What do you do when you crave some solitude yet are surrounded by children at home every day because it is school holidays?
When you live in a big brand new house near the mountains but what you think you really want is a tiny shack by the beach.
What does it mean when you can wear a yellow t-shirt for a whole day? You leave it on even though it makes you feel weird because you usually only wear black white or grey t-shirts.
I do know one thing. I’m pretty sure there should be some commas in those sentences above.
On the dangers of talking too much, Michael Casey says,
“It restricts our capacity to listen, it banishes mindfulness and opens the door to distraction and escapism. Talking too much often convinces us of the correctness of our own conclusions and leads some into thinking they are wise. It can be a subtle lesson in arrogance and superiority”
From Monk Habits for Everyday People: Benedictine Spirituality for Protestants
A couple of weeks ago during bible study one of the group members pretty much told me to’ shut up’ right in the middle of our study. At the time I was angry, embarrassed, and incredulous. She felt bad and apologised afterwards.
But, as is often the way in community, the spirit of God can work through a sister or brother, telling us exactly what we needed to hear, at precisely the right time.*
God was telling me to ‘shut up’ and listen to what others have to say.
I am an extrovert. We don’t like silence, it makes us feel uncomfortable and we feel the need to fill it up. Like if we don’t keep talking, somehow the group will drown in its silence. And in my case there is definitely a sense of arrogance; what I have to say is infinitely more interesting, funny, or spiritually insightful than what you have to say.
This is of course complete rubbish!
So now I am trying really hard to talk less, which will allow me to listen more.
*I am not saying that being rebuked is always easy, it’s not. In this case, I had to make the decision to be humble and accepting, and rely on the Holy Spirit to help me not let my initial anger take root.