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Abiding with Jesus

Standing Speechless In A Culture of Many Words

We are a culture of many words. We feel entitled to share our opinions about everything to anyone. We are inundated with articles and information at every hour of the day. The latest books and blogs posts- a click away.

So many words being carelessly tossed around.

I am a writer, a lover of words, and I even am overwhelmed. Words are starting to feel cheap.

I get emails nearly every day telling me how I can write a book in just six weeks, as if we are made to gush out sentences all over the paper with little thought or effort or actual life behind them.

I’ve stepped away from the noise of social media for the time being because I couldn’t handle the sheer amount of words I feel compelled to try and digest every day. Good words even. Beautiful words. But too much of anything will make us sick, right?

Except, of course, God’s words to us.

My fear is that our generation is forgetting the treasures found within silence. We’ve grown familiar with the voices telling us to share more, make yourself someone, shout louder, stand taller.

We are addicted to exposing ourselves to the constant chatter of news and social media. The words and images like white noise, numbing us to experiencing real life and community around us.

We enjoy the the buzz of our busy lives and quieting it would signal we are unproductive and unsuccessful.

What if we set out to regain the sacredness of words, to stand speechless far more often than is comfortable for us?

My sweet friend Audrey directed me to Proverbs 10:19, “In the multitude of words sin is not lacking, but he who restrains his lips is wise.”

Perhaps being a minimalist is more important when it comes to our words than within the walls of our home.

I’m not saying we allow the enemy to keep us in a silent stupor, afraid that we have nothing to contribute to the world. But that we hold our words like pieces of delicate, ornate glass- with the ability to shatter and break or shine and glimmer with sparkly light and radiant hope.

We offer our words carefully, cautiously.

And more importantly, we seek His words continuously.

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Psalm 119 gives us a picture of what it means to pore over the promises of God- meditating on, musing over, pondering, studying, and singing the Words of Life, until God’s language becomes our language too.

The Psalmist describes how he delighted in, inclined his heart, clung to, hoped in, and sought out the wisdom of God through His Word.

Does that describe the eagerness with which I explore the heart of God? Hardly.

A Psalm 119 kind of life means I need to welcome speechless awe back into my heart. I need to make space and create more capacity in my soul to discover anew the treasures of God’s Word.

Standing speechless is a tell-tale sign that we headed out into deeper waters with God, breaking free from the world’s surface level living, where more words might equal more information, but not more wonder or wisdom.

Could we dare ourselves to be more like Job, who at the end of his many words, finally surrendered?

“I’m speechless, in awe- words fail me.

I should never have opened my mouth!

I’ve talked too much, way too much.

I’m ready to shut up and listen.” (Job 40:3-5)

It was when he accepted the limits of his understanding and knowledge, that he grew in true intimacy with God,    

I admit I once lived by rumors of you;

Now I have it all firsthand- from my own eyes and ears! I’m sorry- forgive me. I’ll never do that again- I promise! I’ll never again live on crusts of hearsay, crumbs of rumor.” (Job 42: 5-6)

Job realized his and his friends’ careless words were meager compared to the magnificent mysteries of God. His version of knowing God was a mere grasping for easy explanation, rumors, instead of life-changing encounters and experiences with Him.

No matter how poetic, insightful, or scholarly human words may sound, nothing compares to just one word from Jesus.

A man who stood speechless when the world said speak up for yourself.

A man whose words flowed in sync with His Father, healing and salvation for all who heard.  

A man who didn’t mind silence even in the storms.

A man who when He opened his mouth, people listened, life was given, and the world was changed.

I’m ready to be a woman who seeks out and stands in wonder of the many hidden treasures of God’s word, who speaks from a still and simple soul, a woman who is left speechless often.

 

Travel Deeper: Psalm 119, James 1:19-20, 26-27, James 3, Proverbs 10:19, 12:18, 13:3, Ephesians 4:29, Psalm 46:10

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