Early in my faith walk, I was blessed to be taken in by a group of ladies who studied the Bible on a weekly basis. Their love for the Lord and His Word established a firm foundation for my infant faith.
We were studying together on a Tuesday morning when I first heard of the men of Issachar. It was during a Beth Moore study, though I don’t recall which one.
1 Chronicles 12:32 says the men of Issachar were men who “…understood the times and knew what Israel should do.” I marveled at that characteristic—knowing what to do, when—and I wanted it for myself.
In a moment, the concept dropped into the soil of my heart, but it didn’t actually sprout until much later.
I’m not a doctor but I occasionally try to act like one.
At least 10 years ago, I informally diagnosed myself with Attention Deficit Disorder and/or a significant lack of impulse control. More than once, my kids have said to me, “Mom, focus!”
I also recognize in myself a desire to be an information-distributor. As a writer, this can be a benefit. As a human in relationship, it can be a liability.
For far too long, my two “conditions” meant I received news, then I blurted it, with very little time passing between. I could wreck a party, a weekend, or a vacation in 10 seconds flat.
But God, in his infinite and omniscient goodness, did a work in me.
Over time, not only did He tend the men-of-Issachar seed inside me, he also nurtured his gift to me, the Fruits of the Spirit, specifically self-control.
And finally, there was fruit. I learned to wait until Monday to deliver difficult news. Why spoil a weekend? I disciplined myself to not reveal a disappointment during vacation. Why ruin our family’s once-a-year time away from our normal routine? When my husband travels for business, I rarely text him about a crisis on the home front. A thousand miles away, what can he do about it?
More often than not, hard news can wait.
Let your family enjoy the beach. Smile through a birthday party or Thanksgiving weekend. Wait until after your child takes final exams to drop a negative newsflash.
If you’re unsure whether to speak up or not, ask yourself these questions:
- Is there a better time to inform people of this situation?
- Am I definitely the person who should divulge these facts?
For all the lessons they taught me, I am grateful for the ladies of Bible study and the men of Issachar.