“All you need to say is simply ‘Yes’ or ‘No’…” Matthew 5:37 (NIV)
I spoke last time about how God told me He wanted me to talk less and listen more. I really am trying, but for someone who took a while to start talking and then never shut up, this is a real challenge. I’m incredibly introverted around new people or in gatherings of more then 6, but within my family of 5 – Nope! Not shy at all.
However, God has been working with me on various issues surrounding this topic of talk less… listen more. One major concept is that my husband has a lot of wisdom to impart but when I don’t shut up, he isn’t given a chance to impart it. My husband also has one of Jesus’ wonderful characteristic traits: That is that he doesn’t waste words. What takes me three paragraphs to say, he says in three words.
I first noticed that characteristic trait in Jesus when reading the Gospels. He never wasted His words with people. He didn’t give in to manipulation, arguments, bragging, lecturing – He never wasted His words. He said what needed to be said, only when it needed to be said and then let God work on people’s hearts.
I then noticed that same pattern with God when He would speak to me. Many times I would ask Him a question and He would answer me with one, maybe two words. I would then counter with an argument, persuasion, or alternative and once again, without arguing, I would hear the same one or two word answer. Always loving, always timely never wasted.
It wasn’t until after I distinctly heard God tell me to talk less and listen more as well as submit completely to my husband that I noticed my husband has always been like Jesus with that particular habit. He listens well and listens often… and then when ready to speak, imparts his wisdom in very few words. Impactful, wise, clearly thought out words… and in a way that makes our kids sit up and notice. That makes me sit up and notice. And when pushed back on… he simply reinforces his authority in our house along with the previously used words and then allows God to work on their hearts.
I clearly need to keep practicing. God showed me through another conversation that while I’m moving in the right direction, He wants me to keep trying. My husband and I attended a class at our church meant to equip and encourage us as we travel the journey of adolescence with our children. The youth pastor made the comment that we need to keep encouraging our children to ask God directly for answers to their questions. Our job as parents is to provide the opportunities for these conversations and then to get out of the way so that God can speak directly to their hearts, not always through our voices. Our children hear our lectures plenty. It is when they hear God’s desire for their lives that true heart change will take place.
I might have missed that important truth yesterday had God not already started that conversation with me. “Talk less… listen more” and “Submit completely to your husband.” Two very short sentences packed with a powerful punch.
I’m blessed to be the child of a Heavenly King who speaks less and hears my heart’s desire to completely obey His commands. I’m so glad He understands my imperfect follow through is based on needing more practice, not a disobedient heart.
© Cheri Swalwell 2016