Monday, May 1, 2017

“Take-Off Talk”

By Susanne Scheppmann

Key Verse:
When words are many, sin is not absent, but he who holds his tongue is wise. (Proverbs 10:19 NIV)
Sometimes my husband doesn’t like traveling with me. Why? Because whether traveling by car or plane he becomes my captive audience. He’s strapped into a seat with his ear lodged close to my mouth. He hears my thoughts and philosophies of life. He listens to my complaints, and yes, even whining. He can’t escape.

This is especially true when we fly somewhere. I usually have the window seat. He gets squished in the middle. Usually before we take off, I launch into my monologue. His eyes begin to glaze over. He nods mutely. My husband resolutely resigns himself to the “take-off talk.” I admit I am not proud of this. Every time we travel, I tell myself not to hold a one-sided conversation. Yet once the seat belt clicks, words begin to leak out.

Unfortunately, this phenomenon can happen in many situations by any of us. We corner someone and begin to blab. It may be a one-sided phone call with a girlfriend who listens to our lengthy story. It may be rant at our children who tune us out. These one-sided conversations seemingly spring out of nowhere. So what is the cause? 

Here’s my personal opinion. After analyzing my own irrational conversations, I realize they occur because of pent-up emotions. My feelings need to vent somewhere with someone. Sadly, as these emotions tend to spew out like a roiling volcano I usually say something I regret. Our key verse reveals, “When words are many, sin is not absent.” It’s true.” When I have a take-off talk I usually have some type of sinful words—gossip, anger, or unkindness.   

So what is the best way to avoid the one-way conversation? First, I believe prayer is the safest way to prevent a reservoir of feelings to overflow. It allows us to vent in a safe place—the arms of God. We can expel our feelings to God, not on the people we care about the most. This helps to keep the stream of emotions to a manageable level when we speaking with others.

Next instead of launching into a diatribe of dialogue, ask a question. Allow the captive audience to speak. Engage them in conversation about their personal hopes and dreams. Listen with complete attention to what they are saying and avoid responding with your own stories. Display empathy and genuine concern. 

Finally, if catch yourself rambling about yourself, your life, and your problems. Stop and apologize for monopolizing the conversation. I guarantee that apologizing for your rude behavior will help deter you from continuing in one-sided monologues. It only takes a few sincere apologies to wipe out the tendency to babble about ourselves.

Let’s avoid the offensive monopolization of conversation. Let’s practice keep our words to a minimum. Let’s allow God to deal with our abundance of emotions. Let’s show our friends and families that we are learning wisdom by not using too many words. Let’s land the takeoff talk altogether.

Dear Lord, teach me to release my pent-up emotions to you in prayer. Give me the ability to restrain my tongue. Help me to use my tongue in knowledge and not to gush folly, I ask this in Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Application steps: 
Memorize our key verse Proverbs10:19. Consider to who is most likely to be the recipient of your long-winded words. Think through and prepare questions to ask to open up a conversation that will allow both of you to participate in a fulfilling conversation.

Do I talk too much? Does my mouth gush with folly?

What are my reasons for a monotonous monologue?

Who is most likely on the receiving end of a “take-off talk?”

Power verses:
Proverbs 15:2, “The tongue of the wise commends knowledge, but the mouth of the fool gushes folly.” (NIV)
Psalms 37:30, “The mouth of the righteous man utters wisdom, and his tongue speaks what is just.” (NIV)
Psalms 49:3, “My mouth will speak words of wisdom; the utterance from my heart will give understanding.” (NIV)
James 1:26, “If anyone considers himself religious and yet does not keep a tight rein on his tongue, he deceives himself and his religion is worthless.” (NIV)

© 2010 by Susanne Scheppmann. All rights reserved.

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