This is quite painful to admit, but a friend let me know about this recently. He was subtle at first- “Wow, you’re really verbal!” I didn’t get the hint- kind of saw it as a compliment, actually. Finally he came out and said it, “I think you talk too much.” He was referring to meetings that we’re in together, but it’s not just meetings. I talk a lot- especially for a guy. I haven’t always been this way- I was a pretty quiet kid. But in recent years, I have- apparently- become “very verbal”. Receiving this has been painful- mostly I’ve felt defensive, until truth started sinking in. Like the Bible.
As in James 1:20- “My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry”. I’ve been practicing the quick to speak, slower to listen strategy. Hmmm.
I’ve asked myself why I talk so much. Part of it is from a deep desire to connect- I really do want to know and to be known. Talking a lot reveals that I’ve been working really hard to be known- kind of a “here’s who I am- please understand and accept me.” I may not come across as insecure (or do I?) but it’s in there. I talk to convince- to share my perspective and ideas and hope that others will agree. I talk to get out what’s been rolling around in my head and heart- because of course it must be shared, right? Maybe not. Or at least as much.
So the first step is awareness. Check. Next- to hold my tongue. That habit that will require serious retraining- and God’s help. But I want to do more- to actually listen better. To ask better questions and draw out others. Not just less words on my part, but better ones- hopefully from a place of hearing, not just speaking. Going public with this is one way to make this more real- even to me. So here goes- ready, set, LISTEN.