There are times when you need to speak up. There are times when you need to remain silent. I am not going to tell you which is which. But we each need to grow in discernment to recognize the times and the seasons of our lives.
All you have to do is reread the parable of the sower, and consider that the types of surfaces that the seed falls upon are equatable to conditions of the human heart (emotional receptivity and response).
If seed = message, then the message received in your heart and mind can either be robbed by fear, choked out by distractions, rooted in shallow soil, or go deep and eventually bear fruit.
The Benefits of Silence
Silence provides the opportunity to take in the seed of the information and let it go down deep into safety.
I consistently find that any idea I’ve had or lesson I’ve learned that I share too quickly disappears and yields no benefits in my life. It’s the ideas and thoughts that I meditate on, pray about, and research about that eventually benefit my life in a real way.
But silence is a choice.
With Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat offering real-time opportunities to share our opinions and ideas, it takes a concerted effort to observe a period of silence and restraint.
With great effort, we can choose moment by moment to refrain from casting our insights too casually and too quickly into the massive ocean of ideas always being shared online.
It’s painful to not share ideas when you are desperate for recognition or respect. But true recognition and respect grow out of ideas converted into action and lived out, not in words that represent concepts that disappear once spoken.
But You Can Be Silent Too Long
The equal and opposite side of oversharing is developing an unhealthy practice of silence. If we choose silence regardless of the situation, we get comfortable with having no one rebuke or mock or humiliate us. “Incognito” feels like a safe place to be.
When we say nothing, we are never wrong. And in fact, the cliché tells us that when we are silent, people only wonder if we are fools. When we open our mouths to speak we remove all doubt.
So there are legitimate reasons to stay silent. Aim small, miss small, and all that.
But too many years of too much silence and you have a lifetime of no effect. You as a human being were endowed with creative abilities for the purpose of honoring God and loving your neighbor. And if you hold an insight that the world needs for too long, you rob the world of the chance to improve.
Which Person Are You?
So it’s time for self-evaluation. Are you the person remaining silent for the purpose of nurturing and developing, or are you the person hiding and avoiding? Same action, but different outcome.
May we all examine ourselves and allow Holy Spirit to examine us with open hearts willing to be shown what is true.