I waste words.
I water down my life's effect with their drizzling grayness. Fill up relationships with flooded nothings and drown out power.
Violence to holy moments.
I blow up the sacred cathedral in each moment when I blow away the space where He could be with careless breath.
My ears stop working when my tongue starts wagging. And when my ears don't work, my heart goes hungry. For it is His words that feed...that man lives on, since bread for body is not enough.
Maybe Peter did mean a quiet mouth with that unfadingly beautiful gentle spirit. I am always the one fiercely shaking away the notion that this saint's charge to women for true beauty has no place for loud women of many words. He's not talking about personalities. He can't be.
But doesn't Proverbs paint the hard-to-swallow picture of femininity gone astray with "loud and wayward" words?
The adulteress's words are honey-sweet but empty lostness, spoken to seduce a wisdom-searcher into a bed of folly. And, if I'm honest, don't I try to seduce my world with words?
Isn't that what my personality really is sometimes?
Performing with words.
A frantic, flailing for approval, for attention, for an identity.
Oh, I know it deep that Peter isn't trying to bury women's worth in silence. We have much to offer, and it is true that vibrant, outgoing women are beautiful pictures of godliness...just as shy, sweet ones are. He isn't talking about personality, if "personality" is the deep traits of only-us-uniqueness that God wrote in, on, all over us.
But I know too, deeper lately, that I have fled His invitation for a holy tongue...a life-giving rudder for the ship of my life's witness.... to cower behind my excuse, and call foolish peformance "personality." I have left my conversations lately full of shame, aware that no one walked away closer to my Jesus because of a multitude of words. My loud, fearful attempts to win favor evaporate away and leave nothing of Him.
It makes me want to take a vow of silence.
To learn how to do life without my tongue, so I can learn to give life with my tongue.
But silence isn't the cure.
His presence....my being present with Him, with now....being here to listen.
Listen to His Spirit, and to the lives in orbit around my flailing planet.
Could I find the focus?
Be pulled and driven by the gravity of the Son to be bent...aligned?...correctly, and constantly, only moving with Him as the center?
When words are many, transgression is not lacking, but whoever restrains his lips is prudent. Prov. 10:19
The lips of the righteous know what is acceptable, but the mouth of the wicked, what is perverse. Prov. 11:32
There is one whose rash words are like sword thrusts, but the tongue of the wise brings healing. Prov. 12:18
Whoever guards his mouth preserves his life, he opens wide his lips comes to ruin. Prov. 13:4
A fool's mouth is his ruin, and his lips are a snare to his soul. Prov 18:7
Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruits. Prov. 18:21
God, make my mouth a witness of your life.
Help me hold my tongue until it is a holy tongue.