Learning to Keep my Mouth Shut


My mother always told me that my mouth would get me in trouble...

God gave me the gift of wit. By the time someone is done with their sentence, I usually already have some kind of witty comeback, remark, or joke. Being witty has worked to my advantage in many cases. It works especially well for breaking the ice or getting people to laugh. I use it a lot in presentations or when I'm doing other forms of public speaking. Wit can be a great thing when used for the right reason. But, in my case, it has also been the foundation for sarcasm-- a language that I speak fluently.

I didn't realize how bad it was until a few weeks ago...and at work of all places. I realized that for every statement made by my manager, I had a response. Literally, a conversation could go:

Boss: "I need you to run to the building across the street to get a photo of a part."
Me: "Ok, but I can just ask Person X to email it to me."
Boss: "That's fine. I just need it by 4pm."
Me: "Ok, but it'll depend on Person X sending it to me on time."

You get the point. It's not sarcasm, but an answer and response for everything.

A few weeks ago, when a conversation went something like that, it hit me: If I keep this up, my mouth could really get me in trouble. My boss must have certainly thought that I was a handful, so from that point on, I decided to either not respond or just use whatever short phrase (ok, thank you, etc.) was appropriate.

I had it nailed. I felt accomplished. After all, I had just learned to bridle my tongue (and my fingers).

Well, I didn't know the extent of damage that my mouth had caused...

It was maybe a few days later and I was at home having a conversation with my husband. He said something that probably warranted a sarcastic remark, but I didn't have one. So, I kept quiet.

"You don't have a smart remark?", he asked.
"No," I said.
A bit perplexed, he continued on with, "I just knew you would have something smart to say."

Again I responded that I had no smart comeback, because I really didn't.

It was in that moment that I realized how bad it all had become. My husband was expecting sarcasm because it had become the norm. I really needed to learn how to keep my mouth shut, because I certainly don't want to be known as Mrs. Smart Mouth or Commander Comeback. That's not a good look.

So, I went to one of my most read scriptures, James 1:19,

"My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry..."
Previously, I used it as a reminder to be quiet and listen to avoid getting upset. Now, I am reading it in a totally new context-- the context of "keep your mouth shut, Faneisha." Proverbs 10:19 in the NLT puts it this way: "Too much talk leads to sin. Be sensible and keep your mouth shut." While in the NASB, those who restrain their lips are called wise. Whatever the version, it all reads the same: we must watch our tongue.

Have you been struggling with keeping your mouth shut?? I know some of you out there also need the "keep your mouth shut" anointing along with me. Let me know in the comment section. 

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