I knew I said too much.
She was sharing her heart, but for some reason I felt like I had to have her “fixed” by the time the call ended. She phoned me because she needed help. And, I wanted to really be there for her. To leave her where she was — didn’t feel right.
I offered some advice. I gave her some strategies. Yet, after hanging up — I had a sinking feeling that I said too much. That my words were — input-overload.
In retrospect, she didn’t need my lofty words, but just my care. My heart. My presence with her in the heat of a hard moment.
She didn’t need an answer as much as she needed an ear.
I noticed when I did stay quiet on the call, she had room to pray. I also remember how she seemed to pray her way out of her own hole.
It was my pride that made me want to be a savior. It is also my pride that makes me unload harsh words on others because of my inflamed emotions. It is pride that feels like it has to have an answer to everybody’s every question.
Humility does the opposite, though. It says less so that God can move more.
“A truly wise person uses few words…” (Prov. 17:27)
Wise people say less and listen more. They weigh words carefully before blasting them like a water gun. They intentionally think about restoring the other person, rather than ripping them apart or giving too much advice. They don’t let their emotions get the best of them.
Wise communicators know they don’t have to respond. They are okay with silence. They give space for others to help themselves. They allow ‘no response’ answers or ‘let me think about it’ approaches so they can release life-giving, redeeming words.
Using less words provides more impact. Where, in your life, might God be calling you to use less words? What would this look like practically?
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8 CommentsLeave a comment
This is such a hard thing to balance. My normal stance is not to speak when I should. But I have also been in the place you describe here, in pride knowing *just* what I think the other person needs. May God help us be quick to listen and slow to speak, but willing to speak in His time with His wisdom.
So helpful Kelly. I’m trying to get in the habit of pausing for a second to think before speaking instead of always jumping right in.
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I do wonder if, as “word people,” we imagine that if we say the right words, we can actually fix a person’s problems. You’re wise to steer us in a different direction. Sometimes what our friends need most is just to be heard.
This is helping me. I’ve been trying to think of what to say to “fix” a friend’s situation, but I need to just be with her in the pain first. I know these things, but I still need God to send me fresh reminders like yours to jog my memory. Thanks, Kelly.
Have you been watching my communication style? I can seriously relate and need to do better.
This is so true. I have actually been praying a lot about my pride lately. I am asking God to help me to put to death the pride in my life and asking Him to show me exactly what that looks like. Thank you so much for sharing!
This is something that I’ve been trying to work on lately. I struggle with trying to “fix” other people’s problems, and knowing when to keep silent and just listen, and when someone is actually seeking advice or suggestions. I have hurt people by offering what I now realize came across as critical advice when the other person was hurting and just needing to vent, and I don’t know if I can ever make it right. On the other hand, I worry that if someone is talking to me about something and I don’t offer some sort of suggestion, that they’ll think I’m not interested in helping and that I’m not a good friend. I’ve been trying to pray and ask God to give me wisdom in this area, although at times it’s a difficult battle. This post was another good reminder for me.