“The LORD will fight for you; you must be quiet.”
I have a love-hate relationship with social media because it seems to perpetuate a sense of courage from behind a screen to say whatever one feels or thinks with little regard to other people while at the same time presenting the image of a picture-perfect life. Therefore, for me, I cycle on and off of it. As I was praying through an area of my life from which to fast for a period of time, the Lord laid on my heart to deactivate my Facebook account temporarily. I’ve done this several times through the years but never have I felt as liberated as I have this time. Lately, it has felt like people have lost the ability to be kind. Posts become the catalyst for arguments that are public for all the world to see and somehow there is a false sense of security to feel free to say or spew rude and harsh comments. For whatever reason, I have been super sensitive and hyper-aware of this. This world is divided and hostile enough with Satan and his minions at work in it as well as amongst people that reading it from the screen of my phone has become an unwelcome intrusion. Our local news station has a Facebook page and they post articles consistently throughout the day. Reading the comments on their page makes me cringe. People have become so emboldened to lash out and post hateful rhetoric. Yet, aren’t we all susceptible to doing the same thing?
We, probably now more than ever, are full of opinions and thoughts. God has been pressing upon me this concept to say less, pray more. It’s not as simple as merely uttering those four syllables. But with the heightened awareness of it, I have begun to realize just how much we seek to speak rather than listen, to fight rather than forgive. It is a humbling experience. Honestly, no one cares what I think, right? Words are valuable and hold meaning. We have become a society that loosely throws out words without evaluating their weight and their impact. Words wound, just as words have the power to heal. The better you are with words, the easier it is to use them as weapons with precision. I have been on the receiving end of verbal assaults just as I have been the vessel through which they have been delivered. And I am saying enough is enough. It is high time to begin to use words to build up, to lift up, to encourage, to heal, to bring life, and to point people to Jesus. My knee-jerk reaction to being on the receiving end of words that sting is to rise up, defend myself, and argue. Or to take it and then blow off the steam to my husband or a friend. But God is teaching me a better way. He has begun to whisper in my ear, say less, pray more. When I want to interject my thoughts or opinions, even when I am not fighting with someone or arguing with someone, He gently restrains me and reminds me, “say less and tell Me instead.” We have only begun this undertaking and already I see results. Before I respond or speak, I consider if what I have to say is even necessary. I am learning that often it is not necessary. And when I want to vent, I am learning that if I pray first, then I feel less inclined to share it with others. And if I still share it, it has been tamed by my time with Jesus. I am hearing more. In hearing and listening, I am learning and growing. Silence and quiet have become a haven and a refuge and prayer has become a retreat. God reminded me of the verse in Exodus, “The LORD will fight for you; you must be quiet.” How can God fight for me if I am too busy running my mouth and fighting for myself and against myself? God wants to fight on my behalf. If I don’t leave Him margin or offer Him the floor, then He becomes a bystander and observer of my verbal malfunction which serves no purpose. The more I practice becoming quiet, the quicker it becomes my response. Even today, I experienced this. I wanted to challenge something but I felt the Holy Spirit urge me to be quiet and to be patient. I’m glad I heeded and surrendered my seemingly justified feelings because if I had plowed ahead with half of the facts, I would have looked foolish and have needed to apologize. So I submitted to the urging of the Holy Spirit and was able to glorify Him with my response and offer Him thanks for shutting me up with the holy hush.
I Peter 3:4 says this of beauty, “Instead, it should consist of what is inside the heart with the imperishable quality of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is very valuable in God’s eyes.” That verse often leaves me feeling guilty and condemned. By nature, I am loud and outgoing, if needed. People are often surprised to learn that I am a true introvert, that I find my recharge and refreshment from times of silence, quiet, and aloneness. After being in groups of people, I am depleted and want to escape to solitude. I prefer one-on-one time or a select few with those that are my people. But, if you’re around me in that capacity, you quickly learn that I am loud and can have lots to say. Thus, this verse in I Peter makes me feel like I am failing as a wife or a woman of true beauty. What God is already teaching me through our concept of say less, pray more is that a quiet spirit is a settled spirit. I am at rest and do not need to always speak or fight my battles with words. A quiet spirit knows who I am in Christ and trusts Christ to fight my battles for me on my behalf. A quiet spirit has full assurance and faith in her Savior. A quiet spirit has become attuned to the leading and direction of the Holy Spirit within her. A quiet spirit exhibits self-control. And the payoff is always worth it. It is being able to speak but choosing, instead, to wait and to listen before moving forward. If only this had been a concept that had taken root sooner. But God’s timing is perfect and I am thankful that He is faithful to me and never gives up on me.
I can’t help but think of Psalm 46:10 as I conclude my thoughts. It is most commonly quoted as “Be still and know that I am God.” Many translations phrase is similar to this: “Stop your fighting–and know that I am God” (HCSB). This more aptly depicts an image of quieting one’s self before Him in total trust and surrender knowing that He will fight for us and His peace will transcend. As we each journey through our week, I encourage you to join me in practicing the simple concept of saying less, praying more. When I am tempted to speak, to react, to lash out, or to vent, instead may I turn what I am feeling, thinking, and wanting to speak into prayers to my Savior and my God who wants to fight for me. I pray that you will do the same.