Friday, May 20, 2011

The "Gift" of Gab

"Many people think they are listening when in fact they are simply reloading their verbal guns."  Gary Chapman.  Ouuuuuuuuuch...  So I read this on my friend's facebook wall a few weeks back.  Immediately I became super paranoid...  because yes, I'm aware I talk a lot.  I can remember being about 7 years old, in daycare one summer, and one of the teachers says to me in a rhyming sort of way "You talk too much, and you never shut up."  He then proceeded to serenade me with this song for... every day for as long as I can remember.  Clearly- not the best choice for a daycare teacher, but everyone's got to make a living, so...

Fast forward a few years.  By this time, I'm a senior in high school in the car with my youth pastor and a few other friends.  My pastor is talking about something and I keep replying "I know..." and adding my ignorant thoughts.  He says to me "Christi!  You DON'T know!  That is selfish conversation.  It's not always about you."  I should have listened, but... nah.  I ignored this comment because, of course, I thought I knew everything, right?  Wrong.

Then a few years ago another friend says to me "Christi, you don't have to say every thought that comes to your mind."  Yeeeeeeeaaaaahhhhh...  that one stung a little.  But he was right.  I was overshadowing everything  everyone else was saying because I felt the selfish need to respond to everyone else's comments with my own comment- almost trying to one up or show off what I thought I knew. I was "listening" to others and subconsciously reloading my own word gun.  I wanted to be the funny one.  I wanted to be the wise one- ha!  (got to love the irony there).  I wanted to be the one with all of the answers... clearly, not my place in life.   No, really, I'm humble... ish. 

Then the other day I was visiting with a friend that I respect and admire and he challenged me.  He says to me "Do you honestly think that Kyle will ever become the man he is supposed to be if you are constantly overshadowing him?"  A good word.  A wise word.  A word I needed to hear.  Kyle is an AMAZING man (for those of you who don't know, Kyle is "the hottie".)  :)  He is brilliant and funny and has some really deep thoughts to share- but no one would know. 

I spend too much time talking for him (and likely others) and not allowing him to really find his footing. But Kyle was so insecure when we first got married that I spent the majority of social time trying to cover for his insecurities by "helping" him- or so I thought.  I thought answering for him would help take the pressure off of him feeling the need to try to think of something "cool" to say.  I never actually took in to account that he might have some awesome thoughts of his own.  But he did... does.  When we are alone, he cracks me up!  He says some of the most profound things I've ever heard, but in front of others, he's gotten so used to me filling up the "dead air" space with my own selfish words, that he never really speaks out. 

I feel like we, as a couple, are called to leadership but I also feel like we won't ever reach that place as long as I keep preventing him from becoming the man God intended for him to be.  I kept waiting for him to step up, but the problem was, he couldn't- because I was still in the way.  So I'm working on moving.  I'm taking the challenge from my friend to back off and allow the hottie (and others) to share their opinions and grow more confident in their own abilities.  Who knows?  In my own silence I might actually learn something (because news flash, I don't know it all, and I'm not always right...). 

So it's not that I won't share my thoughts, but I won't continue to reload the figurative word gun, waiting to aim and fire at the first sign of dead air.  I'll "be quick to listen and slow to speak..." (James 1:19) and I'll look forward to watching as the hottie steps out from underneath my overshadowing and people start to see the man that makes me swoon. Because, trust me- he's so much more than a pretty face.  ;) 

No Longer I,

The Real Life Mom

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