The Power of Pause

“Becky” sent out this desperate cry for help. She posted this comment on one of my True Woman blog posts:

“pls brethren pray for me to be able a control my tongue for dis is my prayer for over two weeks now. My tongue has cause my parents to threaten to send me packing out of d house, my tongue has caused my aunty to curse me, my tongue has riuned me, wen m angry i just say words dat i dnt evn plan for, pls help me out, m dieing within me. Pray for n pray for God a giv me d grace a stay calm at alll situations. Thank U”

You can hear Becky’s pain in this short message. Becky wants help. It sounds like her tongue has brought total destruction to her life. She’s not denying her sin or shifting the blame, but is honestly admitting that she pours out death-filled words without planning for it!

Proverbs is pretty straightforward about the power our tongue can swing:

“Death and life are in the power of the tongue, And those who love it will eat its fruit.” (Proverbs 18:21)

I can relate to Becky’s frustration and desperation. I’ve spoken death when I never intended to bring harm.

Why do we do that?

How do we get a handle on our words?                         

One thing I’ve come to appreciate in the battle with my tongue is the power of “pause.”

Maybe you’ve seen the stat that women speak an average of 20 thousand words per day. Twenty THOUSAND. Think about that. That is a lot of verbiage going on. But God has something to say about an abundance of verbiage, and I’ve lived long enough to prove the truthfulness of this warning:

“When there are many words, transgression is unavoidable, but he who restrains his lips is wise.” (Proverbs 10:19)

Today, I’m asking us to consider the power of pause. I’ve found that a pause, a lengthy (cheerful) silence can bless others. I usually have plenty to say, really too much to say, and I’m learning that silently praying for those I’m having conversation with, probably ministers to their soul more than any words I could unload on them.

Today you and I will have many opportunities to open our mouths. We’ll need to answer questions, be called on for advice, maybe have to discipline a child, or yell a food order into a fast-food drive-thru box.

Communication Challenge:

I’m going to issue a few challenges to you today. Starting as soon as you finish reading this post, will you:

  • Share more words with the Father in prayer today, than with people?
  • Before answering anyone, take a brief pause to silently pray for grace and wisdom to answer?
  • Before initiating conversation, consider how to bless that person?
  • While in conversation, listen carefully while silently lift up prayers asking the Spirit to give you insight for how He would have you respond?
  • Let Ephesians 4:29 be your conversation monitor:

“Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, so that it will give grace to those who hear.”

Are you in?

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