So what's wrong with talking too much? Is there even such a thing as "talking too much?" Isn't being talkative a good thing? Hmm.
Here we go again. I have to admit that at times I talk too much. It's not even so much that I'm a naturally talkative person. It's just that on some instances, in some subjects, and with some people...I say too much. I think I have much to say, good stuff to say, and I let it all out! Ready or not!
But the Bible tells us in Proverbs 10:19
When there are many words,
transgression is unavoidable,
But he who restrains
his lips is wise.
I've come across many a woman who has boasted in her penchant for wordiness. "That's just who I am," I've heard them say, "I just speak what's on my mind!" Well, that's not necessarily a good thing. In fact, it's definitely not a godly virtue.
Instead the Bible teaches us to measure our words carefully, to be slow to speak and quicker to listen, to speak only that which is profitable to the hearer, and to always speak wisely. I'd say the Bible leans on the side of teaching us to be women of fewer words rather than women of many words.
That's not to say that we should never speak or that there aren't times when we should even "speak up!" But even when it's "our time" to speak, as it was Queen Esther's "time" to speak in Esther 4:14, we are best off to choose our words carefully and let our few words speak volumes rather than our many words saying the same thing over and over again.
So how does one become a woman of few, but meaningful words?
How to Resist the Urge to...Talk Too Much
First of all, meditate on and even memorize Psalm 19:14:
Let the words of my mouth
and the meditation of my heart
be acceptable in Thy sight,
O Lord, my rock and my Redeemer.
Next, as you mediate on this biblical prayer, pray something like this:
Lord, I want only to speak those things which glorify and honor You, and edify other people. Help me choose my words carefully, weigh them in light of the circumstance and my audience, speak them with kindness and respect, and make them few and choice. Show me when I am rattling on and on. I do not want to be known as a woman of too many words. And I know I do not need to speak every thought that crosses my mind. Give me a holy filter so that I do not say things which do not need to be spoken.
Finally, here are a few practical suggestions founded on biblical precepts:
- In any conversation, make it your goal to listen more than you speak. See James 1:19.
- Practice shortening your own portion of the conversation by limiting yourself to just a certain small number of sentences before you turn the conversation back over to the other person. For instance, you might decide you will only speak three sentences and then listen to the other person, giving them their full opportunity to speak.
- Choose to ask the other person questions about themselves and give them ample time to answer. Get used to the feel of listening. It's definitely an acquired habit. See Ecclesiastes 3:7, which says there is a time to speak and a time to keep silent.
- Think before you speak! Really. Sit and think before you open your mouth.
- Remind yourself daily that not every thought that enters your mind needs to exit your mouth. See the mistake of Job 10:1.
- Ask a friend or your spouse to keep you accountable to any new talking patterns you aspire to. For instance, you might ask you friend if she has noticed you listening more or talking less? Be willing to accept constructive criticism.
- Aim to become that woman that everyone leans in to hear when she does speak, rather than the woman who everyone shuts out because she talks too much! Think of that old commercial that said, "When E.F. Hutton speaks, people listen!"
- Choose to keep at least one opinion to yourself each day, especially when everything in you wants to share it with everyone. See it as a secret between me, myself and I.
Do you struggle with talking too much, sharing too many opinions? Or have you gained a bit of victory in this area? I'd love to know how you keep your lips zipped when they'd rather flap!
Labels: communication, How to Resist the Urge, relationships, What's in Your Pack, wisdom