When is it time to shut up?

(Last Updated On: July 30, 2016)

Shut up isn’t very nice. We try not to use it in our house, but sometimes it is the only way to get someone’s attention.

God used it to get mine.

This month has brought me some personal challenges that have broken my heart, left me wracked with sobs wondering if things will ever be okay again.

And in my little external processing way, I start trying to use my words to grapple with my tornado emotions and thoughts that keep me awake and make my blood pressure skyrocket.

But in this hurt, I can’t even hold onto the words. Nothing is making sense. I feel completely discombobulated.

My prayers are mostly groans, but I’m begging Him to tell me what to do.

And again, He guides me through my parenting moments, loud and clear.

My daughter was having a day her emotions were too big for her to handle. She was exasperated at everything and not doing a very good job of letting small frustrations slide.

She came to me sobbing and proceeded to go on a tirade about her toys, exploding verbal diarrhea so violently I could barely understand her. I struggled to get her attention over the storm she was brewing.

She was so loudly upset that she couldn’t hear a word I was saying even though I just wanted to comfort and calm her.

I looked at her and YELLED – “STOP! You’ve got to shut up.”

Shut up isn't very nice, but it can be the only way to get someone's attention. God used it to get mine. #BeStill Click To Tweet

I wasn’t harsh, but I was loud enough she paused, a tad stunned. When she got quiet, I said, “You can’t listen while you’re talking.”

Shut up isn't very nice. We try not to use it in our house, but sometimes it is the only way to get someone's attention. God used it to get mine.

The words had barely left my mouth when I realized what God had been trying to tell me all week.

I had to shut up to hear Him, too.

I had been so loudly upset and exploding in my own way that I couldn’t even hear Him, much less be comforted and calmed by Him.

Job 6:24 ESV “Teach me, and I will be silent; make me understand how I have gone astray.

I couldn’t hear God’s instruction through all the noise I was making in my head. All the mental scrambling to get past the hurts wasn’t bringing me any peace and the pain kept getting louder.

It was time to put up and shut up.

If God is my refuge, my portion, I needed to prove it in the midst of distress, not just when life is easy.

I was reminded of one of my favorite verses when my emotions get out of whack.

Psalm 46:10 ESV “Be still, and know that I am God . . .”

I got still. Despite my hurt feelings, despite the panic surging inside, I just sat still for awhile, physically and mentally, ready to listen.

What I heard was just grieve. It’s okay to be sad for awhile. The image of Jesus weeping over Lazarus flooded my mind. Even though He knew He would restore him to life, Jesus grieved His loss.

Be sad about the conflicts and failings, humbly do your part in this world to get along with everyone, but leave the rest up to Him.

Exodus 14:14 ESV / The Lord will fight for you, and you have only to be silent.”

Again with the shut up. 😉

But God is reminding me that in the quiet, He is there. In the silence, I can hear His instruction.

And when I shut up instead of letting my hurt feelings overwhelm me, the quiet will solve more conflicts than arguing back ever could.

When I let a gentle spirit speak for me, God will be glorified more than my words could bring.

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29 Replies to “When is it time to shut up?”

  1. Absolutely love this! He’s been teaching this to me as well. Learning that the trials and struggles we go through are for His glory and the only way we can mature in Christ, and 9 times out of 10, we’ve got to shut up and listen because chances are, He’s been trying to speak for days, maybe even weeks or months, and we can’t head Him because we’ve been talking.

    1. Especially when I’m hurting, I feel like I’m trying to get reinforcement that I was right or handled something correctly or confirmation from God that He is present, but I don’t stop mentally screaming long enough to hear him.

  2. What a wonderful post! Thank you for being so honest and transparent. I struggled all through my parenting years to bring my emotions under His control and often ended up feeling guilty and hopeless that I would ever change. But He does change us little by little. He molds and shapes our dust turned clay into His beautiful image. It’s okay to mess up and I am much better now about going to those I have verbally thrown up all over and apologizing. Life is real and it is tough. Thanks for sharing. – Amy

    1. It is so hard to be the perfectly selfless mom we want to be, but I look at the bible and see broken people God used mightily and know that there is purpose in my brokenness too. Through humility and leaning on God my children can see what beauty there is in repentance and dependence on God.

  3. ohhh Jennifer. You are so right. We (and by we I mean me…) don’t want to listen. We do want immediate answers but much of the time we don’t want to listen.


  4. I think I have found myself in your daughter’s shoes more than once this month… I know my husband has gently reminded me “do you want my help or not?” I’m sure God says the same thing! Thanks for sharing.

  5. Omg the Lord is speaking the same thing to the both of us. God told me the same things last week. Mine doesn’t deal with children but just being wise of what to say and when to say it. Thanks for this!

  6. Oh be still, God will fight for you! Love that but it is one of the hardest things to do. After some years of truly understanding this and seeing the evidence of how God does fight for you, I can say, it is worth it. God is good. In the silence, he will help us grow and help the healing process begin.

  7. I love Exodus 14:14. It has been my theme a lot over the last couple of years. I also like the translation of it that says “you need to only be still.” I also like Romans 8:26, “Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words.”

  8. Yes, there are times when I just cry, and I can’t always explain why. The few times that has happened, my husband prays with me and reads the Bible. Or when he’s not around, if I can’t read very well (due to crying), I listen to the Bible read or listen to Psalms/hymns and pray.

  9. Yes… Yes..Yes… I need to shut up sometimes as well. Sometimes I have so many thoughts, worries, and uncertainties going through my mind that I really need to stop thinking and start listening to what God has to say. When I have a disagreement with a loved one I always turn to Gods word and pray. God always softens my heart. I think when I have a disagreement with myself I need to do the same thing. 🙂
    Irina Rena recently posted…Glacier PointMy Profile

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