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Are You Sometimes At A Loss For Words? Welcome to the club.




I’ve missed a couple of days of writing my blog and I’m sure many of you are finding it hard to function as a result. My apologies but I think I’ve had writer’s block, which is usually an excuse for, You weren’t that creative in the first place, so why are you so surprised?

 

Well, you try coming up with material a couple of times a week that’s witty, insightful, inspiring and memorable! Unfortunately, I’m still trying. I mean there are serious topics, funny moments, emotional experiences, surprises and more in life and yet there are times when we just don’t know what to say (or write), right? (Now that was a clever rhyme wouldn’t you say?)

 

There’s hope!

 

I was speaking overseas at a conference a number of years ago and had a couple of keynote-type sessions to do, one near the beginning and one a day or two later. I’d given the first talk and was now sitting next to my translator, both of having the basic script/outline in hand. And about ten minutes before I was to speak I knew I wasn’t giving that talk.

 

It just didn’t seem to fit the flow and direction of the conference at that point. So I said to the translator, I’m not going to use this. She is a phenomenal interpreter and from previous experience I was confident she was up to the challenge. I just didn’t know if I was.

 

So as we walked to the stage I had an idea, a topic I had used before, but not much direction. So I started. It went very well in both languages I was told. I’m convince that God was very much in that talk and the change of topic but He used me to communicate it.

 

Do I regularly speak or teach that way? Nope. There’s lots of secular and biblical evidence for preparation, organization, knowing our audience or situation, etc. that we should keep in mind. But there are times in life when we really don’t know what to say and if we’re wise we won’t let those moments paralyze us.

 

What to do? First, don’t respond right away, if the situation merits a pause. With one other person (spouse, child, friend, coworker), you can say, You know, I need a few minutes (or days or whatever) to think things through. In a lot of settings, an immediate answer isn’t required or owed for that matter. In fact, if you don’t know what to say right then, say that.

 

Second, with a pause or no pause, consider the thought right then that you can’t shake. It may be there for a reason and offer a starting point for conversation or response. Formulate your first thoughts around that.

 

Third, start going with that pondered or continuing thought using terms like, Well, I wonder if  or Here’s what I’m thinking at the moment. Or if there are boundaries of time, appropriateness or protocol, review those with the person. “Well, I’m sure there’s much to talk about but I think it’s wise to limit our discussion right now to what happened this morning.”

 

Fourth, remember that Less is usually more. When we’re not sure what to say, we tend to keep talking and talking to try to make our words just right. Don’t. Let silence be silence. Listen if needed. The words will eventually come if you don’t rush to an outcome.

 

In the New Testament, Jesus reminded his disciples that there would be hard times to respond, especially under the pressure of social questioners. But He said this in Luke 12:12, “For the Holy Spirit will teach you at that time what you should say.”

 

God also cares about those difficult moments and wants our speech and words in general to be helpful, kind, yet even tough sometimes. I don’t know how it all works but I’ve found that taking wise steps and then letting wise thoughts, sometimes God’s thoughts find their place in my words reap great results.

 

Oh, by the way, I just wrote this in the last twenty minutes while eating a cinnamon roll. Not so good? I had writer’s block. But remember, after my transplant, I’ve been on anti-rejection meds. I’m fine.

 

 

 

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