Depth Through Discipline, Part 3: The Final Word on Silence
Yesterday, I talked a lot. I mean A LOT-A LOT. I went to my kids’ school and had no less than six decent conversations in the course of a few hours. If you count the three books I read to the 2nd grade class, I basically talked the entire time I was on the school property.
That’s not counting all the conversations I had with my kids, my husband, and our project manager at the new house before and after I left the school.
I strained my throat from all the talking.
Not kidding. My throat actually hurt.
Because I’ve been focusing on the Discipline of Silence this month, I had this nagging voice in the back of my mind all day long, through every conversation. It simply said, “Shut. Up. Sandy.”
You’d think by the end of this month, I would have learned to temper this tongue more effectively. While I’ve made a lot of progress (just being aware of how much I talk has been enlightening) I still have so far to go. And despite the nagging voice in my head urging me to shut up, I still felt compelled to talk to anyone and everyone who engaged me in conversation.
At the end of the day and the month, it all felt a lot less like connection and a lot more like failure.
It bothered me a lot. I realize I’m trying to undo 40-something years of speech patterns in 30 days, but I just thought I would have made more progress by now. Instead of finishing off the month with silence, solitude and depth, I finish it with strained vocal chords.
At the end of the long (and talkative!) day, I took my sore throat and wounded self-confidence, and we all crawled into bed to read. I opened my book and, to my surprise and delight, saw this:
“It is good to talk. Do not be ashamed of it. Talk is the exercise ground for writing. It is a way we learn about communication—what makes people interested, what makes them bored…Talk is a way to warm up for the big game—the hours you write alone with your pen and notebook.”
~Natalie Goldberg, Writing Down the Bones: Freeing the Writer Within
I was NOT expecting to read that. I guess that means that, like everything else in life, it all comes down to balance.
Yes, I probably talk a little (a lot!) too much. Yes, it is good to listen more than I speak and filter my words with God’s Word. No, I do not need to share every thought that pops into my brain, even if I think it’s funny or insightful.
But talking to humans helps me write well. Who knew?
Turns out, I enjoy good conversations. I love to make people laugh. I love to talk about family, and God and priorities. I have a lot of stories, and I really enjoy telling them.
And I also love to write.
(I also love to burst out in random song lyrics. And while this tendency does not aid my writing, it does embarrass my kids, which is something I value as a parent, so I will not be stopping this any time soon.)
As I reflect over the last few years, it is true: Most great conversations I have had eventually became blog posts or Bible study illustrations. Talking (disciplined, God-filtered talking) does enhance the texture and tone of my writing.
It’s not either/or. It’s both/and.
That doesn’t sound like failure. That sounds like insight. Growth. Depth.
Exactly what I hoped for this month, after all.
God gave you that gift of speech for a good reason. Please don’t stop talking. My introverted self loves listening. 😉
I just found your blog a couple days ago and can’t stop reading. You have made me laugh out loud, cry and say amen sister more than any blog I’ve ever read. Your frank style is refreshing and I don’t doubt it comes from your gift of speech. So embrace who you are my sweet sister in Christ! You are exactly who you are supposed to be. <3
By the way breaking out in song is completely normal no matter what our teenagers say. 😉
Your comment made me cry. No kidding.
I don’t always think of my talking as a “gift.” Sometimes it feels like a curse. But after this month, I feel like I’ve got a clearer picture of what I need to work on and what I need to embrace.
I’m so glad you found my blog. Thank you for taking the time to read and to let me know you are here. Comments like this make my day and give me incentive to keep writing and publishing. Thank you so much!!!
Aww I didn’t mean to make you cry…((hugs)) I hope it was a cleansing and happy cry.
Oh but it is a gift! The world needs talkers. We need people who will speak up and give voice to God’s whispers. I am a quiet, as I mentioned, introvert. I wish I could feel so confident speaking to people. I know that is not who I was made to be though and I am okay with it now. My gift comes in listening to the talkers of the world. 😉 And oh how I enjoy listening! I learn so much. It is where I am in my element. I can give back best when I let the talkers speak and I support them. So I hope in some way I have supported you and helped you embrace what I truly believe is your gift. Yes, you may see ways you need to work on it but don’t ever view it negatively again. View it instead as polishing a precious stone. All angles are beautiful some just shine better when polished a little. =)
BTW, I just popped over to your blog and it’s adorable. I wanted to be you FIRST COMMENT, but you don’t have them enabled? I get it, if you don’t.
Anyway, I’ll leave one here to let you know I totally relate to getting burned out on the multiple blog idea. I used to have a separate fitness blog and it was just too much. I decided, like you, that I wanted to blog about everything in one place.
Looking forward to reading more. 🙂
Thank you for the compliments on my website. 🙂 I haven’t decided if I want to open comments or not yet. I keep going back and forth on that. In the past comments on my old blogs were wonderful but so time consuming to deal with the spammy side. I really need to make a decision on this though.
I am at this place in life where I need to simplify and when I closed the other sites the freedom I felt left me knowing I made the right decision. I’m glad to hear someone else who understands multiple blogs are draining. Luckily we are ushering in a new age it seems where you don’t have to be a niche blog and people are okay with that. It is a good thing. 🙂
I’ve gone back and forth on the comment thing, too. The one thing I really LOVE about blogs is the instant feedback. When I read something compelling, I like to respond and always feel a little frustration when I can’t. I also really enjoy reading people’s reactions to what I write. I have a good spam filter that catches most of the junk, so those aren’t an issue for me like they were when I was on Blogger for the first 5 years. Plus, so few people actually comment these days, it’s not a burden (for me, at least) to read through and respond. You will make a good decision about this. You know what works best for you, your schedule and your readers. You can always add them, and then remove them later if it gets to be too much. That’s the nice thing about having your own blog…you make the rules. 🙂
Thank you for sharing your thoughts. You gave me some good things to think on. Like the fact that I can always add or remove them at any time.
Could you tell me what you are using for your spam filter?
I have a WordPress blog. I use Jetpack (which has a spam filter) and also Askimet. It catches almost everything. I also have my comment settings to where I have to moderate comments from anyone who has never had a previously approved comment. So, every couple days, I get a comment in my moderation folder that ends up being spam. But that’s no big deal to me.
I believe that I would enjoy a conversation with you very much. I’m sure that everyone you spoke to was glad for the chat. Otherwise, they would not have engaged you. Balance and moderation are once again key elements. You’ve got this.
Lori, I hope we DO get to have that conversation one day. 🙂
Sandy, I do declare, I have enjoyed this blog series MORE THAN ANY, EVER! hehe! You’ve obviously been serious in your pursuit of this discipline and I appreciate your sharing what you’ve learned with us. The correlating scriptures are eye-opening and empowering. And, It’s great that you’ve brought it all back to BALANCE! Jesus was a storyteller (parables) and a teacher so consider yourself Christ-like! The woman at the well had her life changed by a conversation with Him! If we can only begin with love (motivation) and end with love (filtered words – see Part 2!) then we can achieve Proverbs 25:11 “A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold In settings of silver.” Keep Preachin’ sista! It’s just gettin’ gooder!
Jean, thank you for reminding me that Jesus was a storyteller! That is a great point. Your encouragement spurs me onward! I love you.