Most of the people that have met me in the last decade wouldn't believe that I'm a potty-mouth, but those that "knew me when" could tell you stories I'm not proud of.
From 1989 - 2002, I spent a ton of time working with men and women in ambulance stations, fire houses and police stations. We might as well have been sailors, or dock workers, or truckers for terrible potty-mouths we all had.
Thinking back to those days makes me cringe with embarrassment over the foul language that poured so easily out of my mouth. It didn't help that my work environment was filled with people that did the same thing. We all had a serious potty-mouth problem.
One time at the fire house, as a group we decided to clean up our language. I'm not sure what prompted it, but we were all in.
Someone cut a hole in the top of a coffee can lid, then place the covered can in the middle of the kitchen table and called it the "swear jar." We were "fined" by each other whenever ever we used foul language.
Here's the breakdown:
- 25¢ for any naughty word all by itself
- $1.00 for the f-bomb preceeded by "mother"
- an additional 25¢ for each naughty word tacked on after that initial $1.00 f-bomb preceeded by "mother"
The can filled up quickly. After only two shifts, we decided to use the money in the can for a pizza party. Rewarding ourselves with the "fines" of our "punishment" didn't have the impact we were hoping for.
I never saw much change in anyone's behavior, including mine. I was a still a serious potty-mouth.
In 2003, all of that changed for good.
My oldest was an infant, I was pregnant with my youngest, and my spiritual life - my faith walk - was wrapped in turmoil; I knew I needed to change.
I'll tell the story another day of exactly how it all came about, but a neighbor and friend helped me understand the difference between a religion and a relationship with God.
In a matter of a few short weeks, I gave my life to Jesus Christ and became a born-again Christian.
I became a new creature in Christ. The old had passed away, and I was made clean again. It was the most important moment of my entire life. I finally understood the purpose and meaning of my life; to glorify and honor God with all that I do.
Being a potty-mouth did not give glory and honor to God. It was just a way of being brusque and "fitting in." I stopped being a potty-mouth in an instant. Mostly.
I still ocassionally slip. I know the words, I know their meanings and I know their "appropriate" uses. However, I make a conscious choice to not use those words.
Those moments of weakness are rare, but I have to guard my heart and my mind carefully, or else I will fall off the wagon completely.
Here's what I mean by that: there are great writers out there - bloggers, novelists, poets, etc. - that use foul language in their writings. As much as I've enjoyed reading some of their writings, I find I cannot read them consistently.
If there are potty-mouth words in the pieces I'm reading, and I read those pieces regularly, my brain starts to think that way. My brain's first reaction to any given situation is to use that language again, and I don't want to.
This must be what an addiction feels like. I cannot take one "drink" of that potty-mouth stuff, because I fall right back into "bingeing" it.
I fight hard to stay away from what I perceive to be a problem - using foul language - by not using it, not reading it, not hanging out with people or working with people where that language is consistently used.
That's my choice. What you choose to do is your choice - I'm not judging here.
I choose to follow God's lead on this and keep my language clean so that I don't ever have to go to a meeting and say, "Hi, my name's Marie, and I'm a potty-mouth," or worse, hear those potty-mouth words come from my children.
Ephesians 4:29 (CEB)
29 Don’t let any foul words come out of your mouth. Only say what is helpful when it is needed for building up the community so that it benefits those who hear what you say.
Matthew 12:36 (CEB)
36 I tell you that people will have to answer on Judgment Day for every useless word they speak.
James 1:26 (CEB)
26 If those who claim devotion to God don’t control what they say, they mislead themselves. Their devotion is worthless.
James 3:8-10 (CEB)
8 No one can tame the tongue, though. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison. 9 With it we both bless the Lord and Father and curse human beings made in God’s likeness.10 Blessing and cursing come from the same mouth. My brothers and sisters, it just shouldn’t be this way!
2 Corinthians 5:17 (CEB)
17 So then, if anyone is in Christ, that person is part of the new creation. The old things have gone away, and look, new things have arrived!
Are you a potty-mouth? Are you a recovering potty-mouth like me?
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