Simplify: Let My Words Be Few
I have to be honest. I hesitate to even write on this particular topic because I feel like I am such a failure at 'letting my words be few'. Holding my tongue. Taking a moment to think before I speak. Practicing silence.
How about you? Am I in the vast majority or a minority? Moving a bit out of town has definitely helped to simplify our lives and afford more time for reflection. See our story of our pursuit of simple. Our drives are longer in and out of town which provide more time to think. We have to keep up with the acreage which means walking it, mowing it, etc. Being outside and noticing nature is always good medicine for decreasing the chatter too. Also as silly as it sounds, having spotty internet has encouraged more time devoted to embracing the stillness and silence that brings such refreshing and reward.
In my quest to make my words fewer this new year, I'd like to share a few benefits that come with practicing the discipline of silence.
Relationship. One of the great benefits of holding the tongue is stepping back and giving others the time to speak. Actually listening more than speaking. This is probably the hardest for me. I get 'inspired' and so excited to share what's in my head that it's just hard to hold it in. Before the other person finishes their thought I've blurted in and destroyed what they were trying to say. When I take time to listen and make my words fewer I find that my friends, my children and my spouse actually have such interesting things to say. Their words are beautiful and bring me such better understanding of who they are. I see that my deliberate effort to listen more than speak builds our relationship. They trust me with their words. They want me to hear them and know them. And...when I speak, if my words are fewer, they in turn might actually listen to the ones I do speak.
My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry. James 1:19
Reflection. When I allow time to stop the chatter, one of the first things that happens to me is that I become keenly aware of 'me'. I begin to reflect upon things that might not be sitting right in my heart, in my relationships, and in my soul and spirit. I begin some much needed introspection. Scripture is clear that we are to take time to reflect and let God search our hearts. It's a personal 'housekeeping' of sorts. Giving myself time to take an inventory of the things I need to change, confess, or make right with others keeps my life freed of the clutter that comes from storing up things like bitterness, guilt, or even bad habits.
Search me, O God, and know my heart; Try me and know my anxious thoughts; And see if there be any hurtful way in me, And lead me in the everlasting way. Psalm 139:23
Reverence. One thing that is missing, in my opinion, from our culture today is reverence. Reverence according to Webster's Dictionary is 'honor or respect that is felt for or shown to (someone or something)'. Some synonyms for reverence are admiration, adoration, and awe. When is the last time you stood in awe of something or someone. As Christians, we are told to stand in awe of God. Even in church services I find myself socializing so much that I often leave never actually experiencing a single moment of standing in reverent awe for my God and Creator. I find the best way to experience this reverence is to simply be still. In today's culture this is truly a discipline. To carve away time to be still--to stop movement. This could look like arriving to worship services a few minutes early before all the music and conversations start. This could look like waking up before the kids and sitting on the back porch with a cup of coffee and watching the sunrise in silence. Whatever it is and whatever it takes, it is worth it.
"Cease striving and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth" The LORD of hosts is with us; The God of Jacob is our stronghold. Selah. Psalm 46:10
May you experience the blessings and benefits of letting words be fewer and in turn seeing relationship, reflection, and reverence grow greater.