(I wrote this on November 19, 2016)
Sometimes, I hear a man talk about how he can’t shut up about a girl. This is romantic because men generally keep their mouths shut unless they’re passionate about something — or when they’re trash talking someone. If they can’t shut up because they feel the need to discuss a girl’s multiple virtues, we’re impressed. But women don’t usually need a reason to talk, so when a girl can’t shut up about something, it’s usually not a big deal at all. In fact, loquacious people like me can make up a 30 minute discussion from a piece of loose thread on a t-shirt. We can just talk and talk. Now, I’m not saying that all girls are like this, but most of the women I’ve met in my lifetime can talk at least four times as much as a man without showing any signs of strain.
Of course, there is that occasional exception. I have a few friends who stay silent just about all day long until they have something to say. When I meet someone like this, I like to study them. They’re just fascinating to me — someone whose filter is so advanced that it catches just about every word before it comes out of their mouths is amazing. My filter is somewhat of a colander. In fact, it’s probably a lot more like a chain-link fence. When I say #teamnofilter, I’m not just a team member — I could be the president of the league.
So, knowing how much I like to speak, can you imagine how hard the experience of reading some of the most shocking passages of the Bible was for me? I’m not talking about the ones regarding a place of torment where the worm never dies. That was pretty scary. But way more relevant and terrifying to someone like me are verses like these:
Matthew 12:36-37 I tell you, on the day of judgment people will give account for every careless word they speak, For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.”
Proverbs 13:3 Whoever guards his mouth preserves his life; he who opens wide his lips comes to ruin.
Proverbs 10:19 When words are many, transgression is not lacking, but whoever restrains his lips is prudent.
Proverbs 6:2 If you are snared in the words of your mouth, caught in the words of your mouth…
1Corinthians 4:20 For the kingdom of God does not consist in talk but in power.
Proverbs 21:23 Whoever keeps his mouth and his tongue keeps himself out of trouble.
James 1:26 If anyone thinks he is religious and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his heart, this person’s religion is worthless.
James 3:2-12 And if anyone does not stumble in what he says, he is a perfect man, able also to bridle his whole body. If we put bits into the mouths of horses so that they obey us, we guide their whole bodies as well. Look at the ships also: though they are so large and are driven by strong winds, they are guided by a very small rudder wherever the will of the pilot directs. So also the tongue is a small member, yet it boasts of great things. How great a forest is set ablaze by such a small fire! …
Proverbs 29:20 Do you see a man who is hasty in his words? There is more hope for a fool than for him.
Proverbs 17:27-28 The one who has knowledge uses words with restraint, and whoever has understanding is even-tempered. Even fools are thought wise if they keep silent and discerning if they hold their tongues.
Psalms 141:3 Set a guard, O Lord, over my mouth; keep watch over the door of my lips!
Okay, I can shut up forever now. I’m so scared after reading this again that I’ve decided to cut out my tongue. I mean, how else can I restrain my words and keep from having my tongue set ablaze by the fires of hell? Just this morning, I used my tongue to argue with my husband, and we all know what life with a quarrelsome woman is like, don’t we? Oh, you don’t. Here’s some of it:
Following each quotation, I’ve added my notes based on what I can imagine the poor guy is thinking.
Proverbs 25:24 Better to live on a corner of the roof than share a house with a quarrelsome wife. (On the rooftop in a rainstorm)
Proverbs 27:15 A quarrelsome wife is like the dripping of a leaky roof in a rainstorm; (drip, drip, drip… stop that!)
Proverbs 21:19 It’s better to live alone in the desert than with a quarrelsome, complaining wife. (I’m literally longing for a sandstorm to drown out your words right now, and to gouge out my eyes so I don’t have to look at you.)
Oh, now, see that? The words got smaller and smaller. Life is just so stifling when the person you’re with hates you. I don’t know that from experience, thankfully, but I’ve felt unloved and hated. When I just imagined myself in that situation, it’s been impossibly difficult to smile. So, imagine this poor guy dealing with this day in and day out. Poor, poor thing. It’s a hard life. I think it’s probably easier to live with a quiet woman than with someone like me when I get going. And boy can I get going!
So, today I was writing to a friend about an issue that’s a struggle for me, too. I was encouraging a messie. My house isn’t sanitized or anything, but I’ve gotten to where a police investigator wouldn’t assume that my home was ransacked by criminals if he stepped inside. My house looks ordinarily messy, not disgusting. It’s an improvement that I’m very grateful to see.
So, my dear husband, whom I honestly love with all my heart, asks jokingly why I’m writing about that. And all my pent-up frustrations and fears came spewing out in under 10 minutes. Then, I must have made up stuff after that, because I wasn’t done yet. Poor guy. He thought he was being funny. I thought he was squashing me down into a neat little box where I could only talk about my successes like normal people.
That’s my main point. I am not normal. I have known that all my life. You see, no one else discussed their ability to go from happiness and peace to rage in under a heartbeat. No one else discussed their hoarding tendencies. No one else had a hard time wiping a dirty butt when their gorgeous little baby had spread it everywhere. I was the only one. Or so I thought. And then people like Joyce Meyer began to speak to my life. And I found my voice, too.
I discuss the hard parts. I talk about my failures. That bothers my husband. You see, he’s normal. He likes to keep his mouth shut unless he can speak from the position of authority. If he has mastered it, he can talk about it. Barbecuing is his language. Enjoying old cars is his topic. If he knows about it and can have a smile on his face while talking, that’s his subject material.
I weep about mine. I draw blood from my veins and pour them out onto the page. I mess up badly, and then I share about it. And this makes no sense to him. Of course not. But it does to me. So the poor guy is constantly staring at me as if I’ve grown another head. And I have no idea why he has to keep every single aspect of his life private. Who can learn that way? See? We’re at odds. But we love one another. We make great babies. We love our family. We can be different without contention. If I could just shut up, and if the 3 words he spoke to me each day could be devoid of sarcasm. We’ve got a long way to go.
Which is my point. I can’t seem to shut up. I can’t shut up. It’s not about seeming. It’s a fact. I’ve decided that if I am seriously messed up because of my nonstop talking, I need to maximize the good I do. So I’m going to keep sharing things that are embarrassing. I’m going to keep airing my failures and discussing my faults. I’m going to hope that someone can receive a blessing from all these stories. Because if not, then I’m a talker that will accomplish nothing with this multitude of words. And I hate waste.
When you can’t shut up, aim your words in the right direction with love, kindness, and a heart that wants to honor God and your fellow man. If you mess up, then you’re probably not as abnormal or rare as you think. But don’t excuse it. Reset the clock, restart, redouble your efforts, and keep aiming good words into the world around you. Be thankful, be loving, be happy, and be helpful. I love you loquacious folks. Have a great day!