesterday I was gossiping about my daughter to another family member. Instead of rambling about her choices I need to just ask that person to pray for her instead, framing the request in words that please God. Putting a lid on my gossip or my reactions to situations by prayer is what’s needed. God bless you for using you to help me Sharon. In His love, Tammie Fisher.

  9. Thank you for this Rhema Word 🙌🏽🙌🏽🙌🏽 I Will Apply The Lid To My Life when it starts to get out of hand in my life. Life and death is in the power of the tongue THANK YOU

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    2. I have the exact same issue. I often get ranted at by a family member who seems to think it’s just fine to spew obscenities my way. I never know how to respond, and I am sure my response is never quite what it should be. However, putting the lid on it sounds perfect….and then, in the silence, I can be still and listen for God’s instruction.

  10. Good morning Sharon. Thank you for sharing. I truly needed this yesterday. I will strive to use it everyday. I pray the LORD will continue to richly bless you in every area of your life.

  11. Thank you !
    Pot lid is on the counter. I shared this with my husband so he will know why the lid is on the counter (otherwise he’d keep putting it away!)

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  12. Sharon. Right on the mark. Adversary always get people to hit where it hurts. I go up like in a dentist chair when a rotting tooth is probed. Before I know it words I can’t take back are out scorching the walls.This happened yesterday. It seems I take it for awhile then theres that little chip added to the pile and off I go. I want to please Jesus,maybe I need a gag instead of a lid. But He always lets me know He sees me and though He understands He wants me to have rewards that won’t burn up when I get home. It looks dicey at this point…but I feel blessed to know He loves me still. Thankyou for this devotional. I love you..Jan

  13. I’ve had a pot sitting on my counter for a couple of days. It’s a small roaster with a lid that was returned to me by my ex-husband. It was always my favorite roasting pan and I was mad that he kept it when we split up almost 10 years ago. He is moving again and “getting rid of things he doesn’t use”. His sister (who happens to be my BFF) is helping him pack and suggested he give the pan back to me since she found it stored on the top shelf in his kitchen. Admittedly, I had complained to her (but never to him) a number of times that I was angry that he kept most of the stainless cookware since he rarely cooks. All that to say that perhaps because I “kept a lid on it” (at least with him) he agreed to return the pot to me. I will keep the pot on my counter as a reminder to make sure that “words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart are pleasing to God.” Psalm 19:14. As fallible humans, we have a great desire to be right. Thankfully, I’ve learned over the years that just because something is true, does not mean I need to say the words just to prove I’m right. Often, that just stirs up strife and anger. I did call my ex and thank him for giving me the pot because words of gratitude are always worth speaking. He admitted he forgot he even had it and that he had never used it. I hope I will remember this devotion and “keep a lid” on any negative words every time I use my favorite little roaster. Blessings, Marilyn

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  14. Thank you for sharing I always enjoy your Devotions this is so true how many times we I speak before thinking Words are powerful.not always for the good may God continue to richly Bless you

  15. My Husband since I have known him, just shuts his mouth when we start to argue. He does it because he doesn’t like confrontation, but boy it sure irritated me and made my blood boil!
    The longer we have been together and now that I’m back on track w God, I’ve realized My husband had it right all along.
    Putting a lid on it squashed many arguments and the fire (whatever we were upset about) disappeared faster !!
    I still need to learn to put a lid on it ..lol
    I pray daily that God helps me to watch my mouth and my words..
    I may just have to tell my Husband , thank you for putting a lid on it 😆😊

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  16. Thank you Sharon for reminding me that the words I speak do make a difference. I will put a lid on my counter for one week as a reminder.

  17. Thanks for those words of encouragement .so true and do easy when we remember ..going to draw a little pan and lid to place on cupboard no room on benches.

  18. Thank you Sharon for sharing with us girls how to put a lid on. I will practice putting a lid on my pot (mouth) as so many times I regret pouring water on a fire that needs to be put out by putting a lid on. May God continue to bless and keep you

  19. Sharon, I read your book a while back and loved it! A friend called one day needing to talk because two friends told her they were taking a “ break” from their friendship with her. When she shared “her words” to them, I knew she needed your book. I gave it to her but asked her to return it. The same day she returned it saying she also loved it and had just bought her own copy of it. Your wisdom served us both well. You have a beautiful God given talent and we are blessed by your thoughts and words. Thank you!

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  20. I’ve never done this perfectly but maybe over the years I’ve been more careful. My late husband struggled with this problem, and the ramifications continue as someone mentioned it a few days ago. I tried to put a better spin on it but the fact remains that long after we’ve forgotten what we’ve said, others remember. My son in law recently told my daughter he can tell when I’m upset because I stop talking! Now in these days as a recent widow I need to put a lid on the negative thoughts and words I say to myself.

  21. Wow! Exactly what God has been trying to teach me! My husband has pancreatic cancer. He has been battling it for almost a year. We are near the of his treatment plan . Sometimes It’s so hard to keep my mouth shut. We will have a difference of opinion and boy it’s so hard to stay quiet, but I do because He is with me and helps me.

  22. I’m doing it! In the kitchen and in my car! My patience has lessened asI’ve gotten older, and I notice I’m quick to spark… I need a lid on it! With Gods help I’m going to do better!

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  23. I’m doing it! Have a difficult conversation at work tomorrow so this message is definitely for me! Thank you and God bless x

  24. I’m doing it. I also need one in my car. Some days my patience is non existent!
    This devotion was excellent. Thank you very much.

  25. Well, I was cooking dinner tonight and the hamburger caught on fire. I pulled it off the flames and it extinguished itself but it made me think immediately I need to read your words from today again. Obviously I needed to really listen to these words. Thank you. And thank God I didn’t burn the house down!

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  26. I’m doing it Sharon but I first need to tell you that your story was such a visual story describing the fire that I laughed out loud ! … but what a great message. Thank you!

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  27. I really am a believer but for a time now if you had heard me ‘talking’ to my husband you would probably wonder. The past too often is still the present for me….unforgiven? Probably. I truly thought I had forgiven but when something happened to remind me….all the hurt and anger were front stage again. I feel like I am reliving it all and my tongue is spewing out all the venom it can. I am so thankful for your story and am putting lids around my home to remind me that my tongue can be a messenger from the devil if I let it….but with God’s help and a lid as a reminder it can become a dove of peace. Thank you so much for helping me to realize all things are possible when God is in it even if it is a lid. God Bless….NK

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  28. After my 92 year old mother passed away, I found an old decorative metal pot lid that I had remembered from my childhood. It has had a permanent spot in my kitchen every since! Now I can attach the thought to put a lid on my words! Thanks💕🙏

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  29. Thank you. we do not realize sometimes until later in life that what we thought was normal was actually dysfunction. My husband’s family has taught me so much about conversation and soft words. This is a perfect idea to help us reflect on using the proper words and putting a lid on it.

  30. I just got off the phone from being rude & careless w my words to a customer service rep. So this was right on time! I’m putting the lid on my kitchen table (which is where I normally sit to work). Thanks Sharon for this timely devotional 🙂

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