Shutting Up

I will now write about not speaking too much.

As a talkative person, I have had to admit that my style is not just an alternative to quietness, but a deterrent to maturity.

The Bible after all urges that “he who keeps his mouth and his tongue, keeps himself out of trouble.” Saint James devotes an entire chapter to the problem of the tongue. God wants me to control my mouth and gain quietness of spirit.

If I am talking, then I am not listening and God has something I need to hear.

At least I don’t have to confuse being quiet with quietness of spirit. The “nice kid” that says little may be cursing on the inside or endlessly processsing. My motor mouth may get me in trouble, but at least I am disciplined.

The motor mouth that runs silently has the appearance of virtue without the substance.

Thinking out loud, if it is really thinking, is no vice, and can lead to virtue. Thinking will naturally pause, look for input, and listen. I cannot then simply limit my words or compare myself to someone else.

First, I must monitor my words. Are they motivated by love, guided by reason, and ending in the Good?

Second, some quiet is essential. I may never be as quiet as my wife, but to be mature I must be quiet. How much? Enough to hear what must be heard!

Third, my soul must be still, not just my mouth. A peaceful spirit wll reflect itself in my speech. Meditation, praying the Jesus Prayer, helps still me. When I start to churn mentally, it is usually a failure of love.

Mental anxiety comes fear or a lack of trust. It is a failure of mental grace and a desire to find some work to do. Instead, I must love God and my neighbor enough to trust His plan and give my neighbor liberty.

Sometimes I must pause and not give advice. Liberty comes with the right to come to truth for self without having it imposed on a man by a tyrannical Helpful Mouth.

Sometimes as I blather my problems or thoughts, my wise Dad will say: “Share less.” Not everyone needs to hear all about me and I know this, because there is not time for me to know all but everyone else.

If I do unto others, I will share less.

Weirdly, I will also share more of what is relevant. One reason to rid of phone apps I never use is to make it easier to find the ones I need. In similar manner, when I share less “stuff,” time will be created to share deeply.

My rule of thumb: share no more than everyone else in the group can share with me. (Of course, in a therapy sitution this rule does not apply!)

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