Be Still

My friend, Krista Burdine, wrote a 5-minute friday post on her blog this morning. Krista’s post sparked something in me so I decided to write one, too.

Still.

I often think of being still as something I come away from life and do to rest, restore, refresh. It’s the picture painted in “He leads me beside quiet waters.” (Psalm 23:2)

But I’ve realized that I need to be still when I’m in conversation with others. I’m energized by people. I get excited to share ideas and find common ground and learn together about life and God and walking through this world the best way I know how.

Sometimes that energy amps up way too high and I get to talking too fast. I get so excited to be talking with a real, live person. I’ve been working from home so there’s not as much “people-time” as I’d like. When I get caught up in the excitement, it’s easy to say things without thinking first. It’s like they just come out, and later I regret that I didn’t say things the way I’d liked to have.

So this morning I was thinking about being still during a conversation. Is there a way to engage in a great heart-to-heart and somehow remain still in that deepest part of me so that what flows from me is good and helpful, but still real?

I have a hunch there is. And I’m asking God to show me how to be fully engaged in conversation, to savor time with women–even the excitement it stirs in me–and yet to be still in my heart-of-hearts.

After finishing this post, I needed to do a few things around the house while waiting for a friend to come by for a visit. While standing at my sink, finishing the morning dishes, a verse came to mind and became my prayer of preparation for the visit of friend I hadn’t seen for a few years.

I prayed….

May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, O Lord, my rock and my Redeemer.

—Psalm 19:14

Do you ever pause and think I wish I wouldn’t have said that or I regret that I reacted that way? How do you stop and think about what you’re going to say without leaving the flow of a good conversation? How have you found a way to be still so that what you say is helpful and not regrettable?

I’d love to hear your thoughts.

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Lisa-Jo who blogs at thegypsymama.com was inspired to start Five-minute Friday.  She writes, “On Fridays, a few of us have fallen into the habit of taking five minutes to just write and not worry if it’s just right or not. So on Fridays, we take the dare to become Word Artists. To throw editing and proof reading and critically raised eyebrows out the window. We finger paint with our words – in pink and blue and dark purple. In glitter glue and bright green.” 

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10 thoughts on “Be Still

  1. Visiting from the 5 Minute Friday link up! To be still in conversation…now you have me thinking. I think to me that means to truly listen to the person who you are conversing with. I think sometimes I don’t give the one talking my complete and undivided attention. To be still means to turn off my own mind and thoughts so that I can clearly hear. Enjoyed my visit today!

    1. Barbie, Thanks for stopping in. Listening, truly listening is almost a discipline, isn’t it. But what a great gift to give. I want to slow down and give others the freedom to really “have the floor” and to not be rushed to tell me all they want to say. Glad you joined in the conversation—you have the floor here anytime.

  2. Hi Mari,

    Found your post via 5 Minute Fridays. To answer one of your questions… I have found that in order to be fully present and truly listening to someone speak to me, I cannot think about my reply. I have to focus on that person then pause and then answer. But my natural inclination is to be like you and be formulating an answer. It has been a process for me to learn to do this… I have learned from how God listens to me and how my very best friend listens. Hope this was helpful… we’re all STILL in process and thankfully, God is very patient.

    1. You, my dear, you said a word that leapt off the screen: pause. I definitely need to pause. To give the conversation breathing space and let what the other person says really sink in.

      And you give me too much credit—I’m not formulating answers. I’m on the other end of the spectrum and saying whatever comes to mind. I think I’ll just tuck your word of wisdom—pause—in my mind and try to employ it often. And, oh yes, I’m grateful that God is patient, too.

  3. Mari,

    Love your blog – very thought provoking. A few months ago, I completely lost my voice for nearly a week. At first I almost went crazy – there was so much I wanted to say. Friends who admit that they count on me to carry the conversation now had to be the talkative ones while I sat and listened. This was quite a revealing exercise; they had great ideas and thoughts too. Because I couldn’t respond, I stopped thinking about what I’d say and focused on what they were saying.

    Made me wonder on what I’ve missed out on because I’ve been too quick to jump in and give an idea, thought or opinion. This was my conclusion. If God wants me to have a thought, He may give it to me after the conversation is ended, and if my thought is TRULY important, I’ll have a chance to share it eventually. Amazing what doesn’t seem important after one has had a week to reflect on it. While I’m in the conversation focus, focus, focus on the other person’s words.

    Course, I’m back to talking again. This whole focus thing is much easier when it is impossible to respond. 🙂

    Keep writing my friend.

    1. I wonder what I’ve missed out on, too. So glad that I haven’t had to lose my voice to learn this, but I really don’t want to take away anyone else’s voice because I neglect to learn how to listen.

      I love what you said about trusting that there will be another opportunity if God wants you to share the idea. It’s a matter of trusting God to guide and relaxing into where HE takes the conversation.

      It’s also giving God my self-centeredness and trusting Him to supplant it with a heart that truly loves others by listening and really hearing what they are sharing. Thanks for reminding me it’s more about what I’m missing than what I’m saying.

  4. Wonderful post, Mari. I’ve found myself blathering away so many times, saying whatever pops into my head, a running streak of unnecessary words. Before I know it, time passes by and I realize I’ve been talking about myself the whole time. It’s embarrassing. I’ve found myself cutting others off, so eager I am to share. And yet, the whole time, I know it is a turn-off. I’ve been trying to stay focused on God and quiet myself, but old habits die hard. I, too, want to really hear what others are saying. Father, please help Mari and I to discipline ourselves to be quiet in conversation, listening with eager ears and open minds. Amen.

  5. Thanks for the prayer, Diane. I mean–really–thank you for praying. And now I think it’s about time for a group hug.

    And a blessing: May the words of your mouth, Diane, and the meditations of your heart be pleasing in the sight of the Lord, our Rock and our Redeemer.

  6. Rest … a word that brings it just breathing it in.

    Delighted to meet you today. I hope you don’t mind if I splash around a bit to get to know you. This looks like a refreshing place to dip into some serious goodness.

    Splashin’,
    Sarah

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