Monday, May 19, 2014

Eleven Times To Be Quiet

"Your beauty should not come from outward adornment,
such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes.
Rather, it should be that of your inner self,
the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, 
which is of great worth in God's sight."
I Peter 3:3,4
(NIV)
Emphasis mine


We women love to talk.
Don't we?
Over a steaming cup of coffee...
outside a quaint, little bistro...
gathered at our weekly Bible study...
on the phone...
sometimes to anyone who will listen.  :)
We pretty much have an opinion about anything and everything,
we feel a desperate, somewhat overpowering need to share it,
and we have earned our reputation for having the gift of gab.
I am a woman, so I can say these things.  :)

God made us the way we are.
He created us with an innate need to communicate.
Is there anything more frustrating to us than to pour out our hearts,
only to feel that no one is really listening?
Or more frustrating still, to voice our thoughts to an avid listener
who completely misinterprets what we are trying to say?

But, though we enjoy speaking our minds, and in spite of all of our efforts to communicate,
there are times when it is truly in our best interest and the best interest of others around us...
 to just be quiet.
To settle down and let someone else speak.
To manifest that meek, gentle, quiet spirit, "which is in the sight of God of great price."
To be the type of listener we want others to be.


Here's my list of eleven suggested times when it may be best to hold our peace. :)

#1.  When guidance is needed.
Elijah heard God's voice...
not in the wind...
not in the earthquake...
not in the fire...
but in "...a still small voice." I Kings 19:12 (KJV)
You can't hear that still, small voice, if you are surrounded by noise,
other voices,
or if you are doing all of the talking.


#2.  When an unkind word is on the tip of your tongue.
Hold that thought.
Don't speak it.
Be quiet.
I love the quote,
"By swallowing evil words unsaid, no one has ever harmed his stomach."
Author Unknown


#3.   When your husband needs to talk.
How precious that he comes to you to pour out his heart...
that you are the person he feels he can confide in!
What a gift!
Don't underestimate the power of a non-judging, listening ear and quiet lips.
He needs a soft place to fall.
Stop what you are doing.
Stop talking.
Give him all the time he needs.
He doesn't need to hear what you have to say right now.
He needs you to hear what is on his mind.
Be such a receptive, understanding listener that you
become the first person who comes to his mind when he needs to talk.
To earn that place...in his mind and heart....
to become his go-to person...his confidante...
is a true and precious gift and one of the highest compliments he could ever give.
Don't despise the moments he turns to you or ruin them by overriding his need to talk.
"Better to live on a corner of the roof than share a house with a quarrelsome wife."
Proverbs 21:9  (NIV)
"...the contentions of a wife are a continual dropping."  Proverbs 19:13  (KJV)

#4.  When your child needs to talk.
Another immeasurable gift...never to be esteemed lightly.
Let them know that what they need to say is the most important thing in the world to you.
When you are tempted to interrupt, don't.
This is way too important to them.


#5.  When you have just been wounded.
Once the email "send" button is released,
you can't reach into cyber space and return it to your drafts folder.
Once the letter is dropped in the post office box, you can't open the box and retrieve it.
Once the retaliatory word has been uttered, you can't take it back.
Once the mean-spirited glance has been noticed, you can't undo the deed.
Wait until you absorb the hurt, 
have time to pray about it,
and rein in carnally-minded reactions.
Until you can do that, do your utmost to be quiet.
"It is better to dwell in the wilderness, than with a contentious and an angry woman."
Proverbs 21:19 (KJV)


#6. When your child has just confessed a wrongdoing.
We have a rule in our house about disobedience.
If you do wrong, don't hide it.
Confess it.
Tell the truth.
No matter what.
If you do, you will be met with open understanding.
Kevin and I would much prefer that Zachary would maintain an honest, transparent relationship with us,
than for him to always do everything right.
We want him to always feel that he can tell us anything and everything he feels the need to.
No matter what he's done or how disappointing his behavior is to us,
we would rather him tell us the complete truth.
I have learned during these moments, that it is imperative that I be quiet.
That I let him completely empty his heart and conscience.
That I suspend judgment...and words...until he has nothing more to say.
The potential for bonding during moments like this is monumental,
and there will be plenty of time for talking after the listening part is over.


#7.  When you are praying.
Prayer is a two-way conversation.
There are things God needs to say.
Let Him speak.
Don't rush through it.
Allow the time for solitude.
There is no substitute for one-on-one communion with Him.
There is nothing in this world that is more precious.
To leave your place of prayer, without giving Him time and space to contribute to the conversation
robs you of the most important part.


#8.  On the heels of someone else's grievous words.  
"A soft answer turneth away wrath: but grievous words stir up anger."
Proverbs 15:1
Sometimes, complete silence speaks the loudest volumes
and is the softest answer you could possibly give.
It takes two to argue.


#9.   While being falsely accused.
I know, this one can be a bit hard to swallow...no pun intended.  :)
But, think about it.
God already knows the truth.
Rather than drain your energy trying to prove your point,
defend yourself,
and correct everyone else's perception,
why not rest in quietness and hand it over to God to handle?
He is willing to bear the brunt.
He is your Defender.
Your Advocate.
Your Father.
There is great peace that comes from surrendering the battle to Him,
allowing Him to take control,
and taking the humble route...quietly.
"For thus saith the Lord GOD, the Holy One of Israel;
In returning and rest shall ye be saved;
 in quietness and in confidence shall be your strength..."
Isaiah 30:15
I love this verse!


#10.  When it is necessary to remain neutral.
Have you ever found yourself on the threshold of being vacuumed in to the middle of a dispute...
not your own, but one that is happening between two other people?
Perhaps a married couple, or two co-workers, or two mutual friends?
There are endless scenarios, but the outcome is always pretty much the same.
If you get involved, if you speak....at all....
chances are, you are going to end up the bad guy in the end.
They will more than likely make up and make amends,
and, if you have sided with one of them...either of them...
you will be left on the outside in the aftermath of their dispute.
Ever been there?
It is not a pleasant or a comfortable place to be,
and what started out as none of your business turns into a personal problem.
It is best to just be quiet and politely recuse yourself from the case.
If you remain on neutral ground, out of the middle,
more often than not, you will end up still being friends with both parties when it is all over.


#11.  During a dead-end debate.
If you hold tightly to one opinion and the person you are talking to holds strongly to an opposing one,
it is best to just stop talking.
To continue to debate and express opposing opinions will wear you out,
run you raggedly in circles,
and end both of you up back where you started at square one.
It is unedifying and exhausting to keep re-hashing the same argument.




(To read #1 in this series, entitled "Eleven Ways To Bless Your Husband", click here.
To read #2 in this series, entitled, "Eleven De-Cluttering & Organizing Tips", click here.
To read #3 in this series, entitled "Eleven Steps To A Stronger, Happier Marriage", click here.
To read #4 in this series, entitled, "Eleven Things To Remember During Infertility", click here.
To read #5 in this series, entitled, "Eleven Ways To Make Your Home More Peaceful", click here.
To read #6 in this series, entitled, "Eleven Ways To Be More Frugal, click here.
To read #7 in this series, entitled, "Eleven Steps To Inner Peace", click here.)



31 comments:

  1. All these points are so good. Getting my mind quiet enough to listen to God is something I'm working on. And the last picture is so true. May my life always speak louder than my lips.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I know how you feel. I believe the enemy tries his hardest to keep us from that one-on-one communion with our dear Lord. he knows that is where we draw our strength. So thankful you stopped by today, Pamela. God bless!

      Delete
  2. Just yesterday, #2 and #4 were laid at my doorstep. I had a difficult discussion with a friend, as I had been very hurt by something they did. At one point, my hurt felt like anger, and there was a push within me to lash out. I didn't, and I'm glad. For truly, sometimes our words become a "bell that cannot be un-rung" - and we are left with regret. I'm glad to say the conversation came to a peaceful and restorative ending.

    And, I called my oldest son about something, and he talked to me for quite a while about some frustrations at work. He and his brother own their own company, and sometimes it's a heavy responsibility. At the end, I said to him, "I wish there was something I could do." And he said, "That's OK, Mom, you can just listen. That helps a lot." Yup, when your 31 year old says that, it's golden.

    So, the Lord enabled me to keep my mouth quiet on two very important occasions yesterday, and I'm so glad. Let's hope today He does the same if needed!!

    GOD BLESS!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Wow, Sharon! Your words brought tears to my eyes. YES, that is indeed golden to hear your 31 year old son say such words! I am so sorry you were hurt and so thankful God gave you grace to hold back and allow Him to fight the battle and bring it to a peaceful conclusion. You are such a blessing to me...thank you so much for stopping by and for your dear comments. God bless you, too!

      Delete
  3. Wise words, Cheryl! The hardest for me is #9! It's so hard to let go when you're being falsely accused or misunderstood.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh, you are SO right! Keeping still in the midst of false accusation has to be one of the hardest things in the world. I have found, during some of the most painful experiences of my life, that God is faithful, and when I released the battle to Him, He has fought it valiantly, without me ever needing to say a word. God bless you, sweet friend....so happy you stopped by!! :)

      Delete
  4. Great words of wisdom you have shared Cheryl. I especially like that sometimes silence speaks the loudest volumes. Even as one who considers myself to be a quiet person, I find myself needing to be reminded that are moments it's better to keep my mouth shut.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you so much, dear Wanda! You have been...and are such a dear blessing to me. SO thankful God connected us on this Christian journey! Love to you, sweet sister.

      Delete
  5. Wow - this is so true. I am guilty of breaking most of these. Thank you for the reminder.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Rosilind! Have a great day...so happy you stopped by. :)

      Delete
  6. Oh Cheryl ... this is GOOD stuff! We too often fill the space with meaningless chatter, which is more about our own insecurities than encouraging others. Thank you for these words ...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you so much, Linda!! I so appreciate your kind words and encouragement. Thank you for stopping by...it was so nice to meet you. :)

      Delete
  7. Great Words! visiting you this week from Hazel's Tell Me A True Stroy blog hop. Shandra

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks so much for stopping by, Shandra! What a pretty name! God bless. :)

      Delete
  8. Cheryl....Real good list. Holding our tongues is definitely something we all struggle with. Yet remaining quiet at the right times can be the better route than speaking our minds. You gave great situations where it would be more productive to keep quiet. Thank you for sharing at Monday's Musings. Blessings.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you ever so much for stopping by and for your kind encouragement, Naomi. I so enjoy your weekly link-up and look forward to coming to your place every Monday! God bless you!!

      Delete
    2. Cheryl....I was so blessed, I tweeted and pinned your post. :-) Thank you again.

      Delete
  9. When all our girls and nieces get together (all grown ladies now) they all talk at once and for us older/sweet ones we smile and are quiet. I loved your 11 times to be quiet and I agree with them all. Thank you for sharing with us here at "Tell Me a Story."

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh, my! I remember being one of those girls in the midst of all the chatter! It is funny how time has a way of tempering us and quietening our spirit, isn't it? Not that I don't still love to get together with others and talk...but, hopefully, I have learned a bit about the value of silence along the way! :) God bless you, Hazel!

      Delete
  10. Hi Cheryl, Yes, it is a virtue to know when to speak and when to keep silent. Sometimes I can't tell the difference until it's too late, but then there's grace for that too. There is something so powerful about words chosen wisely and spoken at the right time, especially in our current culture. Visiting from Unforced Rhythms.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Great point, Kelly! Thank God for His amazing grace that is quick to cover our humanity. I loved what you said about the power of our words in our current culture. SO very true! God bless you for stopping by...I hope you'll return. :)

      Delete
  11. These are wise words Cheryl! Every single one of them! I tend to be a very passionate person and my constant prayer is to be that "quiet spirit"! One of my favorite sayings was at a friends house, "preach the gospel and if necessary use words".... Thank you for linking this excellent article up with us this week!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. YES! I love that saying, too. :) Our actions and daily lives speak such loud volumes and preach such powerful sermons, don't they? Oh, to BE a sermon that glorifies Jesus Christ and points all eyes to Him!! I SO appreciate you stopping by and leaving encouragement behind, JES! God bless you. :)

      Delete
  12. Cheryl, this was a timely read for me. The Lord has been softly speaking to me on the subject of listening all this week, and now here is your wonderful post with even more words of wisdom on the subject today. I think he has my full attention now. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh, Lyli! I am so thankful God confirmed this to you. May you find your strength in the quietness and the confidence you place in Him. So happy you stopped by...God bless you! :)

      Delete
  13. This is something I am continuously working on. I am a talker! Sometimes that is a good thing, but I pray that I will be quiet when God wants me to be.
    God bless you, Cheryl
    Chris

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I know what you mean...I don't know too many women who don't love to talk!! LOL!! Yes, it can surely be used as a positive tool, and then there are times God wants our silence, too...you are so right. God bless you and keep you in His care!! :)

      Delete
  14. So convicting and such good things to think about and put into practice! Thank you for this reminder and thank you for linking up at Made to Mother this week!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you for the link-up, and thank you for stopping by!! God bless you!

      Delete
  15. Thanks for sharing these 11 times to be quiet. I would have never thought of it this way. Have a wonderful week, Cheryl.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Judith! Hope you have a wonderful week, too. :)

      Delete