You Talk Too Much

Are you guilty of overtalking? A University of Arizona study found that most of us speak around 16,000 words per day. Proverbs 10:19 tells us, “In the multitude of words sin is not lacking.”  

Overtalking was such a problem for King David that he sought God for help. Israel’s king is recorded in Psalm 141:3 as praying, “Set a guard, O LORD, over my mouth; keep watch over the door of my lips!” 

As followers of Jesus, we understand that our words matter and that we will give account for them (Matthew 12:36). 

How can we guard against overtalking? Here are 10 suggestions: 

1. Ask God to help you. King David knew where to go when he discovered his weakness in controlling his tongue. God can help us in ways that we have never imagined, but we must turn to Him for help. 

2. Ask more questions. Instead of sharing your opinion in every conversation, take time to ask questions to learn from others. We learn when we’re listening — not when we’re talking. 

3. Spend time in silence. In a day when we can never be without noise, consider taking time to sit quietly somewhere for a few minutes each day. It may help you control your tongue, and it may also contribute to your mental and emotional well-being.  

4. Let some things go unsaid. Sometimes we talk because we think we must say something. Sometimes we talk so others will know how smart we are. Often, better relationships result when we leave a few things unsaid each day.  

5. Observe and learn from others. Discover those people who have plenty to say, but just choose not to say it. Learn from them. Some of the best leaders I know are those who say very little — but what they say really matters.  

6. Discover your own overtalking weaknesses. Are you an interrupter? Instead of listening, are you just waiting for your opportunity to talk? Ask a trusted friend to help you discover your overtalking tendencies and begin to prayerfully address those.  

7. Learn to be a better listener. Those who have worked hard to improve their listening skills say it is one of the most challenging things they have done. There is a plethora of listening training material available.  

8. Let others finish their thoughts or sentences before speaking. If you must interrupt, then ask permission by saying, “Could I interrupt with a question?” I am continually guilty of this overtalking failure.  

9. Be careful with social media. We may not only overtalk, but also over-tweet and over-share. Social media can be a blessing or a curse for us, and it is up to us to determine which one it will be.  

10. Repeat item No. 1. Ultimately, overtalking is a spiritual issue and we need God to do a deep work in us to help overcome this malady. 

I cannot imagine anyone escaping the issue of overtalking unscathed. We each can honor Jesus and love others by growing in this area.  

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