This is a 31 day series on Intentional Friendship with the exception of WIWWednesday and Foodie Fridays. To not miss a post you can find my directory here. Others that have joined the Nester as I have are all listed here for your reading fix.
Day 23 of Intentional Friendship
This Intentional Friendship post today frightens me a bit. It’s about knowing when to speak. Knowing when it’s safe to say hard things to a friend. I have a feeling this message is for some of you, as it is for me as well. Sometimes I just gotta exercise my freedom of speech a little too much. You too?
Please, read carefully as I tread softly on easily misinterpreted words….
It’s not about having a right to speak but earning the right to speak
I’m scared to talk about it because I’ve made mistakes and voiced my opinion one to many times. It was just that. My opinionated opinion. So, I haven’t arrived in this idea of earning a right to speak.
Also, I had experiences in the past where I did speak and my words were quickly guarded out; quickly defended. Where I exercised my right to speak. I have sat through a difficult conversation before where I felt stupid for even saying what I said because the other did not hear but defended and explained themselves. Had I earned the right to speak? Did I say it wrong? To accusing or harsh? Where they just not ready to hear?
What is earning the right to speak?
Is earning the right to speak like giving your opinion? However soft or strong?
Is it exercising my right to speak?
Is it like speaking into their lives about something they are doing that is questionable according to the Bible?
Is it suggesting they consider a different way? Different choice?
Is it speaking to them about what everybody else in the neighborhood is saying behind their backs about them?
How do you know when you’ve earned the right to speak?
Is there a certain point in your relationship where you just know?
Have they ever taken things off of you in the past?
If you voice your opinion often, will what you have to say this time have weight?
Are they open to change and correction?
Does it take evaluating the relationship to know if it’s safe to speak?
How upsetting will your words be?
Can you tell if they are ready to hear?
Yes, will they even hear my words? Based on how we already communicate, will they hear my words and where I’m coming from or will they bounce off? Will they take it openly or laugh it off? From their view, they might not see it the way you do. They might not understand where you’re coming from. So will they hear?
In another experience of mine, I wasn’t prepared for her to inform me of her side of the story. How they see it. If you’ve earned the right to speak, be open to hearing them out. Be open to seeing their point of view. Recognize the good you already see in them. Because to them, it’s already thought out, planned out, makes the most sense to them and whatever other reasons they have. What they say might be good. Will you be open to listen.
Be open to hearing from others for others to hear from you.
Hearing something hard is personally very upsetting. But to hear a positive about me or be reminded of something good related to the subject that I am already doing well would made hearing the hard stuff a bit more receivable.
Is my message for me to tell?
Sometimes we burn with something to tell a friend. I suggest praying about talking with them. Listen to the Holy Spirit direct you in your future conversations. Wait for an opportune moment to open up – don’t force it. Trust God to use you if He must. Trust God that he’s got your friend in the palm of His hand too. God sees them and cares for them more than you do.
Yes, He cares more than you do.
Sometimes it takes letting go of our desire for change and trusting God with speaking to them.
(And, maybe if you’re burning and emotionally involved, now is not the best time to speak. Stepping back, giving some space and seeking God’s heart on the matter might do you some good. God is still at work, still in control even if you’re giving yourself rest from the issue.)
Lastly, how would you like to be approached? What makes you more susceptible to hearing well?
I invite any questions or comments. This post doesn’t feel complete but that is the feeling I’ve been having lately as I try to quickly get a post out a day. Especially a post as meaty and touchy at this one.
Have you even spoken to someone? Been spoken to? How did it go? What did you learn from either of those experiences?