I hope I’m not becoming a talker. I’m sure you’ve met people who you can sit down with for any length of time and you quickly see that they can have a conversation with anyone and escape can be difficult. Before long they might even be having a conversation all by themselves while you are plotting a polite exit route and thinking about a million things that have nothing to do with the words floating in the air. Often, I realize I can’t even understand them anymore. They are suddenly speaking an entirely different language referencing things that clearly interest them, but have no meaning or value to me. I sit there nodding along, faking a smile, trying so hard to be a patient and Godly woman and praying they don’t find me callous.
I’ve never been good at making conversation so in part I’m thankful for the talkers of the world. I think this comes from my mixed heritage. My mother is a talker. My father is one of the quietest men on the planet. Together, they made me, a strange concoction of timidity and passion. I may not be able to start a conversation but if you get me going, look out! I can talk a person’s ear off and not realize I’m doing it until I recognize the blank stare forming on their face and I can read the thoughts behind their eyes saying, “Good Lord, how do I make it stop!”
It doesn’t help that I have an opinion about everything. I feel very strongly about what I believe and this passion can sometimes become a myriad of soapbox appearances that others can find amusing or annoying or a mixture of both.
Over the past few months, I’ve made a commitment to work on controlling my mouth a little better. The tongue can be an unruly little booger. I hate those moments when I say something and I instantly feel like I shouldn’t have said a word. I know that a wise woman considers the words she’s about to inflict on the earth around her before she speaks. I want to be a wise woman.
Proverbs 15:1-4 “A soft answer turns away wrath, But a harsh word stirs up anger. The tongue of the wise uses knowledge rightly, but the mouth of fools pours forth foolishness. The eyes of the Lord are in every place, keeping watch on the evil and the good. A wholesome tongue is a tree of life, but perverseness in it breaks the spirit.”
Scripture is very clear about how much of a mess we can make with our mouths. Proverbs 18:21 “Death and life are in the power of the tongue.” I feel like this verse is often taken completely out of context and abused, but that’s a soapbox for another day. If you read the verses preceding this scripture, it’s speaking about offenses and strife. It can be so easy for us to say something that would offend someone or sow strife and animosity. This can cause others to fall into a spiritual state of emergency. Taming our tongue is important for us, for others and for our spiritual health.
James 3:2-11 “If anyone does not stumble in word, he is a perfect man, able also to bridle the whole body. Indeed, we put bits in horses’ mouths that they may obey us, and we turn their whole body. Look also at ships: although they are so large and are driven by fierce winds, they are turned by a very small rudder wherever the pilot desires. Even so the tongue is a little member and boasts great things. See how great a forest a little fire kindles! And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity. The tongue is so set among our members that it defiles the whole body, and sets on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire by hell. For every kind of beast and bird, of reptile and creature of the sea, is tamed and has been tamed by mankind. But no man can tame the tongue. It is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison. With it we bless our God and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in the similitude of God. Out of the same mouth proceed blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not to be so. Does a spring send forth fresh water and bitter from the same opening?”
Lord, let the words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart be acceptable to you. Let me learn to be quiet when I should. Help me to bite my tongue when anything unruly tries to take control. Help me to think of the effect my words have on others and be a woman of wisdom and self-control.