Any person who knows me now would have a hard time believing I ever had trouble talking to people. But it’s true. I was a terribly shy kid. So shy that an older man at my church, Mr. Little, decided to try and fix me and started calling me “Stuck Up”. He’d see me at church and say, “Hey, Stuck up!” I’d eek out an, “I’m not stuck up.” He’d reply, “Well you don’t ever speak to me.” I realize now, he was trying to help me. By staying in my shell, I was not offering my best to people.
Eventually, I came out of my shell like gang busters.
There have been times now that my love of the spoken word gets me into trouble. I love to speak as much as I love to write. Lots of nights, my husband falls asleep before I’m done telling him things. He often tells me to cut to the chase. In my head I’m thinking, but that version isn’t nearly as good as my long drawn out version. It won’t be as humorous or as exciting. But okay, if that’s what you want, here goes boring and short. Sigh.
He’s happier, but I am not. Taylor Swift says, “Haters gonna hate, hate, hate, hate…” Well I say, “Talkers gotta talk, talk, talk, talk…”
Cut a storyteller off and it’s like telling a bird not to fly or a fish not to swim. It’s just not natural.
I also appreciate wit. I love for people to laugh. I also love it when they laugh because I said something funny. It’s an attention seeking behavior, but I really do love to put people at ease with humor. I think most of us take life a bit too seriously and need to laugh more. I believe it is an under-appreciated spiritual gift. It’s possible that it is under-appreciated because it is also annoying at times.
I found myself listening to NeedToBreathe’s song, “The Difference Maker”. At the end, there is a tumble of lyrics that I had not really paid attention to before today. In case you don’t know the song, the Difference Maker is Jesus. The lyric says,
“So if you’re beating death then raise your hand, but shut up if you’re not. ‘Cause I am the difference maker.”
I just found that both profound and pretty funny. Not that I think Jesus would ever say that to anyone, but then again, he’s pretty witty. I wonder if he gets weary of all the arguments against him… to the point that he looks around and asks, “So anyone else around here die and then come back to life, thereby conquering sin and death and saving mankind for all of eternity? Anyone? No? Then hush.”
Words are powerful. Words change lives, both for the good and for the bad. Somewhere along the way, someone’s words changed your life. But words alone are just no good. 1 Corinthians 13 says that flowery words mean nothing without love. I can come out of my shell and talk my head off, but if I do it without love, I might as well have stayed in that shell.
James, Chapter 3, talks about the words we say. From the same mouth comes both blessing and cursing. This is a problem. Proverbs tells us that there is both life and death in our words. We must choose to speak life.
I’m glad that Mr. Little helped me out all those years ago. He helped me see that my shyness was really all about me. God had made me for greater things. Still, if I am not careful, all this talk coming out of my mouth can turn attention toward me as much as the shyness did. Like most things, it’s not supposed to be about me. A fact I can easily forget. I need to remember, that if I do this right, I am also a difference maker.