Seven Ways to let Your Words be Few…

cojq6xju0vAs I sit listening to my friend/family member pour their heart out, I am tempted.  My fleshly thoughts rile up as I burn at the sound of injustice in their life and I want to spout out words of solidarity, that add fuel to the fire.

My thoughts try to overthrow the peaceful voice in my heart that says, “Let your words be few and listen to me.”

You know it’s the spirit of the living G-d when you go from passionately filled anger to a peaceful resolve, that I could never think of on my own.

I have seen a lot of heartache in my short time here on earth. Nothing has gotten me into more trouble than my mouth. Sometimes we use them to comfort, while others it becomes our weapon of choice.

The more I study the Bible or listen to speakers, it is spoken time and time again to be careful with your words.  James 3:4-5 (NLT) says:

” And a small rudder makes a huge ship turn wherever the pilot chooses to go, even though the winds are strong. In the same way, the tongue is a small thing that makes grand speeches.

But a tiny spark can set a great forest on fire.”

Sure, we all love it when someone wants to come to us for our advice, but the truth is, we are mere mortals who make mistakes too.  What works for me, may not work for another.  What may have been my saving grace, may be another’s poison.

I love to communicate. Sometimes I realize I have been talking nonstop for ten or fifteen minutes (or let’s be honest, maybe longer..) to realize that I have not only made my point, but probably created a crater.

The very words I meant to help bring relief, may accidentally bring disaster.

Prayer and scripture really should be our first line of offense and defense.  G-d tends to show up in unique ways for us all. Many are answered by prayer with patience.

However, I too fall for the temptation of an instantaneous answer. I have searched for help from others hoping to get an answer that will make my problem go away.

I do believe G-d, at times sends us to search for someone that can help us. We can find wisdom from those who have experienced the very  crisis that we find ourselves in or a trained counselor.

Some of the wisest people I have ever met were great listeners and slow responders.  They are humble enough to admit when they don’t have the answers. They speak with great care. They speak truth with love, and often get straight to the point.

Most people aren’t coming for advice, but rather just to be heard. Sometimes there is no fixing that can be done by the power of our suggestion.

I am learning with each conversation that G-d allows me to be a part of, is the reminder to let my words be few (still learning..).  Let the Lord lead the conversation and just because you have a thought in your head doesn’t mean G-d put it there. We have to very careful to be slow to speak.

I think this world has become a place of over-communicating.  Be it our politicians, media, or just plain everyday interactions, everyone wants to spout out their opinions. After all, it’s only words, right?

How many people are ending their relationships because of those words? How many have been permanently scarred by the words of others?  Or worse, end their life because of them…

What if we all just listened more, and spoke less?

Some of the wisest people I have met, tend to be the ones that speak only when necessary.

Here’s what I have learned  from studying and my own personal experiences:

  1. Pray for wisdom.
  2. Listen to what they have to say without trying to solve their issues.
  3. When speaking, let your words be few.  If it is G-d led, it will be straight to the point.
  4. Don’t focus on trying to fix the person or their problems.
  5. Be a friend and be honest.  Don’t give advice that you know nothing about. Tell them if you haven’t had a similar situation and be honest if you don’t know the true answer.
  6. Pray together. When we don’t have the answers (which is a good chunk of the time), we know that we send up our petitions to the one who knows it all.
  7. Be a safe place.  Be honorable and don’t share information unless it is a true emergency.

When someone approaches me now to share their heart, I know what they share is sacred and that they trust me. We need to be careful not to let our feelings lead the conversation.

As James 1:19 (ESV) says,

“Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, and slow to be angry.”

As much as I want to help, I have learned casually handing out advice can be damaging if it isn’t the right time. We must never think of ourselves as wise. We must ask ourselves, is the scripture based? Prayer led? Or just my own opinion?

Proverbs 17:28 (NLT) says:

“Even fools are thought wise if they keep silent, and discerning if they hold their tongues.

Our words have power.

Let our words speak life.

Let our words be few…

 

 

 

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Dear Perfection, it’s time to break up.

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Photographed by Mark Nickerson

I wanted to write a fancy post on how to overcome that feeling of utter defeat.  I had it all wrapped up with a beautiful bow. It was straight from my heart and I meant every word that I said.

Then, life happened…

I can’t post it today or I would be a fraud.

Yep, today stinks. It has been one of those, I want to go back to bed and pretend this never happened kind of day.

It wasn’t anything specific; in fact it’s probably the tail end of the winter blahs and mounting pressure from not leaving the house enough thus rousing a case of cabin fever.

And if you could peek in my house right now, here is what would see:

I’ve just changed from one pair of leisure pants/leggings to another, because let’s face it, we aren’t going anywhere fancy!  The homeschool hair that had been so beautifully tamed by my outstanding friend/beautician, now has taken its rightful place in the”I haven’t slept in days,” look.

The kids are looking at me and I see their mouths moving a mile a minute but my brain is just too tired to care.

I don’t care that she didn’t eat her meat.

I don’t care that he stole your pencil.

I don’t care that you can’t find the cat.

Scratch that.

Back peddle.

What?

What happened to the cat?

Oh. Okay. You didn’t shut the back door tight enough, and he could wander out.

Of course.

Have you ever seen a firecracker? (Stay with me here. This should hopefully all make sense by the end)  You know, it’s small and not really all that interesting to look at.  But then you casually light the fuse thinking some pretty sparkles might come out of the deal and… KABOOM!!!

Well yes there were flames and sparkles. But everything near the firecracker is torched!

It was my late grandfather’s nickname for me.

“Firecracker.”

(Yep, I earned it too!)

When I was little our friends joked, I was so small that when I rode a Chihuahua, my feet didn’t drag.

We little ones have to be scrappy.  We look like easy bait, but just like a pepper, the smaller the size, the more potent the heat.

“You just picked the wrong pepper mister!”

Who am I yelling at?

Well, when I get down to it, I am mad at myself.

I think women are under more pressure than ever.  We are expected to do it all and look good while we are at it.

However we weren’t meant to do it all.  One hundred years ago, women were just concerned about trying to survive.  They were fighting for the right for equality and just being able to support their families.

Now we have to look spectacular while doing it.

Can we do that with just one or two tasks?  Sure!

Three or four? Probably.

Five or six? Okay, now but you are pushing it.

Seven or eight? No. NO!

On top of that we are supposed to be in shape like Wonder Woman and have our make-up  perfectly applied.

It is not going to happen.

I realized a couple of days ago, I am a perfectionist-aholic wannabe (If I was healthier and richer maybe I could pull it off?)

I realized I am in bondage. Bondage that only I have created.

My husband supports me, I have a beautiful family, and great friends. There is a difference between wanting to do stuff and being able to do stuff. My body has been through a lot these past five years and I need to give it the grace, I so willingly give to others that I refuse to give myself.

So I can’t multi-task like I used to.  So my mind wants to be at every function, but then my body abruptly stops and says, “No way Jose’!”

It’s not a reflection of my character, it’s just a flaw in body.

I can only do so much, and that’s okay.

I wear my heart on my sleeve. My house gets messy. My kids fight. I sometimes blow up. I sometimes don’t get done half of what I thought I should.

And that’s okay!

We are all doing the best that we can, and that should be enough. I am not a machine like the media-tells me I should be. Talk about double messages.  Food commercial followed by a weight lost commercial.  Food commercial, followed by a weight loss commercial….

Really??  So I am encouraged to eat, then I’m shamed for it!?

Plus the make-up commercials spouting, “Do you want to look years younger?”

I have earned every line on my face. These lines show I care!! Not only that, they show I care about others and not just myself.

I have heard of women not smiling just to prevent laugh lines. But I need a good gut-busting laugh and I love to smile!  Life is too short not to smile!

So I am throwing away my dreams of perfection.  I am tired of trying in vain to do something that just isn’t necessary.

It’s okay to say no.

It’s okay to not be put together.

It’s okay to let things slide in order to enjoy life a little more.

It’s okay that we are marching to the beat of our own drum.

There is no how-to, because we are just going to throw our lists out the window!

So who is with me? Let’s chuck our “perfection” into the fire and just enjoy life again.

Who cares what others think. I am running my own race. I am here to help in anyway that I can, but I can’t be perfect.

Ahh, I feel better.

Messy.

But better.

So goodbye perfection.

You look nice, but you aren’t worth it.