• Dana L. Butler

The Invitation in Keeping Quiet When You’d Rather Speak Your Mind<br>[GROW in His Word: Prover

Happy October, dear friends!

I’m sneaking in a cup of coffee on this fall morning and connecting as usual with VanessaKelsey, Faith, and Melissa (and others!) for GROW in His Word– a link-up in which we use the GROW acronym to explore the heart of God in His Word.

I’ve mentioned before that I really enjoy these posts.  They’re a little less time- and energy- intensive for me and more a place where I find myself just processing scripture with the Lord– and then sharing it with y’all.  This has been really life-giving for me and a needed challenge to plumb the depths of God’s heart in scripture.

If you’d like to join us by linking up your own post related to today’s scripture, you can do that by clicking on any of the links above.

I so pray you’re encouraged here today, friends.

Greet

Father, I’m so thankful for how you’ve breathed life into my heart in the last few days.  You are so sweet, so faithful, so fiercely, mind-blowingly committed to me.  Thank you!

I’m coming before you today– confident before you because on the cross, Jesus purchased confidence for me.  I don’t have to earn it, nor could I if I tried, so today I’m falling back yet again into the goodness of the Gospel and the extravagance of your mercy, saying, “Father, here I am.”  Resting in not only your acceptance of me, but your absolute delight in me– in my simply coming before you.  In the turning of my heart and eyes toward you.

Thank you that you’re here with me, that your heart is to make yourself known.  Give me the Spirit of wisdom and revelation (Eph. 1:17– I long to know your heart more deeply.

Read

Whoever guards his mouth preserves life; he who opens wide his lips comes to ruin. Proverbs 13:3

Observe

Guarding our speech leads to preservation of life; being careless with our speech brings us to ruin.

Write

Urgh.  So often “guarding my mouth” feels hard.  It feels hard when-

  1. I want to make a snarky comment out of frustration with my husband or a desire to prove myself right and him wrong.

  2. I disagree with an idea or perspective someone else is sharing, or just think my opinion is more worthy to be heard.

  3. I’m misunderstood and falsely accused before a number of people.

The last situation I listed – being misunderstood and falsely accused – happened to me earlier this year.  Oh, and last year too.  Prior to that, it’d been years since I’d experienced something like that, and wow– I think I’d forgotten how intensely hurtful it could be.

Ouch.  My heart was decimated.

But in situations like that, and in the more normal, everyday temptations to defend myself or sharply retort in a tense conversation, the road God calls me to walk is so often that of keeping my mouth shut when I’d rather speak my mind.

And y’all, it’s not easy.  And sometimes often, I fail.  Ya know?

When keeping my mouth shut feels difficult, it’s usually because I have a need to prove myself or fight for my own [perceived] right to be understood and agreed with.

The temptation to say too much, this fierce need to prove myself, comes from a lack of abiding in Jesus.

Discerning Heart-Invitations in Hard Obedience

I’ve been contemplating this facet of the Lord’s character a lot lately– how He never asks us for obedience in the hard stuff apart from a corresponding invitation to intimacy with Him.  If you hang around my blog much, you’ve probably heard me say that before.  I’m fairly passionate that we as believers begin to understand this about God’s heart.

So from the gut-wrenchingly painful stuff of being misunderstood and falsely accused before others, to the day-to-day stuff of relationships and frustrations and stepping on each others’ toes, when God asks us to guard our speech, what’s the corresponding heart-invitation?

I’d venture a guess that most every believer would experience this invitation from Him a bit differently, but for me, it’s something along these lines:

When you want to defend yourself or prove yourself, stop.

Take a breath.

Re-center your heart in these truths:

  1. That I created your inmost being and know you more intimately than you know yourself.

  2. Your motives and intentions are wide open before Me.  I. SEE. YOU.  I get your heart.

  3. Even if people utterly misunderstand you, even if you are accused wrongly and your reputation is obliterated– MY OPINION is the One that counts.

Abiding in these truths frees me to live my life before Him as opposed to living to please others.  Uninhibited by the fear of being misunderstood, of being falsely accused, of the opinions of people who’ve been told who-knows-what about me.

It also firmly establishes my heart in Him, so that, in the day-to-day stuff, I can keep my mouth shut when I would otherwise want to retort or air my views inappropriately, and in my calm silence, hear the whispered “well done” of my Father.

Because proving myself right in man’s eyes might actually be wrong in His.  And I want a pure heart before Him more than to be “right” in the eyes of man.

At least, I want to want a pure heart more.  This is a continual refining process for sure.  But I’m in it for the long haul.

Because taking the high road of shutting up in the face of frustration or false accusation?  It leads to deepened intimacy with the One who understands our hearts the most deeply.

And I want to live peaceful, centered in Him, abiding in Him.  The words I do speak filled with grace that comes from resting deeply in the only Opinion that counts in the end.

Know someone who'd appreciate this?



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