Friday, March 22, 2013

Lessons from a Chatterbox

Brienne likes to talk. And she talks a lot. I mean, a lot! Oftentimes, Peter and I can't even get a word in. And poor Jonah. He just waits patiently till she stops talking. Which is almost never. I'm not exaggerating.

And it's not just that Brienne likes to talk. I think all of us like to talk a little bit. I like to talk to my friends and to Peter. But Brie likes to talk about NOTHING. Things that are ridiculously inconsequential. Maybe they're important to her, but I'm pretty sure that the color of someone's shirt on a commercial she saw last week doesn't warrant a fifteen minute conversation. The problem with Brie's talkativeness is that she starts off with an actual point to the conversation but ends up going so far around the topic that whoever is listening has completely lost focus and interest. I've tried explaining to her the importance of being succinct, but that goes in one ear and out the other. And I know that one day in the near future she'll stop wanting to tell me everything, so I've got to soak in as much as I can now. (At least that's what I keep telling myself.)

Lately, though, every time I've started getting frustrated with the incessant talking, I feel the Lord convict me of my own nonstop, inconsequential ramblings. I've become more aware of my self-talk: those things I say to myself and about myself. I fixate on one "problem" and then bombard myself with negativity. "You're too old. You're not as talented as that person. You'll never be good enough." Blah blah blah... We were not created to demean ourselves in that way. 

I also hear the Lord say to me, "Child, you talk to me the same way Brienne talks to you." So I've started paying attention to the way I talk to Him. I've noticed that when I pray, I talk constantly. Which is okay. God really does want us to talk to Him and tell Him what's on our minds (even though He already knows). But communication goes both ways. How often do I shut up long enough for Him to respond to me? Or for Him to speak to me about something completely off subject? Do I spend as much time listening as I do talking? Sometimes. But not nearly enough.

Recently I read a book called The Circle Maker by Mark Batterson, a pastor in Washington D.C. In the book, he writes about the importance of praying bold prayers. He even suggests making a list of life goals (more on that in another post) and using those goals as jumping off points for big prayers. Like many of you, I have a prayer list that I pray through each morning. I pray over them but many times it feels so monotonous. Boring. "Please be with so-and-so as they do such-and-such." Is that what prayer is supposed to be like? I don't think so! And I'm not saying that all my prayers are this redundant, but I have to admit that a lot of them are. My prayers, for the most part, certainly aren't big and bold. I could definitely use some improvement in the way I communicate with my Heavenly Father.

So, the next time I get bombarded by the ramblings of a nine-year old, I'll first cherish the fact that she still likes me enough to pour out her thoughts to me. And then I'll remember that God gives me grace when become a chatterbox; therefore, I also need to extend grace to Brienne. Thankfully, God's love is unconditional, even if we won't shut our mouths long enough to hear Him say, "I love you, precious daughter." At least Brie will stop talking long enough for me to tell her that I love her. And I do love that precious child. Chatterbox and all...


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