Monday, July 9, 2012

Devotion: Learning to Speak Wisely

"She speaks with wisdom and faithful instruction is on her tongue." Proverbs 31:26

I like to type so much more than writing, but only because when I type, my fingers  tend to move about as quickly as my thoughts (generally...this morning, not so much). Words fly across the screen even as they are forming in my head. When I have to write something, I think about it, write it, and reread it often. But typing, oh man! That's where it's at if I want to get my point across, and get it across quickly. 

That's actually why I write out my prayers every morning. I do a little 10-15 minute devotion, and then write my praises, prayers, struggles, and frustrations out to the Lord (I also do this in cursive so I don't lose that skill). This morning's Bible study on the Proverbs 31 wife was specifically about the above verse: the perfect wife chooses her words wisely and speaks wisdom.

This devotion got me today. I mean, it backed me up in a corner and pointed its finger at me. So many times I find myself saying things, and, in mid-sentence, realize maybe I should have thought it through a little more. I have become a little better at this on social networks...thinking before speaking...but when it comes to social settings, my brain is just a whirling away with thoughts. I crave being a part of a conversation, and so many times I can hear my wisdom side telling me to just chill out and let others talk. And for me, that has always been so hard! I've always said teachers make the best actors, and that is because we are required, for 180 days to stand (or jump, or dance, or sit criss-cross) in front of 180 students (at least for high school teachers) and perform...act...talk...be the facilitator of all conversations. But even in that sense, I spend months in advance planning what I'm going to say each day. I am prepared to share wisdom. The only time I fail at it is during day-to-day conversations. I have such a tendency to have "foot-in-mouth" disease (see post here), and God is constantly reminding me to just let him do the talking, so my words reflect HIS wisdom.

I remember a time I was actually tested on this. I was a CIT at Girl Scout camp (yeeaaarrrsss ago), and our leaders had left the campsite during quiet time for a meeting. This wasn't unusual, and for the most part, we girls would just hang out for an hour, chit chat, read, or sleep. I remember one particular day they had left the campsite, and the emergency bell rang. I was the self-designated leader, and told the rest of the CITs we should wait until our counselors came back before we headed to the designated area. I didn't want to get in trouble for leaving without them. Another girl was insisting we go ahead and go. We stood there and argued until our counselors showed up. Our entire group got reprimanded for not taking charge of the situation and going to the designated area on our own. It was a test to see if we could be mature enough to do the right thing....and furthermore, I found out later it was a test made specifically for me. I was pulled aside by my leader, Cooper, and told that the other girl I was arguing with was put in charge of the group while they were gone, and she was given specific instructions to lead the rest of us during the emergency drill. They knew I could be a good leader, but not only did they want to give another girl a chance to lead the group, but they also wanted to see if I could be a good leader when it came time to follow someone else. It was a lesson I failed that day, but I remember it so often when I am put in leadership positions. Instead of listening to the wisdom of the girl (get to safety first, and then find our leaders), I was too busy letting my words get in the way of seeing the truth of the situation.

Many times speaking words of wisdom comes with practice of waiting, watching, evaluating, and then speaking. In my journey to be a Proverbs 31 wife, I am struck with how wise this woman is! I want to be so much like her. I want to glorify my King with all my actions, thoughts, and words. I also want to teach my children to learn to speak wisely, and so many times I am reminded that they should learn that skill from their parents.

This week my goal is "to be quick to listen and slow to speak" (James 1:19). I want to develop "a mouth of righteousness" (Proverbs 10:11), and "to use my words to build others up" (Ephesians 4:29). I pray that God will grant you wisdom to think, evaluate, and then speak, as I pray I pass that skill to my children by leading through example.
Photo Credit 
How many times am I going to repeat this verse to myself today? I surely need the reminder! 

1 comment:

  1. Very thought-provoking, Jana! I find that daily conversation is the hardest for me, too. I, often, feel like kicking myself in the pants for the dumb things I say {especially when distracted by the kids/ or during a run.} I realize that my words are sometimes the only way I can be salt and light, yet I get caught up in wanting to 'be liked' and just jump on bandwagons that may not be wrong, but may not show greater compassion or truth. Praying for you {as I do for myself} that study of the Word and time in prayer will pasteurize our conversations. xx