The average man will speak 7,000 words in a day. The average woman will speak 20,000 in the same time frame. We are people who love to talk.
Men and women both love to talk; they just enjoy talking about different things. Men will discuss the latest game, the latest gadget they bought, or the next movie they want to see. Women talk about kids, cute pictures on Facebook, or conversations they had with friends.
I am a guy, so I find it impossible to keep up when I am close to a group of women talking. They bring up one subject, move on to another subject, move on to yet another subject, come back to the second, then go back to the third, then back to the first. All this happens seamlessly, and they have no problem keeping all three conversations going at once. My wife knows I am lost when I just start grinning and nodding.
But it isn’t just in conversation that we like to talk. Our culture loves talking so much we have created entire channels that are filled with talk shows. That is all people do. They sit in comfy chairs and talk. Now, what they talk about can be important. It can also be completely useless. But the point isn’t what they are saying; the point is that they are saying something.
When we get tired of talking or hearing people talk, we go online to read what people are saying or to speak our two cents in the written form on social media or through blog comments.
Just before I graduated college, I had three major decisions to make. I was so stressed I constantly talked to God, asking for answers. Then I listened to a sermon by Francis Chan. I don’t remember much of the sermon, but I remember how, toward the end of it, he said: “We are going to spend the next five minutes in silence. I’m not bringing the band up. I’m not going to pray out loud. I challenge you to not even talk in your mind. Just listen.”
For the first several minutes I felt awkward. I felt like I needed to do something. I felt like I was missing an opportunity to ask God again what I should do. I felt like I should ask for what I needed to hear, and then I would listen to Him. But God put me at peace and just said, “Quiet.”
Over the next several minutes I just sat in my apartment with no noise, no TV, no radio. I even turned the sermon off. God broke through the uncomfortable silence with unmistakable answers. There were still some unanswered questions, but God gave me a peace that He would provide answers to those questions when they were needed.
Today, spend some time in silence with God. You don’t have to tell Him what you need to hear. He already knows. You don’t have to ask questions. He knows what you need to hear more than you do. Yes, He loves for you to talk to Him, but there is a time to speak and a time to listen. Take time and just listen.
Then go talk to someone about the value of silence.