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How many of you have ever been told this? “Just stop your yakking!” I have. Over the course of my forty years, I have developed quite the fondness for talking. Some people have even told me that I may, on occasion, talk too much. Ouch! My mom said that when I was really little, I would be talking to her at a super fast rate and suddenly stop. When she’d prompt me to continue with my story, I would reply, “Well, Mommy, I’m thinking of what else I need to say.” When I was in kindergarten, my mom went into the classroom for back to school night. Looking around at all the other student’s desks, which were so lovingly decorated and topped with classwork and projects, she was unable to find my desk. Puzzled, she asked my teacher where my desk was. The teacher chuckled and led her to the door and pointed outside to the hallway, where a single desk was pushed against the hallway wall. “That’s your daughter’s desk. No matter where I put her in the classroom, or no matter who I put her next to, she just would not stop talking.” Sure, it’s funny now. But, back then, my mom wasn’t thrilled with the news. My senior year in high school, I was up for Most Talkative in the end of high school polls. I was sad to find out I lost by two points. However, I was happy to see it was one of my close friends who won. See? It’s no joke, I like to talk and I am good at it.
At times, though, my love of talking has gotten me in trouble. Just look at what happened to me in kindergarten. In high school, I was known for my witty, but often sharp tongue. My friends knew that I loved them, but if I got mad, well, pity the fool, you would know it. That same witty and sharp tongue that could spew angry words at school to my friends, would seriously get me in trouble at home. I was a good kid, I really was. But, I was a mouthy kid and I absolutely had to have the last word, especially with my parents and more often than not, my poor mom. As an adult, I’ve used words as weapon in anger towards my husband and my kids.
While talking for me can be awesome, my words being tools of encouragement and love to my Lord, to my family and to others, there is a downside. I am quite impulsive by nature and as a result, my words have caused hurt to those same people. Imagine my delight when Proverbs 31 Ministries announced their new study a month or so ago called, “Keep It Shut: What To Say, When To Say It and When To Say Nothing At All,” based on the book with the same name by Karen Ehman. “Sign me up and sign me up now!!” was my basic first thought, lol.
I am only half way through the book and the study, but I just had to share something for you to think about from what I have read so far. I wanted to share now, because I really don’t think that I am alone in this battle with my words. It is a battle too, ladies, make no mistake! Satan loves to take whatever is good and use it against us. He is there, cheering us on in those moments when we unwisely choose to use our words the wrong way. This book is a fabulous tool to read and to take to heart. Take a look at some thoughts from Karen.
In Chapter 1, she references Luke 6:45, which says, “The good man brings good things out of the good of his heart, and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For out of the overflow of his heart, his mouth speaks.” It should be noted, that this is Jesus speaking. What Karen says is, that according to this verse, every word we speak, is purposeful and intentional, having first originated in your heart. So, if you have a mouth problem, in actuality, what you really have is a mind and heart issue. OUCH!! She went on to say that the truth is, our words are never accidental.
To be sure, she said, there are times we utter careless words but even those words are first formed in our minds, filtered to our hearts and then given permission to come out of our lips. So, in our quest to use our words in ways that are good and honor God, we must first consider the heart and mind from which they come.
Wow, that can really give a girl something to think about, huh? And if you go back to where Jesus says, “For the overflow of his heart, his mouth speaks,” well, there’s just no arguing with Jesus now, is there?
This really bothered me when I read it. When I read it, I could feel myself become defensive and angry. There are times that I have blurted things out to a loved one or times my kids have blurted things out to me, that we all have immediately regretted or not meant to say. We immediately apologize or ask forgiveness. We don’t want to hurt people intentionally. Yet, right there in black and white, Karen Ehman said we did. Jesus even vouched for her. I didn’t want to believe that my words, flung out in anger, carelessly said in the heat of the moment, were ringing with truth. No, I didn’t mean it. Yet, according to this, I did. I did mean them, I just didn’t mean to say them aloud. My words, our words, are rooted in our hearts before they reach our lips.
Thank goodness for grace!
So, how can we help our hearts, so that when what’s in them, comes out through our mouths with words of encouragement and love instead of words that are sharp and hurtful? Karen touches on it in Chapter 4: Zip It and Pray. We need to pray friends, and pray all the time and make it a daily priority. We need to surround ourselves with like-minded people: “Don’t be misled, bad company corrupts good character,” 1 Corinthians 15:33. We need to watch our intake through books, movies, music, tv, etc. We need to be in His Word. All the time, every day.
These are some great words of advice. I am sure that when we do these things, we allow our hearts and minds to be more open to the guidance of God’s Holy Spirit. When we are filled with His Word, Satan gets afraid and backs off. When we are filled with His Spirit, everything we do, and say, will reflect Him.
I could write a lot more of insight I am learning from Karen’s book, but you really need to go and grab a copy of this book yourself. It is that good. Karen does a fantastic job of encouraging and teaching you to how use your words wisely and when to speak them. I can not do her book justice, you need to read it on your own! You can grab it here.
And ladies, don’t forget, when your words get you in trouble or when you can’t seem to stop yakking, take a deep breath and remember, He’s got your back!