When I am asked questions about my views of life, my understanding of the world or philosophical-type matters in general I usually have some kind of answer off the top of my head. Those conversations do not bore or frighten me, they invigorate me. As an natural introvert the conversations I actually enjoy with the people who exist on the periphery of my life consist of more substance than small-talk. It might seem odd, but if I am going to go ahead and step out of my comfortable silence the least I can hope for is that the energy I am about to expend is used for something meaningful.
But I have found with any answer to any question that carries any depth there is a moment of self-discovery. And I believe this is true of all of us, introvs or extrovs.
We offer personal opinions as personal facts – what today’s culture refers to as “speaking your truth.” But there can be a moment where you hear yourself say something out loud, or write something in a text message or email, and you realize you’ve never really said it that way before. In this moment you are learning about yourself; not because you’ve changed your mind, but because there is a difference in thinking through a position and articulating a position.
Incidentally, this is one of the best arguments I have for praying out loud. When we pray out loud we actually hear what we are saying to God…and what we are saying just might shock some of us (this also works when we write down, or journal our prayers).
I was reminded of this reading Psalm 13 this morning. David leads this Psalm with what seemed to be accusatory language directed toward God:
How long, O Lord? Will You forget me forever?
How long will You hide Your face from me?
How long shall my enemy be exalted over me?
Psalm 13.1, 2
At first reading, this stanza sounds like it is about David’s frustration with God. Things obviously are not going David’s way. In the chronological Bible these psalms are attributed to the season of David’s life when he had been run out of his own kingdom by his rebel son Absalom. Most definitely not one of David’s most enjoyable experiences.
But look closely at what it sounds like out loud. As David writes, and perhaps quotes or sings, these words there is something underlying here.
David does not say, “You’ve abandoned and forgotten me Lord. My enemy has completed his campaign and I am defeated.” That is the language of finality; closed-door words.
Instead, David tips his hand. Can you hear it?
“God, I know this isn’t going to last forever. Do you have a time table in mind for this difficulty? I know what the end looks like, You win, You are victorious, and You and I will most definitely enjoy good times again. I’m ready for the inevitable to hurry up and get here.”
David’s language of expectation, though at first sounding defeated, actually reveals what he believes to be true. David does not ignore the struggles that surround him, but he also seems to be fully convinced of something more true that the truth of his difficulties: God’s loving faithfulness.
Listen to yourself when you talk about God. In difficult seasons. Are your words closing the door and assuming God is done with you, your life, your family, your situation? Or are you words honest about your struggles and pain, but also expectant and filled with faith that God’s timing might be different than yours, but He is always faithful?
Most of us would never say out loud, “God’s done with me.” But some of the things we say might reveal that we are closer to that conclusion than we’d like to admit.
Pray out loud. Talk to God about where you are. And remember to listen.
Course correct if needed. And then rest in faith. He is better than we give Him credit for.