This is not something I'm good at.
Believe it or not a wedding photographer has a hard time not talking! It's one of those things that I have both been complimented on and ripped to shreds for. "Emma, you have a such a way with words!" to "I don't think you're capable of shutting up, honestly." Ironically, both of those were said to me by older ladies from my church when I was about 15 or 16 years old...So that's neat.
I lost friends because I talked to much. I also had incredible grades and was very popular in highschool because of how often I spoke. It's a blessing and a curse. I've blessed and I've cursed. And ya know? There's a section in the book of James that talks about that issue in particular. Ask me if I felt extremely convicted during that morning of my women's bible study gathering? I was overwhelmed, almost.
Ya know, I have this one friend in particular who is just the sweetest and most precious. I truly believe we understand how the other thinks better than most people that either of us have ever interacted with. Part of that understanding makes it incredibly easy to just TALK because there's not a whole lot of explanation needed or questions necessary to ask. So there's no breaks in between what I say. The downside of this, however, is that she reads my blogs, watches my stories, makes for a majority of my views on YouTube, listens to me talk for 47 minutes at a time, and has no problem with keeping her thoughts to herself when we go out for coffee. So, I then leave a conversation feeling I didn't learn anything new or special about her, but she practically knows my social security number. HECK!
Does this make me a bad friend? Yes. HOWEVER
I DON'T MEAN TO BE!
I'm sure I have been the reason many people have felt ignored in the 22 years I've been on this Earth, but this last 6 months I have felt very unheard. I don't want anyone to have to feel this way. A while back I wrote about feeling like the secondary character - Yeah, that hasn't gone away. In fact, I recently heard a song called "Fat, Funny, Friend". and let me tell you I WAS ABSOLUTELY DEVASTATED BY THIS SONG. I don't endorse this artist or any of her other...disagreeable works. But, I was emotionally charged by this song. In the long scheme of my life, I haven't been able to relate to or understand the idea of the side-kick bestie in a rom com or Disney Channel Original SitcomTM. But right now? UHGGHGHGHGHGHGHG! I got what this girl was talking about. So, in this new revolutionary experience of mine, my wonderfully gracious and loving God is slowly revealing a serious issue in my behavior. If we're gonna talk about reasons to hate yourself - I have recently discovered one of the top 3. Now, I know that the self-hatred part of this is wholly incorrect thinking and that God doesn't want that to be my response but it's kinda working! It's convicting me, leaving me feeling a bit guilty, and exposing this nasty need to be heard and adored. GROSS. (you know, the more I write these blogs the more I hope I never become famous lol)
So, am I a bad friend? I certainly can be! But, I have been given a couple of really great friends who love me anyway and all have their own way of helping me out with this. There's the dear one mentioned above, she lets me know that even when I do talk to much she doesn't mind and loves me still. There's the friend who talks a lot about his own hobbies and interests with so much excitement and zeal that he can forget to let me respond - he reminds me to offer the grace I am offered. (in addition to the skill of paying attention to the things others care about when you don't care much at all) There's the two married friends who I dearly trust and yet I know anything I say can and will go back the husbands. (As it should.) As far as I'm concerned there should be NO secrets between married couples, which includes my crushes. It's a sacrifice I'm willing to make. Who cares if Dylan knows? I'll live. I have my Mom who will fearlessly interrupt me and remind me not everything must be said at once. My Dad, who simply gets me. We talk in monologues together, for hours and I always look forward to those times. And there are many other relationships in my life that teach me how to converse! How to interact with other human beings!
I guess my biggest thing right now is that I must find balance. I genuinely want to have conversations with people! I want to have creative, theological, depressing, sin-confessing, loving, memory-making, hilarious, useless, life-changing CONVERSATION! If I'm so worried about being heard, I'll never listen.
James 3:4-8 says,
Look at the ships also: though they are so large and are driven by strong winds, they are guided by a very small rudder wherever the will of the pilot directs. Look at the ships also: though they are so large and are driven by strong winds, they are guided by a very small rudder wherever the will of the pilot directs. And the tongue is a fire, a world of unrighteousness. The tongue is set among our members, staining the whole body, setting on fire the entire course of life, and set on fire by hell. For every kind of beast and bird, of reptile and sea creature, can be tamed and has been tamed by mankind, but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison.
Most people use this verse to talk about how you shouldn't go around swearing and cursing and then turn around a shout a praise to the Lord. Which is a good application. However, this verse is extremely applicable to what I'm talking about, too. If I can't get ahold of my tongue and the words I say, I am spewing deadly poison. Well Shoot! That sucks! Anyone understand that conviction I was talking about a second ago? James doesn't hold back. I don't feel icky because I said things I shouldn't have (mostly) rather, I feel like I did something wrong because I used too many words. I wasn't thinking about the other person. I was being selfish and needy, and a bit of a princess. It's gross!
But you know what? I have hope! I know God isn't leaving me where I am. This whole revolution started because of a song (I know everyone is so surprised by this). It's a song titled "Quiet". While listening to that song, I realized that I didn't even know how to sit and listen to God. I was too busy talking, asking questions, answering those questions for myself, submitting requests, and presenting him with one or two options that I felt would work best. First of all, that's not a conversation. Second of all - How dare I? I really thought that the king of the freaking universe needed tips on how he could make my situations better? Let that sink in. Anyone else guilty of this? Just me? Neato!
That song helped it all hit, settle, and stay. From there, it's been a slow process of working on listening to the perfect conversationalist, talking WITH him, to growing and attempting to converse with the broken sinners I call friends and family. I'm far from perfect. In fact, I'm far from okay-ish at it! Even today, the day I finish this draft, I had to check in with some friends and make sure I hadn't over used my words. God's been really good about not leaving me alone when I feel convicted lately. I literally can't think about anything else until I've done what I can to make it right. It's a drag.
Long-term, though, I know it's worth it and I'm glad I'm not left to my own devices.
All these crazy thoughts and feelings, It's like it never ends. Until His voice breaks through my noise. He will fight my battles, If I will just be still.
Why would I keep running when God's right here?
I'll just be quiet
And let Him speak through the silence
Here I am, no more hiding
You are in this moment, I won't fight it
I'll be quiet.