If you’ve been following me on Facebook, you know that I committed to a 28-day challenge focused on speaking only sweet, soothing, sound and soft words and eliminating sarcasm, sharp or self-centered words. Was I successful? Barely, I have a long way to go. Nonetheless, the exercise was eye-opening and a good start.
As I traveled through the month of February focused on my “Sweet Lips Challenge,” I found that choosing to be silent brought a priceless gift: a peace that I have never before experienced. By being still, when I would normally babble, give my opinion or just chatter, I found sweet reward: I heard more, I observed more, I cared more. It became about others instead of me and I heard God’s voice clearer.
Now understand, I’m not saying I heard God audibly, I’m saying that His still small voice is only be heard clearly in stillness. Does that mean that we have to be physically still? If so, not many of us can pull that off very often these days. I believe the answer to that question is yes, and no. Yes, it’s ideal when we turn off the computer, the TV, the radio, the cell phone, and sit still. And, no, that’s not the only form of stillness.
Sometimes, stillness can be obtained by not saying what we want to say, what we feel like saying. When I would “still” my tongue in moments when I wanted to speak, I was able to hear what God wanted me to say to those I was around. I realized that His agenda was different than mine. I wanted to talk about me, about things that interested me. He wanted to use my tongue to speak to others about Him, about their need for Him.
This stillness, this place of silence is quite foreign to me. I’m one of those chatty people who has been teased and ridiculed all my life for talking too much. It took me years to get past the pain of those labels, but when I did, I learned that my chatting was just a nervous habit, masking fear and anger.
You see, I got nervous when gaps opened up in conversations. I impulsively filled those gaps, afraid of what might be said if I didn’t—angry that if what should be said, wouldn’t get said. But, it was more than that. I was afraid that if I wasn’t always funny, if I wasn’t always happy, if I wasn’t always everything everyone wanted me to be, I wouldn’t be loved.
Now I know that’s not true, so I’m learning that if I stay still, there’s nothing to fear. I can love and be loved, and, more importantly, I can be useful. Knowing that I am unconditionally loved by my Creator—knowing that He created me just the way I am—I can let Him help me harness my impulsive chatting into opportunities to speak for Him—to tell of his matchless, merciful, gracious love!
Is it hard? You bet. But the rewards for being still and letting God choose my words are more amazing than any attention or love I could manufacture on my own through self-centered techniques.
Join me this month as I initiate the “28-Day “Be Still” Challenge. I will be posting all the “rules” on my Facebook page soon!