Don’t Speak

I’ve tried a few times today to write this blog & found myself relatively speechless – an unusual experience for sure ,)
Obviously, something happened because I’m writing now. Actually, nothing happened, except that I remembered Job’s friends. Whenever I read this book, I’m not just a little disappointed or pt off with his buddies. Their words seem harsh, condemning & altogether insensitive. Indeed, the last verse of Job 2 seems to be the high point of their contribution to consoling Job. In this verse it says, “Then they sat down on the ground with him for seven days and seven nights with no one speaking a word to him, for they saw that his pain was very great.”
Sometimes the best thing we can do for a friend who is suffering is just to quietly be present with them. Sometimes our words can be unhelpful, particularly when we don’t know what to say. Sometimes, silence is golden ūüôā

When God seems quiet

I was reading in Job this morning & I read a verse about when God is silent. This kind of started me thinking about the times when God doesn’t seem to be talking. These times can be really frustrating or let me suggest that these times can be really rich in getting to know God better. Here are some things that could really help you in those times / seasons when God seems silent:
*sometimes God may seem quiet because we don’t give Them (Trinity) the chance to speak – we do all the talking
*for me, I know that God is sometimes quiet, because They (Trinity) are waiting for me to talk
*sometimes I think God is quiet because They want us to lean in & get closer
*sometimes quiet can be an indication of displeasure – is there something I’ve done or said that has been displeasing to God that I need to adjust? This can be a good exploratory question with God
*quiet in a relationship can be an indication of closeness & intimacy: I feel comfortable being quiet with some of my closest friends

help for seasons of silence

There are times in my life when it seems like I can’t hear God well – almost like I’m getting the silent treatment. ¬†In my early 20s, I had several months of silence & it was a profoundly difficult time for me. ¬†As I’ve grown older, I still have some of these silent seasons, but they are not nearly as difficult for me as they were many years ago & here are a few things that have helped me when it seems like God is being quiet:

  • get closer: ¬†when someone speaks quietly or softly, I need to get closer to them so that I can hear them better. ¬†This is also something that has helped me with God – when it seems to me like God is being quiet, I get closer to listen better (get closer: ¬†eliminate competing voices, re-prioritize my time, be more wholly present & less distracted)
  • stop talking: ¬†I had a friend once tell me that they had decided to stop talking around me because I didn’t listen – a noteworthy lesson
  • test: ¬†whenever a teacher gives a test, they usually try to make a quiet environment to help their students to focus & do their best. ¬†Sometimes God tests us & this for various reasons (to reveal the things & people in which we trust more than God, to expose the reality of our need for God, to teach us some new ways to be with God)

feeling safe in silence

I just had the honor of attending a Veterans Day Ceremony at my kid’s school & it was really good. ¬†While I was there & on several other occasions, I noticed that people get really squirmy with “silence”. ¬†Sometimes when I’m giving a lecture or sermon, I do the silent thing for a few moments to make everyone just slightly jittery – its a little bit of twisted humor on my part. ¬†Nevertheless, the point remains that for many of us, we feel very uncomfortable with silence. ¬†In order to mitigate this discomfort we play music, talk on the phone, text our friends, hum or talk to ourselves, turn on the tv for background noise, . . . . just about anything to fill in the awkwardness we feel in silence. ¬†But there is massive solace, joy & even safety in¬†silence. ¬†Mother Teresa said, “God is the friend of silence¬†.”

So here are some thoughts that might help you to feel more comfortable with silence & feel free to add your own ideas as well:

  • quiet can be more soothing than filler noise
  • quiet can allow you to work through your thoughts to understand some deeper issues
  • try getting in 3-5min of quiet in each day (turning off everything & putting your phone on silent)
  • recognize that silence is an essential ingredient for listening
  • silence prepares us to receive

help me with some people skills

When I was growing up, my parents would always encourage me to develop my people skills – I still need to work on this area. ¬†I remember them saying that while I could learn lots of book knowledge, I would USE people skills every day and they’re right. ¬†People skills are really important – so here are a few things that I’m learning & I would LOVE for you to add your insights on what you feel are important people skills to develop ūüôā

Here are some ideas to get our conversation  started:

  • respect – regardless of your frame of mind or preconceived ideas, each person with whom we interact needs respect, even if they’re behaving in disrespectful ways. ¬†I’ve never regretted being respectful, but I’ve always regretted being disrespectful
  • serving others – when I get my mind to look for ways to help or serve others, rather than expecting to be served, I’m almost always deeply content & satisfied in ways that far eclipse the times when I am served
  • humility – the attitude of “all that & a bag of chips” has never really worked for me; ¬†it almost always sabotages any kind of constructive interaction
  • encouragement – I’ve found that people flourish & blossom with encouragement & genuine praise more than put downs & degradation.
  • silence is golden – its very important to screen your thoughts before they’re expressed from your lips. ¬†When I say less, it seems that people think more of me – what a shock ,)

So what are some people skills you have or would like to have?  Whadya think???